Meaningful Business (MB:) Tell us a bit about your background
Rashi Mittal (RM:) My background can be summed up in one word: “Fortunate”. In a country where education is a struggle, I studied in the best international school the country had to offer at that time on scholarship. In a country where girls struggle for basic rights, I had parents that treated my brother and me as absolute equals. And at a time when there wasn’t too much money to be made in off-the-track professions, I was encouraged to follow my heart wherever it wanted to go.
It led me to pursue further education in the arts and media communications. I was fortunate enough to set up the influencer marketing function at Procter & Gamble India (P&G) as my first official job. The realisation of how privileged and fortunate I have been has only led to a higher level of humility and gratitude to everything I am or have today. It has also led to a stronger sense of wanting to give back.
MB: What led you to start WOOP?
RM: My Co-Founder Asit Gupta and I are both ex-P&G, and both of us wanted to lead a more meaningful life than selling shampoo and soap! We got together to expand the WOOP concept – which circled around doing marketing for good. We re-channel the money big brands are spending to target consumers into a cause that genuinely helps society move forward. It’s a unique triple-win model, where brands, consumers and society all benefit.
MB: What is the problem you are trying to solve?
RM: We are solving the media buyers’ problem of finding audiences that are otherwise hard to reach. For starters – pregnant and new mothers. We make it more effective and more efficient to educate and leverage a mum-consumer.
MB: What is your biggest challenge right now?
RM: In the four years that WOOP has been around, we are already in seven countries. We are looking to grow and expand geographies. Our biggest challenge right now is penetrating new markets, but we hope to launch in the US later this year.
MB: What is your vision for the future of the business?
RM: Our vision is tied to the causes we support. We have so far helped create over half a million social-cause actions in the form of school days, school books and school lunches for the cause-partners we work with. We hope to cross the one million mark soon. As for the business side of it, we hope to become the largest and most profiled base of mum-consumers in the region for brands to leverage.
MB: What is your advice to other leaders who want to combine profit and purpose?
RM: Combining the two is the only way to ensure sustainability (of both the purpose and the profit). Even banks are beginning to provide better interest rates to sustainable organisations that care about giving back to society. “What goes around, comes around,” holds true, even in the world of business.
MB – What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
RM – Decisions are like curves. Every single dot on that curve is an option.
MB – Who inspires you?
RM – My daughter and my dog. Both reminders of the fact that the best things in life are free.
MB – How do you define success?
RM – If self-esteem was currency, I would define success as being rich in that respect.
MB – What is something you wish you were better at?
RM – Forgiving.
MB – What is the one book everyone should read?
RM – Their own biography. Maintaining a diary helps self-awareness more than people know!
MB – What do you do to relax?
AC – Create. Whether writing, cooking, painting… I don’t have to be good at it. Just the process of creating relaxes me.
Discover the other MB100 leaders recognised for their work combining profit and purpose to help achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals in 2020, here.