Seema Bansal, who co-founded the floral company Venus Et Fleur with her husband, always has a busy schedule, starting with making the bed first thing every morning to make sure each day gets off to a productive start. “Then I’ll have coffee and then usually I’ll work out or, depending on my schedule, I’ll get straight into work. I usually have like 8:30 or 9:00 AM meeting, depending on the day.” But however hectic her day gets, Bansal always makes time to fit in a few key things for herself.
“I journal every single day. That’s a huge part of my life. Then I’ll try to take 10 minutes throughout meetings to just meditate and turn off a little bit and make some time to breathe,” she said. “That’s how I think I’ve survived business. I’ve always tried to take moments of the day for myself to check in and see how I’m doing. I think that’s really made a world of a difference for me.”
Though she credits taking the time for self-care as a key factor in her business success, Bansal wasn’t always this adept at organizing her own schedule.
“When I first started, I did not understand the word balance,” she said. “We were all over the place. We were just really trying to get our business off the ground. We were doing everything and anything to get there and prove a concept. I think that I learned throughout that process what burnout could feel like and I started taking self-care really seriously.”
In fact, Bansal takes self-care so seriously, it even inspired her to launch her second business, Chiji, focused on products such as energy crystals and candles.
Recognizing a void or opportunity in the market like this is also integral to Bansal’s business acumen, and this is how Venus Fleur got its romantic start — on Valentine’s Day in 2015, when Bansal’s then-boyfriend Sunny wanted to send her some flowers to Canada from New York.
“He did a ton of research and was getting hit with different types of marketing. What I received wasn’t what was marketed online and that he had ordered. We realized there was a gaping hole in the luxury floral market and a huge discrepancy between what companies were marketing and what consumers were getting so we decided to fill that void.”
Bansal says that she likes to “problem solve,” a skill which has served her well over the years in overcoming business obstacles. This included streamlining her supply chain when a surprise Kardashian shout-out in the early days of the business caused inventory to immediately sell-out, as well as adjusting to the complications caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“During COVID, we pushed back a ton of product launches just to also read the room and understand that we were there for our consumer and that we really wanted to communicate with them and build our community,” Bansal said. “Also during that time, we decided that it was really important to send out arrangements to healthcare workers that were dedicating their lives in the front line. We tried to do our best during that crazy time when COVID first hit and that really hit the flower industry.”
Adopting Bansal’s can-do and self-reflective attitude isn’t always easy. Especially in extraordinary times such as these, finding time to check-in and care for yourself can feel like a huge task, and this is particularly true of women, who studies have shown already take on more housework and caretaking duties than their male partners.
Bansal also points out that women can sometimes get in their own way when it comes to moving forward on a business or business idea. “I think women often have this self-sabotaging feeling or this overwhelming feeling of guilt that they should be doing something else or helping someone else,” she said. “It’s all about just believing that you can actually do it and amazing things will happen.”
As for herself, Bansal has no plans to stop where she is or rest on her laurels. “Whenever I see a gap in a market, that really excites me. I like to create something that’s unique and different. I think that’s how I see myself growing within this industry or any other industry is just disrupting it and creating things that people haven’t really seen before.”