“My true calling was being the boss of my own company”
When Anushka Doshi founded an online children's clothing brand based in Mumbai, Cuddles for Cubs, it wasn’t on a whim. The successful launch in Mumbai in August 2017 was part of Doshi’s strategic plan – an entrepreneurial pull had been tugging away for as long as she could remember.
Prior to LBS, Doshi, an Indian national, completed a Bachelor of Business Administration, majoring in economics at Babson College in the US. She launched her first business at the college – a student-run venture for an entrepreneurship class. Doshi graduated early from college, interned in London and India (in PR, education, fintech and her family textile manufacturing firm T.C Impex Corporation) and then became assistant marketing manager at Asset Vantage in India.
“My true calling was being the boss of my own company,” she says. “I always knew that I wanted to do something related to my family’s firm, but I wanted to carve out my own niche.”
When Doshi joined London Business School’s (LBS) Masters in Management (MiM) in 2015 it wasn’t a question of what she would do, but, rather, what she would create from scratch. She was awarded LBS’s Monica and Navin Valrani Scholarship. This put her decidedly in the spotlight. “I was one of four speakers to address the class at our City Hall induction event,” she says. “I couldn’t have asked for a better way to start my masters.” Visible to her classmates, scholars from other programmes and faculty from the get-go, Doshi credits the scholarship for putting her in the right place time and again.
She also built a relationship with Navin Valrani, a seasoned entrepreneur who set up the fund to support bright female leaders from India. “Navin has been incredible. I’ve been in touch with him throughout my journey, from when my business idea was just an idea to when I incorporated the company.
“The scholarship gave me access to an amazing network. Navin’s insights are invaluable and his recognition helped me connect with so many people.”
As a 24-year-old founder, Doshi is now enveloped by positive role models and mentors. Connections are everywhere. For instance, as a student she became a member of the Family Business Club, supporting next-generation entrepreneurs. She found the LBS library fertile ground for networking with students from different programmes, and engaged in the Career Centre’s entrepreneur mentor in residence programme, which matches students to pioneering alumni. “It was great to get feedback early on from the alumni mentors – and to see them volunteering to help students like me with fledging ideas.”
As an alumna, Doshi is an active member of the Mumbai network. “You see,” she says, “you never really leave LBS. I’ll always be part of the community and that's what makes the School special.”
In core classes, Doshi brushed up on her business skills. During electives, including the entrepreneurial management and family business, she soared. In the entrepreneurial management class Doshi collaborated with a richly diverse group to pitch a start-up idea.
“External advisors critiqued our work. It was a great simulation for the real world,” she notes.
The family business elective offered her an insightful gem she put to good use when she launched Cuddle for Cubs. “I remember asking Rupert Merson whether I should start my venture independently or under the umbrella of my family’s business. We went through 10 case studies. I reflected on our exchange and decided to incorporate the company.”
Doshi’s business is doing well. Her lines have been admired by vendors at India Kids Fashion Week and she’s set to expand by selling products via marketplaces in Europe and children's clothing boutiques in the UK.
“I recently fired off an email to alumni asking for contacts within the children's fashion industry and received replies within two hours. That's when you can really put a value on your education. LBS is helping me and my business on a daily basis.”
Anushka Doshi was a recipient of the MiM Monica and Navin Valrani Scholarship