Navelim-based Nicole Liz Faria, who is only 19 years of age, has set a benchmark, perhaps too high for many to surpass. Her startup, Happy Women, an application which is carrying the hopes and aspirations of women, is earning her much attention and accolades. Recently, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant felicitated the teenager for being the youngest person in Goa to successfully start up a business.
Nicole, a student of Mary Immaculate in Panjim and Rosary Higher Secondary in Dona Paula, says she was never cut out for a 9-to-5 grind like others as entrepreneurship was always close to her heart.
Happy Women is an online application where women can avail of services in sectors like travel, hospitality, tourism, insurance, finance, e-commerce and education. Nicole says Happy Women covers all needs of women, ranging from jobs, fashion, beauty, healthcare and even food. The application will help them in their day-to-day activities like cooking, shopping, studying, finding hotels or even booking flight tickets, she states.
She adds, "Happy Women was born as a result of my mother's continuous nagging to me about dad. My dad nagged mom for coming to him with her small needs like banking, paying electricity bills, etc. In return, she would nag me to do something about dad's nagging,” she adds with a smile on her face.
That is when the idea crossed her mind – why not bring all the services women want to avail of under one umbrella? At that time, she was still in school and very strongly into athletics and other sports activities.
Now the idea was conceived in her mind. The primary aim of Happy Women was to give a simple platform to every woman to know her needs, and to provide advice and direction to have those needs met.
Nicole’s dad, who is a serial investor, always motivated her. After the idea was conceived, next came the deliberation sessions. Her dad connected her to one of his friends Ajoykant Ruia, a businessman, who is her advisor today.
Ruia loved Nicole's idea and chipped in with the seed capital for her to start. It was not easy for her to convince people that the application would work wonders. "Everyone would look at me as some kid and turn me down. Initially, I took my dad along for the business meetings, but over the last two years I have learnt to deal with things on my own," she adds.
Finally, after several brainstorming sessions with her dad, friends and like-minded people, the teenager took a big step forward to start Happy Women on November 19, 2019. But, soon after, Covid hit.
With Covid, all plans went for a toss and she had to remain in a state of inertia. However, the pandemic was a blessing in disguise as several services went online, and those who were not willing to embrace the online world had to adapt to it for survival's sake.
After Covid cases declined, Nicole introduced Happy Women to the world on March 8, 2022. From April 1, 2022, till now, the application has managed to garner Rs 78 lakh in revenue and it is growing. Next financial year, the target is to reach a turnover of Rs 300 crore plus.
Nicole thanks her advisors who guide her, but she cannot thank Ajoykant Ruia enough for allotting her an office in Maker Chambers in Mumbai's top-notch business area, Nariman Point.
In Goa, the teenager has an office in Patto, Panjim, and recently started one in Mapusa. Besides Goa and Mumbai, she also has an office at Paschim Vihar in Delhi. That is not all! Happy Women is all set to go global with office spaces being planned in New York and London.
Nicole says Happy Women is a super application that covers everything that a woman needs. All that we see in the market are e-commerce apps which are specialised for certain services.
Was it always smooth sailing until Happy Women was established? “Not really,” says Nicole. “At times I would have sleepless nights, and sometimes I would cry when things did not look up,” she adds.
"In the end, I said to myself ‘Either I will sit and cry, or just stand up and walk towards my goal’ and I did just that," she adds.
Nicole was a national-level athlete and has even played contact rugby at the national level. She was a marathoner, having a podium finish to her credit.
She adds, "The sports’ discipline helped me overcome many of my shortcomings, stay motivated and focused. I have trained in harsh weather and at times used to practice from 4 in the morning," she narrates.
Some of the service providers roped in under Happy Women, include Daawat, India's finest Basmati rice company; Hyfun Frozen Foods; Meatzza; IIFL, a leading finance and investment services company in India; Peraj, an insurance broker company; Mapro, a food processing company and Easycare, India's trusted healthcare brand. Nicole's dream is to make Happy Women the world's largest aggregator, and she is slowly moving towards it.