Returning From The Brink: How A Few Words Can Save A Life


At some point in his or her life, everyone has felt like something isn’t right. For Pratima Aravabhoomi, this feeling came to her in the extremes, and instead of making a negative drastic decision, she decided on a positive one.

Aravabhoomi moved to the United States from India when she was just 21 years old for an arranged marriage. While she ended up working as a tech consultant for many organizations, she was not happy within her marriage or her work life. She struggled with severe depression to the point where one night she wanted to take her own life. It was then that she looked up to see a quote in her kitchen that said:

“The darkest hour is always before dawn.”

Although just a few simple words that many might read without thinking twice, Aravabhoomi says the quote actually saved her. After so much time spent in and out of depression, for some reason these five words resonated, and caused her to change her mind about taking her own life.

With her improved mindset better things started happening. One noteworthy development was that Aravabhoomi finally landed her "dream job" at Apple. Despite believing that her new employment would finally bring her the happiness she sought, it didn't. Those familiar pangs of pain began bubbling, but then Aravabhoomi remembered her pivotal moment and rallied. After re-motivating herself and making personal changes, including leaving her marriage, the idea for Craft Street Design was born.
With a renewed sense of purpose, Aravabhoomi says her company is focused on lifting the spirits of people in need of a motivation boost. To wit, Craft Street Designs offers various office and home goods with inspiring quotes, or the option to customize their own, to help people just like the quote in Aravabhoomi’s kitchen helped her.

Before getting started, she sold a few designs on places such as Etsy and Amazon marketplace and made her first sale at $7.

So what got the business really up and running? Cold-emailing. By contacting people on LinkedIn, Aravabhoomi concocted subject lines that would immediately pique a person's interest (Think phrases like: Inspiration To Get You Back To Work After Summer”), and then she would talk about her business in the body of the email. She was then able to meet people personally, find out what they wanted, and make sales.
”I felt like I had achieved... and I had arrived.”

Aravabhoomi’s tactic may not be the method used by most new entrepreneurs, but considering she started making six figures in six months, clearly she was on to something. She’s also been self-funding from the very beginning, and is still the primary creator of the company’s products.
When asked what’s the ultimate goal for her company, Aravabhoomi simply says "Motivation. “[I want to] motivate people to do whatever it is that they’re trying to achieve. It can be anything from a personal goal to a business goal.”
Aravabhoomi also warns that “motivation alone is not everything.” She wants her company to help people of course be inspired, but also take the steps necessary for achievement, as success only happens when you take the words off the page, and actually do something. Eventually, Aravabhoomi plans to evolve her business into a complete solution for personal achievement.
As a strong, hard-working woman who held down two jobs to support her daughter while also creating an entire business, Aravabhoomi is a clear inspiration to women everywhere.

She also has several notes of advice for success:
For immigrant entrepreneurs: If you work the same way you did in whatever country you came from, you’re bound to be successful - just try.
For mom entrepreneurs: Don’t focus on the guilt that comes with thinking you aren’t focusing on your child enough. Include your children within the entrepreneurial realm and teach them basic things to work alongside you.
For everyone: Give into your fears and let them be your biggest motivator. “As long as you have that fear, it will move you forward. You feel like you don’t have a choice because you don’t want to live that way," she says.
As proven by Aravabhoomi, there’s nothing that a woman can’t achieve with a little inspiration and a whole lot of work.

Why Whiskey Should No Longer Be Categorized As “A Man’s Drink”

I walk into a room full of men and I know exactly what they're thinking: "What does she know about whisky?"

I know this because many men have asked me that same question from the moment I started my career in spirits a decade ago.

In a male-dominated industry, I realized early on that I would always have to work harder than my male counterparts to prove my credibility, ability and knowledge in order to earn the trust of leadership stakeholders, coworkers, vendors and even consumers of our products. I am no stranger to hard work and appreciate that everyone needs to prove their worth when starting any career or role. What struck me however, was how the recognition and opportunities seemed to differ between genders. Women usually had to prove themselves before they were accepted and promoted ("do the work first and earn it"), whereas men often were more easily accepted and promoted on future potential. It seemed like their credibility was automatically and immediately assumed. Regardless of the challenges and adversity I faced, my focus was on proving my worth within the industry, and I know many other women were doing the same.

Thankfully, the industry has advanced in the last few years since those first uncomfortable meetings. The rooms I walk into are no longer filled with just men, and perceptions are starting to change significantly. There are more women than ever before making, educating, selling, marketing and conceptualizing whiskies and spirits of all kinds. Times are changing for the better and it's benefitting the industry overall, which is exciting to see.

For me, starting a career in the spirits business was a happy accident. Before spirits, I had worked in the hospitality industry and on the creative agency side. That background just happened to be what a spirits company was looking for at the time and thus began my journey in the industry. I was lucky that my gender did not play a deciding role in the hiring process, as I know that might not have been the case for everyone at that time.

Now, ten plus years later, I am fortunate to work for and lead one of the most renowned and prestigious Whisky brands in the world.. What was once an accident now feels like my destiny. The talent and skill that goes into the whisky-making process is what inspired me to come back and live and breathe those brands as if they were my own. It gave me a deep understanding and appreciation of an industry that although quite large, still has an incredible amount of handmade qualities and a specific and meticulous craft I have not seen in any other industry before. Of course, my journey has not been without challenges, but those obstacles have only continued to light my passion for the industry.

The good news is, we're on the right track. When you look at how many females hold roles in the spirits industry today compared to what it looked like 15 years ago, there has been a significant increase in both the number of women working and the types of roles women are hired for. From whisky makers and distillers to brand ambassadors and brand marketers, we're seeing more women in positions of influence and more spirits companies willing to stand up and provide a platform for women to make an impact. Many would likely be surprised to learn that one of our team's Whisky Makers is a woman. They might even be more surprised to learn that women, with a heightened sense of smell compared to our male counterparts, might actually be a better fit for the role! We're nowhere near equality, but the numbers are certainly improving.

It was recently reported by the Distilled Spirits Council that women today represent a large percentage of whisky drinkers and that has helped drive U.S. sales of distilled spirits to a record high in 2017. Today, women represent about 37% of the whisky drinkers in the United States, which is a large increase compared to the 1990s when a mere 15% of whisky drinkers were women. As for what's causing this change? I believe it's a mix of the acceptance of women to hold roles within the spirits industry partnered with thoughtful programs and initiatives to engage with female consumers.

While whisky was previously known for being a man's drink, reserved for after-dinner cigars behind closed doors, it is now out in the open and accessible for women to learn about and enjoy too.

What was once subculture is now becoming the norm and women are really breaking through and grabbing coveted roles in the spirits business. That said, it's up to the industry as a whole to continue to push it forward. When you work for a company that values diversity, you're afforded the opportunity to be who you are and let that benefit your business. Working under the model that the best brand initiatives come from passionate groups of people with diverse backgrounds, we are able to offer different points of view and challenge our full team to bring their best work forward, which in turn creates better experiences for our audience. We must continue to diversify the industry and break against the status quo if we really want to continue evolving.

While we've made great strides as an industry, there is still a lot of work to be done. To make a change and finally achieve gender equality in the workplace, both men and women need to stand behind the cause as we are better collectively as a balanced industry. We have proved that we have the ability to not only meet the bar, but to also raise it - now we just need everyone else to catch up.