Zarine Manchanda: Indian Socio-Entrepreneurial-Political Arena’s Quintessential Starlet

Zarine Manchanda
Zarine Manchanda

We make choices each day throughout our lives. When we gain awareness of our own identity, we can opt for one path over another, shaping our own destiny. It’s inherent in our nature to aim for the best, to continuously progress until the end of our journey. By looking at ourselves from an external perspective, we can regard our past as a lesson, akin to a movie, offering guidance on how to reshape our future by adhering to our enduring spirit.

Undoubtedly, external factors hold significance! What truly matters is how we react to external influences attempting to steer our lives. We should always remember that every action has an opposite and equal reaction; if we strive to do good in all our endeavors, we will ultimately experience positive outcomes.

Despite our best efforts, certain dreams may remain unattainable, even if we are willing to make tremendous sacrifices. Hence, it’s wise to pursue alternative aspirations rather than squander our lives in futile hope. The key to ensuring our legacy and meaningful existence lies in consistently doing good deeds that will be remembered long after our time, rather than merely dreaming. This is precisely how Zarine Manchanda shifted her course when her childhood dream remained unfulfilled.

Following the highly acclaimed launch of the Zarine Manchanda Foundation in 2019, which garnered extensive media attention and received numerous esteemed accolades, including two National Awards, two Governor Awards, and the Nelson Mandela Peace Award, Zarine made a strategic shift toward entrepreneurship.

The Radiant Beacon of the Gleaming Starlight

She went on to establish multiple enterprises across diverse sectors, all bearing her name. Fortunately, Zarine’s venture into entrepreneurship unfolded seamlessly and naturally, with each decision to launch her various businesses feeling both comfortable and organic.

In addition to her charity foundation cum NGO, Zarine now owns and operates five companies:

  • Zarine Manchanda Cafe,
  • Zarine Manchanda’s Flavoursof the Himachal Pradesh restaurant,
  • Heavenly Flavours Cloud Kitchen,
  • Zarine Manchanda Premium Security Agency, and
  • Zarine Manchanda Treasures of the Himalayas.

With all the businesses operating successfully, Zarine is now looking to expand and franchise these businesses beyond Mumbai into other cities and locations in India and internationally.

Sharing her motivation for entering the corporate world, Zarine explains, “I always harbored the ambition of becoming a successful entrepreneur and expanding my businesses to make a global impact. My self-belief never wavered; it was primarily a matter of launching these ventures at the opportune moment. Once my foundation achieved success, transitioning into the entrepreneurial realm felt like the logical next step.”

Zarine’s primary source of inspiration stemmed from her beloved parents. Her father, a respected politician and minister in Himachal Pradesh where she grew up, was also a highly accomplished businessman with diverse business interests. She fondly recalls, “Growing up alongside him, I had firsthand exposure to the workings of a CEO: the significance of a bold and distinctive vision, adaptability in an ever-evolving business landscape. My inner strength, on the other hand, was instilled by my beloved mother. She raised me with a sense of purpose, encouraging me to do good, assist others, empower them, and lead by example.”

Life’s Journey of Positive Karma

To underscore the leadership qualities, values, and attributes that people hold in high regard, Zarine believes it would be fitting to incorporate testimonials from her dedicated employees, media professionals who have featured her, or organizers of various award ceremonies where she has been honored. She adds, “However, if I were to offer insights into this response, I would say that people admire my spiritual qualities above all else. I frequently engage in conversations about spiritual matters, which tend to feature prominently in my interactions. Yet, actions speak louder than words.” Zarine credits her compassionate upbringing to her cherished mother, emphasizing the importance of helping others, acting with good intentions, and cultivating positive karma to earn the favor of the divine. She firmly believes that such benevolent actions lead to blessings and positive outcomes on her life’s journey here on Earth.

Zarine believes that people hold her in high regard due to her visionary approach and her unwavering commitment to establishing a distinctive Unique Selling Proposition (USP) and unique branding for all her business ventures. She emphasizes, “I don’t conform to the crowd; I always strive for my companies and business models to be unparalleled, pioneering in their respective sectors. Whether it’s operating India’s inaugural seven-star café, known as the Zarine Manchanda Café, or being the trailblazing woman behind India’s premier security company, exemplified by the Zarine Manchanda Premium Security Agency. Even opening India’s inaugural truly Himachal restaurant, such as my latest venture, Zarine Manchanda’s Flavors of Himachal Pradesh. ‘To be unique, to be the first, and to not follow the crowd’ has always been my father’s mantra.” Zarine’s father was a highly accomplished entrepreneur and businessman.

When asked to outline her USPs and explain her position as a versatile and dynamic personality, Zarine expresses her appreciation for the question. She elaborates, “I’ll do my utmost to respond! My businesses span a wide array of sectors, encompassing the hospitality industry with a café, restaurant, and cloud kitchen, as well as a security firm and a fine decor business offering exquisite gifts and collectibles.”

In all these ventures, Zarine diligently endeavors to imbue luxury and spiritual essence into her brand. She illustrates this approach with examples: “For instance, both my café and new restaurant boast opulent decor, from top to bottom, featuring the finest crockery and cutlery. Beyond this sense of luxury, we incorporate a spiritual touch by having our waitstaff ring beautiful Tibetan Bells as they serve food and drinks to our guests’ tables.” These bells are sourced from Dharamshala, near the residence of the Dalai Lama. Zarine adds, “Our guests truly appreciate this unique blessing!”

Harmonious Endeavours

Similar levels of luxury and refinement are evident in her premium security agency, where security personnel and other staff don elegant and vibrant uniforms. They are trained to provide impeccable service, ensuring clients feel secure and comfortable when the guards are on duty at their premises.

Zarine firmly believes that the concepts of luxury and spiritual charm can be harmoniously intertwined, offering customers and clients not only the best service but also an elegant, refined experience. This approach, she emphasizes, is intended to impart blessings and uphold the highest ethical standards, fostering growth and prosperity in her businesses through the loyalty of clients and customers.

In terms of her current standing, Zarine takes great satisfaction in the fact that her extensive media coverage spans across India’s most prestigious publications. Consequently, she has been featured and highlighted in prominent business, economic, and political magazines, as well as in publications that delve into beauty, glamour, and lifestyle. In this regard, she stands as one of the few women who have received recognition in such diverse and multifaceted publications. She hopes that this recognition serves as a testament to her skills and visionary approach as a businesswoman, CEO, and aspiring politician. Simultaneously, it underscores her lifestyle and fashion preferences, which have also been acknowledged and praised.

Breaking the Barriers

When asked about the challenges she faces in the current industry landscape, particularly as a woman leader, and how she motivates herself to overcome them, Zarine states, “I take immense pride in being an Indian and a woman. I’m proud of India’s ongoing efforts to expand opportunities for young girls across our nation, ensuring access to education and a wide range of career and business prospects.”

However, she acknowledges that gender equality in society is not yet fully realized, as persistent stereotypes and resistance continue to hinder women and girls from enjoying the same respect and opportunities that are often taken for granted by men and boys. Zarine recognizes that being a young woman entrepreneur further compounds these challenges, given the relatively low representation of young women in the entrepreneurial arena.

While acknowledging the existing societal and cultural imbalances, Zarine remains optimistic about the ongoing improvements. She believes that she can contribute to rectifying this imbalance by empowering herself, steadfastly adhering to her bold vision and Unique Selling Proposition (USP), and insisting on leadership rather than conformity. She emphasizes, “All of us, as women, have the capacity to think and act in this manner. If we unite around these principles, we can quickly and permanently narrow the gender gap, as it rightly should be.”

Possibly owing to her upbringing and the strong values instilled in her by her dynamic and charismatic father, a successful businessman and prominent minister, along with the compassionate nurturing provided by her mother, who emphasized helping others, Zarine often finds that when she encounters new contacts in various industries such as media, philanthropy, politics, government, or business, she senses an immediate outpouring of respect and admiration. She attributes this reception to the values ingrained in her by her parents.

Exploring Boundless Possibilities

Zarine also underscores the pivotal role of entrepreneurship in contemporary society. She reiterates, “As I mentioned earlier, with each passing generation, there seems to be a positive and daring stride toward achieving gender parity, ensuring that both men and women, as well as boys and girls, have equal opportunities.” She firmly believes that women and girls have the inherent right to achieve mental and financial independence, without relying solely on husbands or others for support.

If given the chance, Zarine aspires to serve as a beacon of inspiration and demonstrate to girls and women that the realm of possibilities is boundless when one dreams, envisions, thinks, strategizes, and takes bold and audacious actions. She often emphasizes, “Don’t merely follow trends, as trends are fleeting. Instead, focus on a grand vision and take audacious actions, for they are timeless and can withstand the capricious nature of trends.”

At present, if you were to inquire about the aspirations of young girls in India, a substantial percentage would likely express a desire to become a Bollywood actress or a movie star. However, Zarine envisions that within one or two generations, after her own business career and life have concluded, she hopes that young girls of the future will aspire to be philanthropists or entrepreneurs. She adds, “This is the legacy I aspire to leave behind in my own life—to pave the way for girls and women to excel in diverse fields beyond the glamour industry.”

When offering guidance to aspiring entrepreneurs, particularly women entrepreneurs, on venturing into any industry of their choosing, Zarine underscores a principle she has previously emphasized but believes warrants repeating: “Dream big and audacious, and follow those dreams. Resist the temptation to conform and follow the crowd, as it’s easy to lose your way in that pursuit. Instead, conceive a bold vision in your mind and take confident steps toward realizing it. Craft a Unique Selling Proposition (USP) rooted in your unique life experiences. Always be prepared with a plan B, and even a plan C, recognizing that plan A may not always come to fruition due to life’s challenges, obstacles, and setbacks.”

She adds, “On this note, I’ll mention that as a young girl, my dream was to become a Bollywood actress, aspiring to attain fame as a movie star. I left my ‘Princess Life’ behind in Himachal Pradesh and journeyed to Mumbai to pursue this ambition. While I encountered challenges breaking into Bollywood, I always had a plan B and C, influenced by my father’s profound impact on my outlook. Consequently, I recognized that politics, commerce, and entrepreneurship aligned naturally with my DNA. During my most challenging moments, while striving to establish myself in Bollywood, I founded my NGO and charity foundation, a decision that propelled me to the success I presently enjoy in both the nonprofit and for-profit spheres.”

Creating a Legacy

Furthermore, Zarine advocates focusing on one’s legacy, much as she does. She urges individuals to contemplate how they wish to be remembered when they depart from this world and what actions they can undertake during their precious lifetime to ensure a lasting and thriving legacy. She emphasizes, “These questions, along with their answers, occupy my thoughts consistently.”

Zarine reveals that her life as a young woman entrepreneur is exceptionally hectic, managing numerous businesses that proudly bear her name. She hopes that her ability to oversee multiple enterprises as a young woman entrepreneur can serve as an inspiration to other women entrepreneurs. Given the extensive coverage by numerous media outlets, which have delved into her life story, values, business model, and branding strategies in great detail, she aspires to present her unique selling proposition (USP) as “India’s Influential Female Business Leader to Watch” to empower and inspire other women entrepreneurs.

Envisaging A Triumphant Tomorrow

When envisioning her future trajectory, Zarine harbors bold aspirations. She is known for her tireless work ethic and remarkable ambition. Building on the successes of her various enterprises thus far, she is actively exploring opportunities to expand each of these businesses into different cities across India and even internationally. She asserts, “I firmly believe that the fusion of luxury and spiritual charm, as I have consistently demonstrated, represents a winning business concept, and the continued growth of each of my businesses substantiates this point.”

In Zarine’s view, leadership should be evaluated without regard to gender distinctions. The qualities admired in men should equally be appreciated in women. This is precisely why she advocates for achieving complete gender equality in our nation, to ensure a level playing field for all.

She consistently underscores the importance of nurturing a bold vision and taking audacious actions, reiterating the significance of crafting a personalized Unique Selling Proposition (USP) grounded in one’s life experiences and the specific business models being executed. She emphatically advises against succumbing to conformity or blindly following trends. Importantly, Zarine stresses that this counsel applies to both men and women without distinction.

“For us women,” she elaborates, “I believe it’s essential to cultivate our distinct leadership and management styles.” She emphasizes that strength doesn’t always manifest in physical power or the volume of one’s voice. Women can lead and manage differently, incorporating qualities unique to their femininity in the development and implementation of their leadership approaches. While it still demands vigor and dynamism, the expression of these traits can be distinctly feminine.

A Willingness to Bring A Revolution

Zarine’s upbringing in a privileged environment, thanks to her father, provided her with a princess-like upbringing. This upbringing laid the foundation for seamlessly infusing luxury elements into the branding of her various ventures. Her mother, on the other hand, instilled in her the core beliefs and values by which she lives, with a particular emphasis on spirituality. This strong spiritual foundation made it natural for her to incorporate spiritual charm into her business vision.

It is this visionary outlook that not only led to her winning several prestigious awards but also resulted in her being awarded an honorary doctorate. Zarine’s remarkable entrepreneurship and expansion of multiple businesses garnered numerous accolades from renowned media organizations.

Zarine takes immense pride in her role as the Regional Director for India’s BRICS CCI (Chamber of Commerce of India), a trade organization dedicated to facilitating and enhancing India’s bilateral trade relations with fellow member nations, including Brazil, Russia, China, and South Africa.

Furthermore, she serves as the Chairperson and Editor in Chief for the regions of Himachal Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Goa within India’s National Council of News and Broadcasting.

Lastly, driven by her keen interest in politics and her successful establishment of a political base through her charity foundation, which has organized over 500 charitable initiatives since its inception in 2019, Zarine is poised to enter the political arena. She will contest the 2024 elections as an MLA candidate in Andheri through her national party, the Zarine Manchanda People’s Party.