"Logic will take you from A to B, imagination will take you everywhere else". A firm believer of this quote, Vandita Purohit is a modern-day woman entrepreneur, a mother of two, who has constantly worked towards building creative and community-driven ventures.
Born and brought up in Nagpur city of Maharashtra, Vandita started her entrepreneurial journey in Pune in 2009. Her never-ending passion for doing things differently led her to build a one-of-its-kind venture born during the pandemic - 'Mauji Time Cafe'. Based on the Russian concept of Anti Cafe, Mauji is India's largest and Pune's first Time Cafe.
Helps In Community Building
Tucked away in the quaint bylanes of Bhosale Nagar, spread over a 5,500 sq. ft. bungalow space and surrounded by lush greenery, this Indo Bohemian Cafe is a haven that breathes creativity with a natural affinity. Mauji Cafe sits beautifully nestled in a two-storey sprawling bungalow, and every little element there peps up one to start a conversation.
"Time Cafe or Anti Cafe is a concept where you pay for the time, and this has been around for quite some time. At Mauji, we are trying to break the stereotype about cafes, where you have to eat or drink something to sit there. Here, you pay for the time you spend here while your beverages are on the house 'unlimited'," Vandita Purohit told The Logical Indian.
The cafe organises numerous events like Monthly Business Showers, Open Mics, Games Nights, Musical Gigs, Pan-Chai-yat (new addition), Food Fests, Fleas, and more. These events, Vandita said, are an excellent platform for individuals to come together, showcase their work, find new customers, share their experiences and have a great time.
"We believe that our space can offer more than coffee and food; it can be a great platform for people to connect informally. We also help a lot of new businesses market their products at Mauji, free of cost. We just want to support them in any way we can," she said.
Willing, ambitious, and intentional in nature, Vandita could not be held back even by the nationwide lockdown from achieving her dreams. Mauji café is a space built entirely during the first lockdown.
"While the first lockdown was all about building, the second was coming up with innovative ways to sustain, and I am glad that we made it through", says Vandita knocking each challenge along her way out of the park.
Her mantra for success is to have a big vision, divide it into smaller milestones and get there taking two steps at a time. She is now looking to expand the venture taking it to eight new locations across India.
Owner Of Other Creative Startups
Prior to Mauji Café, Vandita was a part of multiple startups and ventures, which helped her gain the desired experience in stepping up her entrepreneurial journey.
After gaining experience in different fields, Vandita founded her travel startup, TraWork in 2017. Starting with an intent to fuel her love for travel, the company soon became a full-fledged startup organising workations internationally even before workstation was a thing, making it one of her successful ventures. TraWork is a Work-Travel initiative that gives people a platform to travel and work worldwide. It is for anyone and everyone who can or wishes to work remotely. It takes people to unique places leading them to Travel-Work-Explore-Experience and meets like-minded people.
In her journey, Vandita's family has been her greatest strength and support system. During her travels around the world, Vandita gained perspectives on creative spaces and community building, which led to her conceptualising the idea of Mauji Time Cafe. While TraWork had to be put in the backseat due to the lockdown, it didn't deter Vandita from creating and exploring newer avenues. She, on the contrary, took the pandemic as an opportunity to work towards her passion for design and spaces with Mauji Cafe and built this art, greenery, and community-driven space where everyone is welcome.
The entrepreneur plans to take her work to different parts of the world, build a solid team of creative thinkers, designers and creators and build an ecosystem of creative minds. To accomplish this, she is now seeking close to a million dollars in equity and debt funding for Mauji. These funds will be used for its expansion across eight cities in India, along with technology advancements and building F&B capabilities. Alongside, Mauji is also gearing up for an international location.
Driven by her love for all things creative - Vandita has also set up another venture, a furniture & design startup – Kalapentry, along with her friend Shivani. The idea behind this is to renovate, refurbish and recycle old furniture to create a line of furniture and home decor that is bespoke, befitting & sustainable. Just three months after the second lockdown in 2021, Vandita and her partner organised their first furniture Garage Sale at Mauji, attracting many customers.
Each of Vandita's ventures thrives on creativity and community-building, and her continuous efforts have always motivated her to keep moving and achieve her dreams.
Also Read: Akasa Air Becomes First Indian Airline To Have Its Crew Uniform Made From Recycled Marine Waste