CONTACT US
  -    -  EP16 Innovation in the South Asian weddings

ANNA WANG Podcast EP16 Innovation in the South Asian weddings

Podcast Transcription:

Anna: All right. Welcome to episode number 16. You’re here with Anna Wang. This week’s special guest is Poonam from the Maharani Diaries. Poonam manages a wedding director website that connect South Asia couples to a range a wedding services and vendors. Poonam used to be a scientist.

So, very different to what she’s doing now in Melbourne and decided to change a career path and pursue a career in weddings.

 

Today, we will have a chat with her about the experiences and get an insight into the Maharani Diaries. Welcome, Poonam.

 

Poonam: Thank you so much. So happy to finally be inside the Anna Wang boutique[?].

 

[laughter]

 

 

Anna: You’re welcome here anytime. We’re open doors here.

 

Just to let everyone listening understand and know what is the Maharani Diaries?

 

 

Poonam: Okay. For people who don’t know what the word Maharani means, it’s actually the Sanskrit word for queen. People say princess, but the words Maha is actually a Persian word which means great, and Rani means queen. So, great queen.

 

Anna: Wow.

 

Poonam: When I came up with the name, I…  I think every single South Asian bride on their wedding day wants to feel like a queen. That word really resonated with me. When I was trying to think of the rest of the business name, I mean, it wasn’t just the Anne Hathaway movie Princess Diaries that I thought of, but I thought, when brides are planning their wedding, they have a little journal planner that they take with them to all their meetings or notebooks. So, I thought the word diaries might be nice to attach to it.

 

Anna: Yeah.

 

Poonam: That’s how I came up with the name.

 

Anna: Wow. It’s like the Great Queen’s diary.

 

Poonam: Yes.

 

Anna: That’s a good twist to it.  For those that don’t know about you. Okay. Let’s work on… You used to be a scientist. What made you change your journey and why in the wedding industry?

 

Poonam: I’m a little bit like you [inaudible] totally a different industry. I actually grew up in a pharmacy all my life. My mother and father had a pharmacy business in Melbourne. My brother and I grew up in a pharmacy during primary school and high school years always surrounded by science. Father wanted me to do science, obviously.

 

My mom was the sort of creative one, I guess. The thing is, when I got to year 12, I was in two minds. I was good at science and I was good at arts, but I decided to make the parents happy and chose science. Obviously, being Indian as well, that pressure to the medicine, science, accounting or something.

 

Anna: If you’ve got the brains to do it, you might as well just…

 

Poonam: I chose science. It’s not that I didn’t like it. I loved it. I worked in the pharmaceutical industry for many years. I had a very successful job.

 

But I always knew I was creatively inclined. A lot of my friends were telling me at the time whilst I was in the industry that, you know, you’re so good at organizing things. You should be in events or something, something totally different to science.

 

What I did whilst I was working in the pharmaceutical industry was, I did a lot of work experience and volunteering in the events industry in Melbourne. I worked with even a wedding planner over there just to learn about the ins and outs, get the practical experience.

 

Anna: Yeah.

 

Poonam: I was considering doing wedding planning course, but I quickly realized that actually having the practical experience makes a huge difference. So, I just put myself out there. Unfortunately, a series of events took place in 2010. My mum passed away and then I met, my husband to be. That career path of weddings and events just didn’t happen for a while.

 

 

A lot of things took place in our mental health as well. Just went downhill. I was like, what am I doing? What am I doing in my life? Where do I see myself going? It wasn’t until we started planning our wedding that we realized how difficult it was.

 

Anna: I’m getting that quite a lot with the Indian. Even Ganasri who were actually, we were part of their wedding. Even her she was saying she couldn’t find a lot of like anyone to guide them in the Indian forum[?].

 

Poonam: In the eight years…  It’s been eight years since I got married. It’s funny that people still say that because we’ve got so much with the rise of social media. I didn’t have Instagram on Pinterest back then. I had bridal magazines. I looked at these bridal magazines and the news agent and just…

 

Anna: None of them was Indian or showed you what to do.

 

Poonam: It just didn’t cover anything other than Christian weddings or Australian weddings. I even turned to some of the wedding blogs out there.

I’ve been following wedding blogs even before I met my husband. Just weddings were always a passion; [inaudible], the knot, brides.com. I was following all of them. I loved their style, but the content just didn’t help me to plan my own wedding.

 

In the end, I got my mother-in-law to help me because she knew all the traditions and the cultures, what’s involved, all those things.

 

Anna: Because there’s so many events.

 

Poonam: I’m North Indian, I’m marrying a South Indian. Our weddings are so different.

 

Anna: Gosh.

 

Poonam: A South Indian wedding has a lot more steps and it’s a lot more Orthodox as opposed to a North Indian wedding. I had to learn all these tips before getting married to him. He’s Singaporean Indian. We were so frustrated in Melbourne. We were so frustrated that we just ended up having our Hindu wedding in Singapore. It was so easy for my mother-in-law to organize everything there. She guided me. Without her help, I wouldn’t have had a clue about anything.

 

Anna: Were you born here in Australia or you were born overseas?

 

Poonam: When people ask me where I’m from, this is the worst question. My dad’s side of the family is from Fiji. Mom’s side of the family from Africa, but ancestors originally from India.

 

Anna: Okay.

 

Poonam: I was born in Fiji. I call myself an Aussie. It’s always true.

 

Anna: Yeah. That’s also why you… anyone born here won’t have the cultural experience of knowing what to do.

 

Poonam: Exactly. I wasn’t born in India. I don’t know too much about the customs and the rituals. Whilst my parents brought me up quite well to learn about the culture and customs and heritage and everything, there’s still a lot of things that I don’t know about my culture. It’ so diverse.

 

Anna: Yeah.

 

Poonam: I wouldn’t even know where to start. Obviously, yeah, just a lot of troubles we’ve had. We went into a lot of venues in Melbourne initially when we were deciding to have the wedding in Melbourne. A lot of venues just weren’t familiar with the rituals and customs.

 

Anna: Yeah.

 

Poonam: They didn’t know that our wedding involves fire. They didn’t know that we required an Indian food as well. Indian food is so important in an Indian wedding.

 

Anna: Yeah.

 

Poonam: Finding a caterer for that matter was tough.

 

Anna: Because a lot of the Indian catering is buffet style.

 

Poonam: Exactly.

 

Anna: Yeah.

 

Poonam: Even in Melbourne and at that time, you’d think Melbourne being the foodie capital of Australia, it would be easy to find a good Indian chef, but it was not. It was extremely difficult. So that’s when we thought we’ll have the Indian wedding in Singapore, and we’ll come back to Melbourne and we’ll have our reception party for the friends who can’t make it to Singapore in the Yarra Valley in Victoria.

 

Anna: Yeah, nice.

 

Poonam: A lot of challenges. It all built up to this in the end. I actually wanted to start this straight after we got married. But obviously when you get married, when you have an Indian wedding, you’re basically broke after your wedding. We had no money. Everything went on the credit cards.

 

We actually paid for a lot of things ourselves. Our parents did as well, but we felt guilty during our wedding because our parents have paid through so much high school education, everything. We want to give back. So, let’s pay for a few things and help them out. But in the end, we realized we didn’t have much money after marriage.

 

Anna: I think that’s a lot of people’s situation, because you still want a nice wedding, but we always say, you know what, there’s life after a wedding. So, you should budget. But it’s very hard to budget. You just go, “I want this, I want that. I’d like this, I’d like that.” And then in the end you’re like, Oh my God. How much did I spend? You don’t realize.

 

Poonam: You don’t realize it all adds up. So, I went back to my job as a scientist for about a year. It was 2013 when I finally had enough and I said to my husband, “I’m quitting. This is it. I can’t do this anymore. I need to make the change now, or I will never do it.”

 

So then, I went back to school as a mature age student, and I started at William Angliss Institute in Melbourne hospitality and events. I did that for about six months. It was a short course. Again, unfortunately my husband lost his job.

 

Anna: It’s kind of not going…

 

Poonam: It wasn’t going the direction I wanted. He’s in mental health research and obviously the university ran out of money. We were like, oh my God, what are we supposed to do? He was frustrated with Australia. He wanted to leave. We ended up moving to Ireland of all places.

 

Anna: Ireland, wow. Okay.

 

Poonam: He landed a job there in small city called Cork. It’s the second biggest city in Ireland after Dublin, but it’s probably the size of Geelong in Victoria.

I didn’t know what to think when he got that job, to be honest. I just thought my life is over. We landed in this place; it was snowing the first day we got there. Him and I crying and we’re like, are we doing the right thing? And I said to him, “I don’t even know if I’m going to find a job here.” And he said, “Look, just….”

 

Anna: Let’s just do it.

 

Poonam: Let’s just do it for a year and see how it goes. For the first year, I actually didn’t find work. I was ready to come back to Australia. He said to me, “Look, it’s up to you if you want to go back.” I was desperate to come back. Second year, I actually ended up landing a job at the same university as him in their events department. So, that was good.

 

Anna: You got a bit of experience there?

 

Poonam: Yeah. So, I was working… and they wanted someone with a science background too, which helped.

 

Anna: Oh, it’s perfect.

 

Poonam: So, that was 2016. In 2016 I said to him, “Look, I don’t know if the wedding planning path is actually going to work here in Ireland. It looks like the Indian population isn’t very big. I don’t know what to do.” So, then he was like, “Why don’t you just start writing about it and blogging? You’ve followed so many wedding blogs over the years. Why don’t you start blogging?” So, I started writing and I realized that my writing sucked.

 

Anna: Gosh.

 

Poonam: But people were telling me that it didn’t. So, that was good. I started the Instagram. I started the Facebook, and the following started really growing which was good.

 

Anna: Which is good.

 

Poonam: I then realized that the UK was next door. The South Asian wedding industry in the UK is massive.

 

Anna: So, you’re right there.

 

Poonam: I was right there and he said to me, “Look, we’ve got cousins over there in London. Why don’t you go and stay with them?” I realized how cheap it was to fly over there as well.

 

Anna: So, switching like just go into Melbourne…?

 

Poonam: Exactly, one-hour flight. I flew to London like almost every month and I was like, “Oh my God, this is the best place ever.” My first time in London and I attended so many bridal shows. They’re not just Indian ones, but a Western bridal show too. I was just blown away.

 

Anna: Is it very much different to Australia?

 

Poonam: Yes and no. The bridal expos are definitely on another level, actually. I must say that. However, speaking to people over there, they were admiring. The industry over here at that time. Some of them were even following you on Instagram.

 

Anna: Gosh, back in 2016.

 

Poonam: Yeah. This is in Ireland, actually. Some of the Irish wedding planners and florists were like, oh my God, you know, what are you doing here? The wedding industry there is incredible. And I was like, “Look, I can’t obviously. I have to be with my husband.”  But I actually am having a great time here, getting to learn what it’s like over here.

 

I quickly learned how the wedding blogs and directories work over there as well. I got to meet some women who have started blogs over there as well in London. I just set up random meetings with random people owning these businesses and just learning about the ins and outs of how a wedding blog works, how they make money, how they work with businesses, and how they give inspiration to brides.

 

I came across one other Indian wedding blog there at the time in the UK. I started doing guest posting for them as well. So, that helped to build my audience. Slowly through social media, especially the following started growing. I soon realized quickly that I could actually turn this into a business.

 

Anna: Yeah, exactly.

 

Poonam: And actually, give South Asian brides the inspiration that they need to plan their wedding.

 

Anna: Because at that time, there wasn’t many bloggers at all that’s doing the South Asian…

 

Poonam: No. Not those times. At the time, I just kept on blogging. I didn’t know where this was going. I didn’t even know if we were going to end up back in Australia, to be honest, because he didn’t want to move back.

 

Anna: Oh, so he was enjoying his work over there?

 

Poonam: Yeah, he loved it. He didn’t want to move back. I started really enjoying my time over there. I met so many amazing people. Then I soon realized that I could actually start using my creative side that has been inside of me for so long and I haven’t done anything. People started telling me, you should work on some photo shoots because it looks like you have a good eye for detail with your content. What about if you start working on some photo shoots?

 

Anna: Yeah.

 

Poonam: So, I did a couple of photo shoots in Ireland of all places. My first photo shoot I did ended up in one of the biggest UK wedding blogs – Love my dress. After that, again, the social media exploded and people were like, wow, do you do this for a living or what? Can we do more photo shoots with you? And I was like, “Oh, I don’t know.” Again, I just didn’t know where I was going.

 

Anna: Yeah.

 

Poonam: I didn’t know where I was going with this blog. I just kept on blogging, to be honest. A lot of Indian businesses started to notice me from India and they were like, “Are you based in Australia or are you based in Europe?” I said, “I’m based in Europe, but I still have ties and connections to Australia.” And they were like, “It looks like you’ve got a decent audience and you do attract a lot of brides following you. So, how about we work with you and if you tell them about us we’ll give you a commission?” That sort of thing.

 

I was like, “Oh, okay.” That commission word doesn’t sound too good.

 

Anna: Because how do you measure that the bride came through your audience?

 

Poonam: They were like, the thing that we like about you is that we know who you are. You are the face of the brand. At that point, that’s when I made the decision to actually rebrand the whole business. Before, I had this really standard WordPress website, which I created myself. My logo as well, I got this person in Pakistan create it. It cost $10 to create it. But then I realized, okay, I actually need to turn this into a proper business. From there, yeah, it just grew.

 

Anna: It just grew.

 

Poonam: Yeah. And then we moved to Sydney last year.

 

Anna: What made you guys come back to Sydney?

 

Poonam: Obviously his job.

 

Anna: So, he got an opportunity to come back to Sydney?

 

Anna: Yeah. When he found out that there’s an opportunity here, I said, “Take it, please take it. I want to leave. I think it’s ready. It’s time for us to leave.”

And he said, “Okay. You’ve made a lot of sacrifices for me to move all the way here. Okay, let’s do it.” And I said, Oh my God, I’m so excited. People in Ireland have been admiring the industry in Sydney.

 

Anna: And then now you’re all back in Sydney.

 

Poonam: Now, I’m in Sydney. At first, I was like, Oh, I’ve been in Melbourne all my life. I’m not sure how Sydney is going to be. Am I going to like it or not? But it’s really grown on us. We love it.

 

Anna: So, you’ve pretty much, when you were in Ireland, you were still working a 9:00-5:00 job and then doing the blogging?

 

Poonam: Yes.

 

Anna: Now that you’ve come back to Sydney, are you doing this directory blogging full time?

 

Poonam: No. When we moved here, I actually found a full-time job in the corporate sector in events. That only lasted eight months. I quickly realized that corporate was just not for me. Anyways, he was freaking out again. He was like, you have to find a job, otherwise we’re not going to be able to afford to live in Sydney. So, I did that job for eight months, but honestly, in those eight months since July last year to February this year, I didn’t think that this would take off. But I realized coming back here that there was a massive gap still.

 

Anna: Yes. So, at the moment you’re not just doing the blogging. You’ve actually got a directory.

 

Poonam: Yeah. I’ve changed the business model, obviously, to adapt to the industry here. I realized moving here that brides’ needs are very different and they need a platform to direct them. I wanted the directory aspect of the business, but I realized that direct contact with the brides makes them feel that it’s more authentic.

 

Anna: Yeah.

 

Poonam: Obviously, Instagram is the biggest platform for myself. A lot of inquiries have been coming through Instagram.

 

Anna: Do you want to just explain to the listeners how does the actual directory work? How does everything work? What’s so different between you and another directory? Say, if they go to a platform and they’ve just got a listing of different suppliers, what makes you so different?

 

Poonam: One thing that people tell me… There’s positive and negative. All criticism is constructive for me. But I think most of the feedback has been positive. What they say is that the thing that they like about my platform is that personal connection that they love, its major response to the DMs, its main response to the emails. I’m that go-to person that can link the bride to the supplier directly.

 

Anna: Yeah. So, are there suppliers’ details on your platform?

 

Poonam: Yeah.

 

Anna: So, they can directly contact them?

 

Poonam: Yeah.

 

Anna: Otherwise, you almost kind of had a coordination planning kind of service where they contact you and say, “This is what I need, what can we do, which ne do you…?

 

Poonam: Exactly.

 

Anna: It’s a little bit different. You can assist them to plan and coordinate?

 

Poonam: Yup. I work with the vendors, obviously to assist these brides. One of the first questions that an Indian bride asks is outfits, of course. It’s all about the fashion now.  The fashion is a big gap here that we have here in Australia. We don’t have access to a lot of beautiful Indian fashion.

 

Anna: Why is that?

 

Poonam: Good question. Australia is still a relatively new country if you compare to say the US or the UK. Shopping for Indian wear is really easy over there. Whereas over here, it’s just not accessible. We still have to go to India for our shopping.

 

Anna: Yeah. I’ve noticed a lot of my brides do that. Even some of my couples going all back in December to do shopping.

 

Poonam: Yeah. It’s usually this period, December, January, holidays that they have to go shopping for their outfits. We also did it as well. We just didn’t find that the shops, there are shops here mind you, but we didn’t find that the shops are keeping up to the latest trends. Things are changing so dramatically in India.

 

Anna: Isn’t that interesting? You would think that one of those Indian suppliers would have caught on and said, “Hey, we should be opening up a branch in Sydney.”

 

Poonam: Exactly.

 

Anna: Very interesting.

 

Poonam: To be honest, online shopping has become so popular now too with Indian fashion designers. It’s so easy now and accessible for us to order from India. If I have a function or an event, I’ll order. Within two to three weeks, I’ll get my outfit, which is pretty quick.

 

Anna: Yeah. You don’t have to pay the air fare, accommodation and everything.

 

Poonam: Exactly. I also tell that to some of the brides, “Look, do you really want to go to India and do your shopping?” Because it’s actually really overwhelming to do your shopping in India. You have so much choices. And the other thing is traffic is ridiculous over there. Traffic, accommodation, it all adds up.

 

A lot of designers I met in the UK, some big names in the Indian fashion industry were telling me we also tell our brides that you don’t necessarily have to come to see us. We do everything via a Skype or WhatsApp. If the bride approaches us, we’ll get their measurements over WhatsApp.

 

Anna: The times have changed.

 

Poonam: Yeah. India loves WhatsApp. They’re obsessed with WhatsApp. So, everything is done over WhatsApp. The bride will send the pictures. It’s just so easy now.

 

In saying that, I suppose, it would be nice to have a boutique that has like a multi designer store here.

 

Anna: People still like to try and touch and see if it feels nice, fits nice.

 

Poonam: True. When you think about it now, if you book in advance, it’s actually not that bad to get to India. Brides still want to do it.

 

Anna: Oh gosh.

 

Poonam:  They’ve got this time to do it. Yeah.

 

Anna: Me and Bailey have been saying we want to go to India for a very long time.

 

Poonam: Yeah?

 

Anna: Yeah. So it’s really exciting.

 

In terms of, okay, you’ve got the platform. Then, the bride’s literally… it’s pretty much catered to all the stuff for Asian couples. So, they pretty much can go on there. They don’t know where they’re going, what they’re doing. They’re a little bit lost. They’ll go onto your website or to that platform and the platform is maharanidiaries.com? There’s no .au is there?

 

Poonam: No, it’s themaharanidiaries.com.

 

Anna: It’s themaharanidiaries.com. When they go on there, they’ll see a list of directors. At the moment, how many vendors do you have on this platform?

 

Poonam: I only work with a handful, because I don’t believe that…  I’m all about, less is more here. I think that if I only find one good Indian caterer out there, I’m only going to work with one. If I only find one amazing cake decorator out there, I’m going to work with that person. If that person resonates with my brand, my values, and also appeals to my audience, then I think it’s the way I want to go. I know that there’s a lot of platforms out there that got 5,000 6,000 wedding supplies on their directory. A lot of suppliers and brides come to me and say, it’s just all so overwhelming.

 

Anna: So, they’re more of a directory of having people pay for the space and they’re being directed on there. Whereas your actual platform isn’t about a directory just go into seeing everything. You’re just pretty much having this one platform with particular suppliers that you recommend.

 

Poonam: Exactly. Like I said before, it’s not just about the directory. It’s about giving the brides more than just a directory. Whilst they do still love that directory element, I still get DMs every day; can you recommend a decorator? Can you recommend a cake decorator or whatever?

 

There’s a lot of things that we still don’t know. For instance, we don’t have access to… well, maybe we do. Maybe we don’t. There’s a lot of people who ask for instance, for tailors. They ask for, someone who can drape the sari. They ask for priests that can perform a specific ritual. These sorts of things are not covered.

 

Anna: Yeah, they’re not. Not in any direction anyway.

 

Poonam: No. So, when we find these people, and often it’s just through random Google search that we have to do. Unfortunately, especially with the sari draping, it’s more of the older aunties that know how to do the sari draping really well.

 

Anna: So, that’s a service they provide. They just come on the day and they drape the sari, they dress them and do all that type of things.

 

Poonam: Yeah.

 

Anna: You wouldn’t think to look for something like that.

 

Poonam: Exactly.  What people are really resonating with, especially like the wedding features too. I like to include a lot of detail in real wedding features. If a bride approaches me and they’re like, “Oh, we want to see our wedding on your blog or on your Instagram.” I’ll send them a really detailed Google form that they can fill out, and there’s about 10 to 15 questions on there. I always tell them to take time because it is a lot of information. Our weddings go over three or four days.

 

Some brides just prefer to feature their wedding and reception. Some prefer to feature all four, the whole story. It’s a lot of information to cover. A lot of wedding suppliers and brides are telling me that they’re loving the features because there’s a lot of detail.

 

Anna: Because they get a lot of information.

 

Poonam: Exactly.

 

Anna: For anyone that’s a bride out there that is South Asian background, or even just Westerners that just want to have that interest of culture. Literally this is the go-to site, because you get all your answers there, you’ll get your personal touch. Now, they’re going probably have the question of, okay, so you’re doing this now full time?

 

Poonam: Yeah.

 

Anna: They’re going to be questioning, do you charge a fee for them to come up and ask these questions and things like that? All those questions and all those answers can be found on the platform of that website?

 

Poonam: Not at the moment. Obviously, moving to Sydney in July last year, I was just trying to get a feel for the market. Like I said, I didn’t think it would take off when we moved here, but it has in a big way, which is good. People are asking me to provide this service as a consultant full time now. At the moment I’m working on devising something that can actually help these girls when they come to me initially so they’re not so overwhelmed. If they’ve got those initial questions like, “I don’t know what sort of Mundap to go for.” A Mundap is the structure that we get married under. Usually, Indian weddings take place under Mundap. “I’m getting married in this Garden. I’m not sure if I can have the Mundap.” Questions like that, we need to serve the audience here a lot better.

 

Anna: Yeah.

 

Poonam: Look, it’s good to see that things have evolved over the last eight years since I got married. But there’s still a lot of room for improvement. I think brides now, especially I’m seeing, they want the best of both worlds. They want the best of the East and the West.

 

Anna: Yes, exactly. I’m getting a lot of Indians coming and saying, “I don’t want a traditional Mundap. I want you to create a big floral canopy for me, or draping that’s very unique.”

 

Poonam: We get people like Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas’s wedding thing. Why can’t we have that here? We need to serve these guys a lot better. How can we do that? Through people like yourself as well. I think, and florals obviously are massive right now with Indian brides. Every bride wants…

 

Anna: Wants flowers everywhere.

 

Poonam: Everywhere. So, how can we include the best of both worlds?

 

Anna: You’re lucky that you got married eight years ago, not now. You’d be taking a loan out for your wedding now.

 

Poonam: I always tell my husband, after ten-year mark, we’re redoing our wedding because I didn’t get the Instagram wedding I wanted.

 

Anna: If you were to get married again, you’ve got your whole vision of where, what, how, everything’s all done.

 

Poonam: Totally. I actually initially wanted to get married in India. But actually, to be honest, having a wedding in India now is just as expensive as having a wedding in Australia. It’s crazy expensive now. So even back then, our parents were like, no way.

 

Anna: Not in India.

 

Poonam: Relatives won’t come…

 

 

Anna: You know how funny how parents will think your relative won’t come to your heritage country.

 

Poonam: Yeah. So, that’s the plan for 10-year anniversary.

 

Anna: Hopefully we can all be a part of it and then just make it a bigger wow for you. Do you have any tips for someone who is thinking of pursuing a similar career? Because they would have heard your hardship over the last eight years trying to get your foot into this. It’s been eight years to get there. Back then, it wasn’t as much competition. Now, the competition is crazy. It’s almost like you’ve kind of missed that peak boat of getting into the industry when there’s not much people.

 

Poonam: Oh no.

 

Anna: Do you have any advice for anyone that is thinking of coming into this industry?

 

Poonam: Like you just said, there’s a lot of noise out there. I still today can’t find many blogs out there that I resonate with. I think what’s kept me grounded is obviously social media. I’ve met so many incredible people. Some of my best friends have actually come through social media. I think what has to keep you grounded in this industry is there’s two emotions that we need to have; gratitude and empathy. I think what makes me happy is not the money. It’s about making my community and my audience happy.

 

Anna: Yeah. That will then come back to you.

 

Poonam: If they are happy, then I’m happy. I think that’s my key to hopefully being successful is to have those two emotions always instilled with me being true to who I am and just staying grounded. I fell into the comparison trap very early when I started. I felt like the first two years was a complete waste, but…

 

Anna: But it was the experience.

 

Poonam: Exactly.

 

Anna: If you didn’t go through those two years, you wouldn’t be where you are the third or fourth year.

 

Poonam: Exactly.

 

Anna: Everything happens for a reason. Everything does. And your journey through to Ireland and then to the UK and then coming back here, if you didn’t experience what you did in the UK, your actual platform and blogging wouldn’t be as strong as it is today. Everything seriously is a journey in life.

 

Poonam: I still cover stuff in the UK. It’s funny. I still get invited to wedding shows over there. They’re like, “Oh, are you going to make it?”  “No. I’m in Australia now.” I can’t fly over there like within a week. But I still get invited to the shows there. So, I still cover what’s going on there, which is a great thing.

 

Anna: It’s amazing. It really is amazing.

 

Poonam: Hopefully, one day I can just drop what I’m doing here, and go fly to London.

 

Anna: You can just fly everywhere. [Crosstalk] When you get to a point in life where you can just fly everywhere, blog everywhere and you’ll be invited in. Your flights will be paid for because they want you to be a guest speaker or guest blogger. That will happen because of how your values are, and it’s all about experience for the clients.

 

I’m really excited that you’re here today.

 

Poonam: Thanks, Anna.

 

Anna: Thank you for sharing your story because it’s such a powerful one. I really want people to get to know who you are, why you’re doing it. It’s not just another platform for people to just to make money off. It’s actually something that’s genuinely you want to do and help people. Thank you so much.

 

Poonam: Thanks so much.

 

Anna: In terms of our audiences, if you have any questions or anything, please hop on to the website. Otherwise, hop on to the Instagram or the Facebook. And just to spell the actual name because a lot of people probably are thinking, how do I spell that? It’s T-H-E-M-A-H-A-R-A-N-I-D-I-A-R-I-E-S. It’s a mouthful, but it’s such a powerful name. Please, get on to the website. Thank you for listening.

 

[End]