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The Power of One: How Small Actions Can Make A Big Difference | Vaishali Shah

Today’s Guest Vaishali Shah

Vaishali is an award-winning entrepreneur who has been running two successful businesses for over 20 years. As the founder of Creative ID, a branding and marketing consultancy, and Ananya Cards, a luxury stationery brand, Vaishali has helped businesses all over the world connect with their ideal clients and create purposeful, aspirational content. She is also a dedicated supporter of sustainability, diversity, and charity work, donating 10% of her profits to important causes.

As an industry expert, Vaishali has been featured in global wedding publications, blogs, and media, and her work at Ananya Cards has been creating sophisticated wedding and event stationery for celebrations rich in personality and culture for 17 years. When she's not busy changing the world and running two successful businesses, Vaishali enjoys relaxing in a spa, exploring the newest art exhibitions in the city, and traveling to beautiful places.

  • Vaishali talks about her motivation for using her businesses to give to charity and how it was influenced by her upbringing in a family that emphasized giving back, as well as the support of her father who mentored and inspired her.
  • Some personal challenges that she faced were her parents' divorce and moving from Jersey to Paris and now, starting from scratch again in Dubai, which pushed her out of her comfort zone and made her more resilient, helping her become a more business-minded and entrepreneurial individual.
  • Vaishali enjoys running two businesses as it provides variety. She niches within each business, focusing on cultural and multicultural wedding stationery for Ananya Cards and food, hospitality, and lifestyle for Creative ID. This helps her manage social media and focus her marketing efforts.
  • To maintain her energy and creativity, Vaishali practices self-care activities such as visiting spas and traveling to exotic locations. She also enjoys listening to podcasts and wants to start journaling and meditating on a daily basis.
  • Vaishali hopes to create a community called "Chai and conversation" for like-minded entrepreneurs and business owners to talk about charity and support each other's efforts in making a positive impact.

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Vaishali: I was brought up with it in the sense of at the breakfast table or the dinner table, we'd talk about, um, giving back with my parents. My parents would, um, Give me, you know, pocket money, let's say like 10 pounds for a month. And then try to see how I could increase that or what I would, how I would spend that 10 pounds.

And I guess for me, I was very fortunate coming from an entrepreneurial family. That, uh, my father gave me, um, a lot of business help and I'd say he was my mentor.

And when I made mistakes, it's about learning from those mistakes.

Matt: Welcome to Push To Be More with me, your host, Matt Edmundson. This is a show that talks about the stuff that makes life work and to help us do just that. I'm chatting with my very special guest, Vaishali Shah. Uh, from creative or creative hyphen should I say, uh, about where she's had to push through what she does to recharge her batteries.

Uh, and well, what she's doing to be more. Now the show notes and transcript from my conversation with Vaishali will be available on our website,, and whilst you're there on the website, make sure you sign up for the newsletter, and each week we will email you the links uh, from the conversation and the notes, they come to you automagically direct your inbox totally for free.

It's an amazing thing. Now this episode is brought to you by Aurion Media, which helps entrepreneurs and business leaders set up and run their own successful podcasts to grow their own business. You know what? I've said it before, I'm gonna say it again. I have found running my own podcast to be super, super rewarding.

It opens doors to amazing people like nothing I have seen, I've built networks, made friends, had a platform to champion my customers, my team, and my suppliers, and I think just about any entrepreneur or business leader should have a podcast because it's had such a huge impact on my own business. Now, of course, this sounds fab in theory, but in reality, you've got the whole problem of setup, distribution, getting the tech right, getting the right podcast strategy.

I mean, the list goes on. Bottom line. I love to talk to people, as you can probably tell. Uh, but all of that other stuff I'm not necessarily a fan of. So the team at Aurion Media takes it all off my plate. I do what I'm good at, and they brilliantly take care of the rest. So if you are wondering if podcasting is a good marketing strategy for your business, do connect with them at

That's A U R I O N media dot com, and we will of course link to them. On the podcast website as well. Our next guest, Vaishali is an award-winning entrepreneur, not just any old entrepreneur. No, no. An award-winning one who has been running two successful businesses for over 20 years. As the founder of Creative ID, a brand and marketing consultancy.

Uh, well, she also has a luxury, uh, card brand as well, cuz you know, why would you not? Right? Uh, she has helped businesses all over the world connect with their ideal clients and create purposeful, aspirational content. She is also a dedicated supporter of sustainability, diversity, and charity work. She donates 10% of her profits to charitable causes, which we are gonna get into in the conversation.

Oh, yes. Now, as an industry expert, Vaishali has been featured in global wedding publications, blogs and media. Uh, and her work at at Ananya Cards has been creating sophisticated wedding and event stationery for celebrations rich in personality and culture. I just love that phrase, rich in personality and culture for 17 years. When she's not busy changing the world, uh, and running two successful businesses, uh, she enjoys relaxing in a spa.

And why would you not? Right. Exploring the newest art exhibitions in the city and traveling to beautiful paces. I just love it. Love it, love it, love it. So let's get into it. Vaishali, welcome to the show. Great that you are here. Thank you so much for joining me. How are we doing today?

Vaishali: We're doing very well. Thank you very much for, uh, inviting me.

Matt: I, oh no, no worries. Now I butchered the name of your card business. What was the, what is the name of your card business?

Vaishali: Ananya cards.

Matt: Ananya. I dunno what I said, but it wasn't Ananya, so my apologies for that. Uh, but it's been going for 17 years. And you've been doing creative ID for 20 years. So

Vaishali: 23 years.

Matt: Yeah. Yeah. Oh geez. If you add all of those together, it comes to 40 years. I just, I just wanna put that out there.

Vaishali: Let's not work out my age, please. Let's not do the math.

Matt: Yeah, let's not do the No, no, no. That's fair play. I'm the same way. I'm, I'm celebrating a big milestone birthday in a few weeks time and I'm, I'm, oh, fantastic.

I just don't know how near I want to go to that. Anyway, as I said in the introduction, let's start there, right? You, one of the things that I know about you is obviously you're a super generous person. You use your businesses to give to charity. So tell me what brought that on? What motivates you to keep doing that?

Vaishali: Okay. So for me, what's important is making a difference. And um, that's something that I was brought up with, um, from my, uh, grandfather, my grandparents, to my parents, and now, um, myself. Um, it's about giving back, helping those that are in need, whether that's through financial donations, whether that's, for example, through my branding business, doing branding and marketing on a pro bono basis is really trying to help those that are less fortunate.

Um, to, to, to, you know, to, to excel. So for example, it could be people in, in, in India or Africa that need, um, some help, but it could also be the future st. Um, the future leaders, leaders of the future. So kind of helping students, uh, kind of understand about business and kind of sharing my business knowledge and my business skills to kind of help them come up with business ideas and kind of have that business thinking.

Matt: So this idea to make a difference then to give back, is that something that, I mean, you, you mentioned your grandfather, it's always amazing when people reference their grandparents, you know, when this sort of thing has been modeled down the generation, I just find this awesome. Um, is that something, I mean, outside of your, your grandfather that was, that you sort of drew on when you were starting up your business?

Did you find people that mentored you, that were generous to you, that kind of helped you, um, sort of kickstart what you are doing now?

Vaishali: So Bec, because I was kind of brought up with it in the sense of, at the breakfast table or the dinner table, we'd talk about, um, giving back with my parents. My parents would, um, give me, you know, his pocket money, let's say like 10 pounds for a month, and then try to see how I could increase that or what I would, how I would spend that 10 pounds doing from a, from a young age. And I guess for me, I was very fortunate coming from an entrepreneurial family that, uh, my father gave me, A lot of business help and I'd say he was my mentor. So in fact, I called him a family business background and last year we celebrated a hundred years.

Oh, wow. So there's a lot of, yeah, so, so we had our centenary last year, so I'm very grateful, fortunate that, uh, my father inspired me and, and helped me. And when I made mistakes, it's about learning from those mistakes. So, um, yeah, I learned a lot from him. So I wanted to kind of pass that knowledge and. Um, that help onto others.

Matt: Well, congratulations on the centenary. I mean, that's, uh, that's not something you hear most people talk about these days. Um, it's more like, congratulations on getting through the first five years, let alone the first hundred. Um, so I'm, I'm fascinated that, um, that you had these conversations around the dinner table.

Here's your 10 pound pocket money. What, what can you do to sort of, to, to increase that, to grow that? What sort of things would you do as a kid with that money?

Vaishali: So, for example, we did, um, kind like bake sales. Mm-hmm. . So we'd use the 10 pounds make, um, cupcake, not that I was a great cook, but make cupcakes, , and then said I'm still not a great cook.

And then, um, try to, you know, sell, sell those. And obviously then we, we'd make, uh, more than 10 pounds. So then that money. That would go to charity.

Matt: Yeah. Oh, fantastic. It's funny, isn't it? How these things, um, can be instilled in us as kids, uh, and how the, how that actually just carries on through the rest of your life when it is.

And so I was talking to Emma Bianco, she's also on the podcast and, um, talking about how, when our kids were younger, we wouldn't actually pay them pocket money. Uh, but they would have the opportunity to earn money in, in whatever way or whatever guise. And one of the things I loved that we did with our kids was when they were younger, um, if they had a business idea, and I thought the business idea was half reasonable to be fair, even if I didn't think it was half reasonable, if they just had a business idea that I thought could have at least a minuscule chance of working, then I, I said to them, I would invest in it.

And so, um, my eldest son now who's at university, when he was, I'm guessing about eight, nine years old, he came to me and said, dad, I've got an idea for a business. I said, what's that son? He said, I'm gonna get some chickens and I'm gonna sell the eggs mainly to mum, but I'm gonna sell the eggs. And I was like,

Awesome. So I bought some chickens. I bought, built a chicken coop, and for years the kids were using, they were just selling eggs from these chickens that we had in our back garden, which was great. You know, and you kind of, you learn this sort of value, don't you, as you go along. The ability, the ability to hustle and to, to make cupcakes even though you're not a great cook. Right?

Vaishali: Exactly. And I think, um, certainly I think a lot of people think that charity is later, kind of when you retire, when you finished working. And for me it was very much that, no, actually charity is part of my way of life. I say it's in my i was told because that's what I've been brought up with. And I think it's nice, as you've done with your, you know with your family, it's nice to start from a young age because then it does become part of the life rather than thinking, oh, later on in the future, which may or may not happen.

Yeah. So I think it's nice to kind of start young.

Matt: Yeah, totally. That's really cool. Oh, well done to your grandfather for passing that down. That's, that's brilliant. So you've been in business, uh, 20 years, uh, 23 years. Um, now, and you are obviously gonna have faced some challenges both personal and in business, um, along the route, Vaishali.

What are some of the, the key challenges that you, you have faced?

Vaishali: Okay, so one, um, from a personal, um, perspective. Uh, my parents got divorced, uh, when I was, uh, 14, which as it is in the Indian culture is, is very rare. I think it was the first Indian family that I know of. Wow. That, um, parents got, um, um, divorced.

and I was living on a small island called Jersey in the Channel Islands. Mm-hmm. . And I moved to Paris, moved to France, um, with my mother.

Matt: Very different to Jersey.

Vaishali: Jersey's too small. So, um, yeah, moved to, to Paris. So that was a, a personal challenge because obviously the emotions were there. Change in lifestyle, change in, um, country language, everything. Starting a new school from scratch. So I'd say that was a kind of personal. Personal challenge. Um, and it's, it's funny because I've just done the same thing. Um, I've, uh, set up a base in Dubai, so I'm actually, um, speaking to you from Dubai today. And, um, I set up a base a year ago, and again, it's starting from scratch.

Um, making friends from zero, making business contacts from zero. So I'm, I'm kind of doing it again, but, uh, that's, uh, that is, that is the challenge. to, you know, to leave your home and, uh, make a home some, somewhere else in a different city.

Matt: Hmm. That's pretty big though when you're, I mean, my parents got divorced, but I think it was a bit more common, you know, in, in sort of our culture, I suppose.

But from, like you say, from, from an Indian culture, I don't know of many people actually that, that get divorced. So what was that like? is for you. I mean, so yes, your parents have got divorced. Ye yes, you're moving. But also there's the, the cultural aspect of this, which I'd never really thought through before for me, but I, I'm kind of curious, did that have an impact for you?

Vaishali: It did. I mean, to be honest, I didn't talk to, to anyone. I didn't even use, you know, the d word of divorce. I kind of, kind of brushed to the side. I knew people knew that my parents were divorced, but I never kind of actually, Um, had conversations, um, with my friends about it. Um, I'm very grateful that my parents are like best friends.

Um, and they worked really hard to kind of keep, um, keep that friendship. So even, you know, even today they're, um, excellent friends. So very grateful for that. But of course it was, it was very difficult. Was it culturally and just as a, as a young child, because I was not expecting it at all for me, it just came totally outta the blue. So again, that kind of, knocked me, but I had to kind of pick, pick myself up.

Matt: And learn a lot of French by the sound of things.

Vaishali: Yes, exactly. Exactly. Which is a good skill to have.

Matt: Yeah, I bet it is. I bet it is. I mean, I've, I've been on Jersey a fair few times over the years. Oh, okay. I know the island very well. Had a business base there.

Um, I've still, we still have very good friends there. Still go over at least once, probably twice a year. And, um, Oh, it's lovely. I love Jersey, but I get what you mean when you say it's too small. Uh, and so you go to Paris, which is, well, it's not small, is it? Paris? Really? Uh, and in, in Jersey you have, uh, all the road names are in French, but that's about it.

Whereas in Paris, everything is gonna be in French. Um, but I kind of get the impression that both places are just really expensive. So maybe that was the, maybe that was a crossover, but how do you think these sort of experiences shaped who you are today? you know, what have you sort of learned from them?

Vaishali: They, they de they definitely have, um, it's made me kind of more resilient. It's, I'm an, I'm an introvert, so it's really kind of pushed me out of, um, my comfort zone. Um, but I think as, um, an entrepreneur, it's important to be comfortable being uncomfortable and, um, I love that. Yeah. I think it's, you know, to push yourself out, out of your comfort zone looking for new opportunities.

I think as we've seen in the last few years, nothing is guaranteed. Mm-hmm. . So, um, this kind of just makes you look at things that, you know, let's look for opportunities. Let's look at doing things differently. So I think that kind of really pushed me and, and helped when the business, cause I am very kind of business minded and entrepreneurial.

So I think that, um, did help me. But I'd say it's something important for all entrepreneurs, I think, um, to kind of, um, not always be comfortable and just kind of look for new opportunities. This forced it on me.

Matt: Yeah, I, I can see that. You know, and I, I love that phrase. You've gotta get comfortable with being uncomfortable as an entrepreneur.

You've gotta put yourself in situations that you don't necessarily want to be in all the time. Um, and I can see how you, how actually moving to Paris is, is gonna give you the confidence that actually you can do something different and that you can, you can make it through, right?

Vaishali: Yes. And also what was good about Paris is it gave me an international perspective. Because being brought up in Jersey, I was one of four Indian families and everyone else, it was very much the kind of 2.4 children, you know, the very kind of typical and then suddenly I went to an international school and in my class there were 32 nationalities and I loved it. It was something so new for me and that whole kind of international, I love about London, I love about Dubai and I think that's, Framed my work as well, like looking for international opportunities, working with clients, working, you know, the whole kind of diversity piece that, um, that you mentioned.

So that certainly, um, um, that was something really good because it, it just opened my eyes because before that all I knew was Jersey and then suddenly it was a whole new world, all new nationalities, cultures, everything. So, um,

Matt: yeah. No, that's great. And I think for those listening outside maybe of the UK that aren't familiar with Jersey, Jersey is. is a tiny island, like 45 square miles just off the north coast of France. Um, but it is English. It was kind of independently British, isn't it? Sort of, uh, Jersey it's sort of got this weird sort of status. Yes, yes. Um, and it's a beautiful place. It is a beautiful place. But I get what you mean by it's tiny, but you.

So how did, but you said you, you kind of repeat, you're going, you know, you're on repeat now by moving to Dubai, you're starting again. Um, you know, starting again with, uh, with life in a new, in a new country. Why, why, why did you suddenly decide to move to Dubai? Um, where and where were you before, I guess where did you move from and, and why To Dubai.

Vaishali: I moved from Central London to, to Dubai. Um, My mom moved to Dubai, so I've been here 12 months. My mom moved 18 months. She wanted to be closer to, um, India, which where her family is. And my brother lives in Dubai, so she wanted to be closer to him. Um, I also had a milestone birthday. Oh, we can compare notes after what I wanted for birthday, so it wasn't that I had a milestone birthday, felt that I needed a change.

And also Covid showed me that I could work remotely. As long as I had strong wifi, I could work remotely, and I just felt like I needed a change. After 23 years of running the business in London, I kind of felt like I, I wanted to kind of explore new opportunities. So kind of all those elements together, um, made me set up an office here.

Matt: Wow. Wow. And so you've been there 12 months?

Vaishali: Yes. Yes. Going back to London in two weeks.

Matt: Okay. Is that for a little holiday?

Vaishali: For yes, for a month to see my clients, um, meet family and friends.

Matt: Yeah. Yeah. Do the mad Dash around. And are you enjoying it in Dubai or is it, is it, is it different to what you expected?

Vaishali: To be honest, I didn't know what to expect. I hadn't been to Dubai for eight years and that, that I'd been with just literally like a three day trip, so I didn't know what to expect. So I love Dubai as a city. I like the lifestyle. I like that it's cosmopolitan, you know, there's so many ex-pats. I love that it's new because Dubai is my age. Dubai is, you know, my age, so, uh,

Matt: you almost, you almost slipped there.

Vaishali: I know, I know, I know. Dubai is my age. Dubai is my age. So everything is so new. Yes. You know, it wants to be the tallest, the fastest, the quickest, everything like that. But things work. Um, you feel that there's optimism here. You feel that there's growth here, and I love that.

I love kind of being in that energy, so I really like that. But the challenge going back to earlier is making friends and making business contacts because I am starting from scratch.

Matt: So how did you, um, how did you go, when you say making business contacts, is this for the creative ID business?

Vaishali: Yes, and for the Ananya cards. The Ananya cards. So for Ananya cards its meeting wedding and event planners here. For creative ID, because I do a lot in kind of food and hospitality. So it's trying to meet restaurant consultants, venues, general managers. Um, so I've joined like, you know, a couple of, um, networking groups, um, online and, uh, in person. So just trying to, trying to get known really because, um, yeah, I'm not known here.

Matt: It must be quite a, a tricky one actually, cuz I, I, I know from my point of view that I, if I think about my clients, I have international clients, but I have international clients usually because somebody has recommended me to them, not because I've gone to that nation to advertise in that nation for want of a better expression.

So a lot of it comes via word of mouth or referral. And so I'm kind of thinking if I, if I just upsticks and move to New Zealand, for example, I'm in New Zealand cause I can't get any further away from England, . Um, but if I, if I move there. You're right. I mean, so much of business is based on your network, based on so many, you know, so much of your contacts.

And so if you don't know anybody over there, well that's, that's gotta be quite tricky. So how have you found that the last 12 months? Has it been pretty straightforward? Has it, has it been trying to flog a dead horse for want of a better expression? How have you found it?

Vaishali: It has been challenging, has been challenging, uh, between the two businesses. Um, the Ananya stationery business has taken off. Um, working with wedding and event planners, that has worked well and I have, um, once in business. Cause I was told that, um, it would take about two years to win business. And I was like, no, no, no, that's, I can't wait that long. Oh, I'm too ambitious and, uh, impatient.

So, um, I've worked with the wedding and event planners. On the creative ID side. That takes longer because the budgets are higher. You work on a retainer basis. So that is, um, that is challenging. So what I have been doing is I've been also working with my UK clients, so, you know, 23 years. I'm not closing the business or anything in the UK.

I'm very much, um, still working and supporting my UK clients and very grateful for that because obviously that's what's, uh, kind of kept me going.

Matt: Yeah, I can imagine. I can imagine. you've got the, uh, the two businesses, then you've got your creative id, you've got the stationery business. Um, if I can, uh, be as bold as to ask, uh, Vaishali, which one's your favorite?

Vaishali: Oh gosh. Oops. Um, I'd say Ananya is my favorite because there's just something about pretty stationery that I love. I've always been a state, I've always been a stationery fan from a young age. I was the one that pocket money went on my Caran d'ache of crayons and everything. Um, but with my business hat on, it's creative ID is it's kind of better financially. So, uh, sometimes there's that struggle between the two, what to focus on.

Matt: Yeah. Yeah. How have you found it running two businesses because they, there is that struggle. I've known what to focus on and, and where to give your time and attention to?, um, have you found it okay? Is it, or have, have you figured out a system that works for you?

Vaishali: I actually love it. Mm-hmm. , um, I love that variety because every day is different. I wouldn't want to just design invitations every day or just to design logos every day.

So I love the fact, um, that there's two businesses. Um, and, and I'm, I'm relaxed. It's not that I say, okay, Monday, Wednesday, Friday is one business. Tuesday, Thursday is another when the work is there. And thankfully, I'm very organized, um, and quite disciplined. So for me, actually, I thrive maybe being a creator, but I, I thrive on, um, that variety. Mm-hmm. You know, no, no day's the same.

Matt: Yeah. I, I, I can see that. I mean, I have, um, at the time now of recording, we have three businesses. 4, 3, 3 or four, three. Three business. I think we're just merging one of them, which is why I'm a little bit hesitant. And one of the questions people often ask me is, would you not be better off just doing one and focusing? The fact that you are doing multiple businesses

does that not mean your attention is too split between the two things? I mean, in some respects it's a bit of a moot question because I don't know the answer because I've always had multiple businesses. Um, and the people that ask me tend to be people with just one business, and they look at that go, I don't think you should do that. You should focus. Do you ever get that? Do you ever get people saying that to you?

Vaishali: I do, I do. Especially, for example, on social media because they're, because the target audience is different. So I have social media channels for one business and different for another. So it's always a full-time job, just managing social media for both businesses. So I do even, you know, they say, why don't you just have one? But the target audience is, is different. So for me it makes sense, um, to have both. But what I have done is within the businesses I have niched mm-hmm. . So for example, for the wedding and event stationery, as you said, they're rich and personality and culture.

So I've focused on kind of cultural wedding stationery. Say, whether that's multicultural, whether that's Indian, whether that's African, um, stationery. So I've kind of niched down in that. Right. And similarly for creative id, I've got a strong kind of focus on food, hospitality, and lifestyle. So that kind of helps because otherwise, if you're doing graphic design and marketing for everybody or doing stationery for everybody, I can imagine that that's too much. So I guess maybe my answer was to kind of niche within the businesses, but still keep multiple business.

Matt: I like that. That's actually great. And was that by more, more by design or was it just more by accident?

Vaishali: Um, I was, initially I was doing everything and then I just thought actually this is too much. And then I kind of, maybe two years before Covid, I thought, actually, let me just look at where I'm getting my inquiries and where I'm getting my business. and I saw for the, for creative ID was a lot in food hospitality. So I thought, okay, let me lean into that. And for the, um, wedding station where I spoke to about six eight, uh, wedding planners and wedding planners typically give me the business.

And I asked them, I said, uh, if you think of, uh, an Ananya cards, what do you think of? And they were like, oh, cultural, multicultural, combining different cultures. Um, and they said, you, you would be our go-to person. You say you do florals, but I wouldn't think of you for florals. Or you say you do rustic or you do, um, garden parties, but I wouldn't think of you.

We kind of think of you for that cultural angle and we can't think of anyone else. I thought, well, I've gotta listen to, to that, and I kind of looked at the inquiries and I thought, okay. And I, I like that. So, um, let me kind of focus on that, which then actually helps when you do your social media as well, because you lean into the cultural rather than having one picture of a barn wedding, one picture of a summer something, and then, you know, a bar mitzvah or something, you know, it's, it's easier just to, to focus. So I founding niching actually, um, has helped me.

Matt: That's really interesting. And I, I'm kind of curious then, Vaishali, if Niching has helped you focus, what else do you do that helps you sort of maintain your energy and focus? Because you, you, you obviously you, you, you come across as quite a, an energetic kind of passionate person about what you do, which is lovely.

And I'm kind of curious, how do you, how do you develop or how do you maintain that, um, for your businesses?

Vaishali: So for, for me, as in how do I unwind?

Matt: Yeah, let's do that. .

Vaishali: Okay, so how do I unwind and relax? So for me, it's spas. For me it's, um, spa treatments, being in a spa that really relaxes me. But also I'm actually creative because my mind is kind of quietened. I actually get more creative ideas and, um, ideas for new products. So I, I, I like that. you think it'd be the opposite that the brain would, would, would, would quieten down, but actually the studies have shown that the brain's actually more active. Yeah. Uh, when you are relaxed. So as a creative, I do need some time out.

And for me it's, um, it's definitely spas and because I love traveling, I guess the win-win is, um, doing a spa in a, in an exotic location. So to combine my passion of travel and spa, um, that's the, the, the ultimate. But for me that, that just helps me be more creative, helps me just take some time away from my, from the screen. Um, that really kind of nourishes me. So Definitely, and I think it is something we, I mean, I love my work, love it. But we do need some time out as well.

Matt: Yeah, it's interesting how you talk about that because I, I'm like you, if I'm, if I can escape uh, the office, whether it's my, uh, office here at home, my little studio here at home, or whether it's the actual office in the warehouse where we distribute from, it used to be pre Covid that I would feel guilty if I just could've went out for a few hours up in the hills and just walked around or did something, um, because everybody else was back working and it, but I, I did come to the realization, it was after a conversation with a friend of mine.

He was like, no, man, you need to, you need to lean into those because actually when you are leading, you need the vision. You need to understand where it is you're going, and you, you need to get out there. And that's where you're gonna get that is in the hills, right? It's not gonna be sat behind a desk, nine to five answering everybody's questions when they come up to you.

And so, um, and so you're right, I, you, you have got to lean into this sort of, and for you at Spa Treatment Center, to be honest. I really like spa treatments as well. Um, it's not a fact. I, I advertise a lot. Um, little known fact about Matt. I used to do spa design, uh, in a former life. And so, um, I've been in a, in a fair few nice spas. That's sweet. Where's the, where's the nicest spa you've ever been to? What's your, like, favorite spa in the whole world? .

Vaishali: My favorite spa would be, um, Chiva Som in Hua Hin in Thailand. Mm-hmm, I'd say that's my, my favorite because it's just, it's exotic. If the treatments are great. Um, the scenery, it's, yeah, it's, it's my favorite spa.

Matt: I think that's probably high up on most people's lists, isn't it? It's um, it's uh, it's one of those places I've . Yeah, yeah. . It's, uh, everyone's going, oh, you need to put that on your bucket list. You probably should do actually. Um, so how often do you escape to the spa? I'm curious, is this like a, a weekly routine?

Vaishali: Not, no, not enough. Not enough. In fact, just at the weekend I was looking at, uh, spas in Dubai. Um, not enough. Um, maybe once a month. Mm-hmm. in once a month.

Matt: Yeah. Yeah. It's interesting, isn't it? I, I can't remember the last time I went to a Spa and that's a bit of a shame. I think it's probably when I traveled actually, uh, which was pre Covid and, um, but yeah, there is something about doing something completely different to what you normally do, which helps the creative processes and not feeling guilty about that. That I think I, I find quite helpful. Um, so spa treatments for you are a way to recharge, switch off, um, as a creative, although you don't really switch off it, just maybe tap a different part of your brain.

Um, travel then is another thing that you, you mentioned is, and if you can merge the two together, that's a beautiful thing. Uh, what else? What do you do on a day-to-day basis? Because travel and spa kind of seem, you know, big events every now and again unless you do traveling and spa every day, but I, I, you know, what do you, one, how, how do you do life on a day to day basis?

Vaishali: Um, what's something I've got really into, and you are like this, um, is podcasts. So I really, so I, I really got into podcasts, um, well, let's say last year. So I, I really enjoy that. Um, listening to podcasts. So I don't know, I mean, I don't switch off. I mean, I do, I am a workaholic. I do work many, many hours, but I love, I love work.

I think if I didn't have work, I dunno what I would do. So, um, I wanted to, I think probably two years I've been wanting to journal. I haven't yet. Mm-hmm. . And so I wanted to, to journal because there is so much going around in the, in my head that I'd like to kind of put down, which I haven't. So I need to, I need to start.

I think it's one of those that you just start, I think I've overthought it that what do I write? What are the prompts? Do I do this, do I do that? I think I just need to start with that. Um, so yeah, I'd say probably on a daily basis, I'm. I'm, you know, again, I want, I want to meditate. I want to journal, I want to do, I want to do these things that I have to be honest, they're not part of my, my daily routine.

Matt: Not part of your routine. No. Yes. Yet, yet. Well, and, and who knows. Right. And it's interesting, again, I, this is something that I find common to every entrepreneur that loves what they do, that there is not so much of a clear line between work and life. So you say, is there a, is there a good work life balance?

And you're like, well, I, I don't know because. I enjoy life and I enjoy work and I, I, there's not as clear a distinction when you love what you do, you, you tend to are quite happy to spend 14 hours a day doing it. Right. So, um, yeah, I mean, you mentioned podcasts. On this particular day for whatever reason, I have nine podcasts to record.

Um, and I, I just love it. I, I just love talking to people and meeting people and I, I really enjoy it. And it's gonna be like nine, 10 o'clock tonight before I'm finished. Um, and I'll be goose at the end of the day. There's no doubt it's not a typical podcasting day, I have to be honest with you. It's just quite unusual.

But there is something about doing something that you love that brings its own energy and its own reward. Uh, so I like that. The other thing that you mentioned, journaling. Yes. Just start. Just, just start. Um, I, I, I kind of have one of those relationships with Journaling where sometimes I'll journal every day, two, three times a day.

Oh, wow. And, and then sometimes I won't journal for, for months. Um, and then I, I, I ran through this, um, Challenge or challenges. I ran through this thing in my head, which, what, what do I do? Do I journal on paper or should I just journal into an app? Because then, you know, I can search the app and it's there and I can read it.

Whereas if I journal on paper, it's, I can't read it 10 minutes after I've written it. You know, that kind of thing. Uh, and I like you, I, I, I was definitely overthinking everything. And so now I'm like, I'm just gonna journal when I feel like it. Sometimes that'll be on an app. There's a great app called Day one if you want a good app tip for journaling.

Vaishali: Oh, great. Thank you.

Matt: Um, day one works and then sometimes I'll just write down stuff on paper and I'm fine either way, you know, and I, I've stopped prescribing it and then, um, but it is just great just to be able to get stuff from your head out on a piece of paper and just write it down. There's something quite magical about that.

So, uh, yeah, . So if Thailand has got the best spa in the world, where's the best place you've visited, uh, on your travels?

Vaishali: So, um, so places magical for me is, uh, Rajasthan in India. Mm-hmm. . So that's, um, kind of North India. And, um, the hotels are kind of converted palaces. Which I, well, you know, which are lovely, but the, for me, the magical experience was, um, on a camel, which I was really scared to do , um, but on a camel in the desert in Jaisalmer, which is in Rajasthan, and that was just as the sun was setting.

I mean, that was just, was just magical. So that was just, yeah. I love, I love that. So there's something, it is, because I'm interested in culture, I'm interested in patterns, I'm interested in colors. The senses, all of that. So Rajasthan really was a kind of explosion, I imagine. Yeah. Of all these senses coming together. So I love that.

Matt: Yeah. I would say for me, listening to you talk with the camels, we were in Cairo in Egypt a few years ago when the kids were younger. Um, and they did the camel ride thing, and we did the pyramid thing, which was great. But the, the magical moment for me was when we were on the Nile, we'd rented a boat.

There was three families. and we all knew each other very well. All very good friends. One family lived in, they still do live in Cairo. Um, and we two families went over to visit them and we got this boat. and as odd as it sounds, Vaishali, we ordered in pizza, right? So we got some boxes of pizza. We took them on this beautiful, uh, boat, a traditional sort of boat that you would think in your head.

Yes. You know, an Egyptian boat. Yes. And the guy was sailing it down the Nile as the sunset and you got the pyramids and we're eating pizza and the kids are having a good time and we're giving pizza to the guy that's, you know, we've rented the boat off and we're all laughing and joking and it's just something quite magical is about that.

Whoa. Uh, that, um, yeah, I just, I dunno why, but your conversation about camels reminded me of, of, of that event. Yeah. Amazing. So let's go back to your, um, family, uh, cuz I wanna go back to the past before we look to the future. Um, that sounds very philosophical, doesn't it? So you've come from a family that's built over a hundred hospitals, schools, and orphanages.

Um, you talked about sitting around the dinner table, um, uh, with your parents and you talked about making a difference in everything that you do. How do your personal values and family legacy then inform your work and overall sense of purpose in, in sort of all that you are doing?

Vaishali: So, yeah, so I, so kind of that, making that difference is, is like my mantra and I try to include that in everything I do. So whether it's, um, supporting my, my friends, my team, clients, you know, delivering the best that I can for them, it's really trying to, to su to support them, give back, make, make them have the best experience working with me, having the best experience as, as, as a friend, as friend. Um, that's something really important.

It's also about championing small businesses. I love to do that, whether it's using my platforms to share about what other businesses are doing that I'm inspired by. That's something, um, that's important to me. So yeah, it, it, it does, I mean, from, from day one, you know, given the 10% back to charity, that was kind of important to me.

Um, doing design work pro bono, however busy I am. But if I can use my skills to help a charity, because they're fundraising and they need, they need a, you know, a logo, they need some promotional materials, you know, I'm very happy to, to do that. I talked at my old school in Jersey, which is so scary, like 700 students, which you can imagine as an introvert, but sharing my, my entrepreneurial journey.

And I was really so, so nervous, but I just thought if I can give confidence to one person just to say that actually, you know, you can, if you do have an idea, you can, you know, set up, um, your, your business and if you make mistake, that's fine, you'll learn from them. But kind of sharing my entrepreneurial journey for me, that's, that's something really important.

So kind of every day I want to try and make a difference. It's not gonna be huge things every day. Of course not. But you know, whether it's small or large. But that's kind of governs how, how I am, that's kind of my ethos, um, how I kind of live, live my life.

Matt: So, yeah. Oh, it's a good, it's a great attitude to have as well, and I wish more of us would have it. Um, uh, and, and deeply challenging as well. Vaishali, I, so that sort of, , that's your legacy, I suppose, isn't it, from your, your parents. So how, where, what's, where's that gonna take you do you think, in the next three to five years? What does that look like for you?

Vaishali: So what I'd love to do, and I've got the name, but I haven't done it yet, um, Chai and conversation. So I want to ideally create a kind of community for like-minded entrepreneurs, business owners, um, where we can kind of talk about charity. So if somebody's working with a charity or supporting a charity, we can come together, they can share why they're working with that charity, what drew them to, to that charity, and just kind of have that conf, um, conversations mm-hmm.

and build a kind of community for like-minded people. Because I know people ask me like, oh, how do you choose a charity? If you're supporting a charity, how do you choose them? Because, you know, there's so many charities out there and like, how, you know, what's your thought process? So it's kind of sharing my knowledge, but also learning from others.

So creating that kind of community, um, I would love to, I would love to do that because for me, that kind of creating that positive impact, that legacy is, is important. So I'd love to kind of facilitate that, um, and kind of get, get some people together. But I haven't done it yet, but it's definitely, um, listen, I've got the name, but I hope I need to, uh, kinda, uh, um, get that set up.

Matt: And have you got the logo for it?

Vaishali: No, but I know somebody who could design it.

Matt: Every good business starts with a great logo, doesn't it's, um, that's quite right. We've now got to that time of the show. Vaishali. Some people are dreading this moment. A lot of people are excited by it. And I, yeah. Yeah. Grab your water. So this is the, uh, the question box. Uh, if you're listening to the show, this is where I have a, in my hand, a box of questions, about a hundred questions.

We're gonna randomly flick through the questions. When Vaishali says stop, that'll be the question I read out. So here we go. Are you ready?

Vaishali: Stop.

Matt: Okay, so today's question, uh, I'm just gonna write your name on the card so I, I remember who, who's done it. There we go. So today's question, drum roll. I really should get some music effects going on.

Vaishali: Definitely, definitely.

Matt: Are you good at taking criticism?

Vaishali: Ooh.

Matt: That's a great question.

Vaishali: Oh, it's a fantastic question. I think it depends who from. Sure. I think it depends who from, I think it's from, if it's from, uh, certain people, probably not. Um, yeah, I think if it's constructive, what I call constructive criticism, if it's about. Let's say, for example, me here being in Dubai, and somebody's gonna say, oh, actually, Vaishali the way you've got about it is totally wrong.

Mm-hmm. in Dubai you need to do it this way and not this way. Then I'd be grateful for that because, uh, that would, that would help me. Um, I guess the answer's yes and no. If it's, if, if I feel if it's constructive, then yes, if I feel it's just someone being mean. Probably not.

Matt: Probably not really. No. It's interesting, isn't it? Because as you were, as you were talking then, uh, about the person giving you constructive criticism, I'm like, where does a line, where's the line between criticism and advice? Do you know what I mean Exactly. It's just a really interesting one, isn't it? Where, what's the line between those two things? Um, and I think, I think you're right.

I think sometimes advice is one of those things that we do well with, depending on who gives it and at what time. Like my wife, she's a beau, my wife is the most amazing person on the planet. Love the bones of her. But there are definitely some times when she should not give me advice. , uh, and um, you know, I, there are definitely times when I'm open for, for advice from my wife.

More times I'm hopefully open to it than I'm, than I'm not. So, yeah, it's an interesting one. Do I take criticism well? I don't probably think I do, uh, if I'm honest with you, um, I like you. I think it would depend on what the outcome of that criticism was meant to be. Like, if it was trying to help me, is that advice?

I don't know. But if it was trying to help me, I think I'd be more open to it if it was just someone just having a go. I tend just to not listen if I'm honest with you. Uh, and just dismiss out of hand that person. But that's just, maybe that's just me. Maybe it's, I dunno

Vaishali: no, never. Because also, if you want the advice, great, but I've also had people where I haven't actually asked for the advice , and they, no one here like, okay, I didn't ask for the advice, so, yes, exactly. Yeah, great question.

Matt: Yeah, yeah. Fair enough. I suppose, uh, in another show, maybe we should think about, um, who's our worst critic, and I would dare say it's probably ourselves. Yes. Uh, but that's a bit too deep for this podcast. Yes,

So Vaishali, as you know, this show is sponsored by Aurion Media, which specializes in helping good folks like yourself set up and run their own podcast, Chai and conversation. Uh, so imagine, right that, um, your own podcast up and running, whatever the name may be, whatever the logo may look like. Out of all of the people who have impacted your life, who would be a guest on your show. And why?

Vaishali: Great question. So for me, it would have to be my grandfather. Mm-hmm. , because um, sadly he passed away before I was born. And it's his legacy that I'm trying to continue because it's under his name that the hospital, schools, orphanages and medical colleges, that they've all been built under his name cuz he started, um, the foundations of all this, um, charitable work.

So for me. It would, it would definitely be him. I'd love to ha, you know, talk to him about what, uh, you know, what his views were. Mm-hmm. , what got him, why he wanted to make a difference, because I know his values, it seems, you know, are shared by, by myself. You know, that there's a lot of, um, common values. So I'd love to kind of find out more, and also just to kind of tell him, um, without getting too emotional, but just to tell him that the effect of what he's done so many years ago, it's still having such a positive effect, and that is, you know, that's legacy and the, the kind of ripple effect. So, um, I'd love to kind of have him, uh, on my podcast.

Matt: That's amazing. How would your, um, grand if, if your grandfather was around now, how do you think he would feel about the, the continuation of it all?

Vaishali: I think he'd be really proud because it is, you know, I'm third generation, so I think he would, I'd like to think he, he'd be, he'd be really proud. Because we're all busy. We are all, you know, got a million things to do, but it's part of the way of life. And if it means I have to stay up till two o'clock in the morning, but I, cause I've made a commitment to do something for a charity to help them, then I, then I will do that.

So I'd like to think, um, he'd be proud.

Matt: That's amazing. That's fantastic. Listen, Vaishali, thank you so much for coming on the show. Uh, I have so many more questions, but you know, as is always the case with the podcast, time is always against me. If people wanna reach out to you, if they want to connect with you, see your site, see what you do, what's the best way to do that?

Vaishali: Perfect. So, on LinkedIn, um, you can find me at Vaishali Shah FCIM. So this is my, um, fellow chartered Institute of marketing. So Vaishali Shah FCIM and also on Instagram and Facebook. You can find me at creative id social.

Matt: Fantastic, creative id social and Vaishali Shah. What was it? It's FCIM.

Vaishali: FCIM, which is basically Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing.

Matt: Very posh, very, very posh. Like it, like it. Uh, we will of course add those links into the show notes, uh, which you can see hopefully on whatever podcast app you're listening to this on. If you go to the notes section or if you're watching on YouTube, they'll be in the description below. And of course they will be available on our website along with the transcript at

Ah, Vaishali. Honestly, an absolute legend. Loved hearing your story. Thank you for being super challenging and love what you're doing in the work of charity. Uh, and I love the fact you're just not afraid just to go and start again just because you can and you, and you just want that challenge. Uh, and I, I really love the fact you like spa. So that's super cool. So, uh, thank you for being on the show.

Vaishali: Thank you very much, Matt for, uh, asking me to, to be part of the show.

Matt: It's brilliant, brilliant, brilliant, brilliant. Another great conversation. Yes, huge thanks to Vaishali for joining me today. Also, a big shout out to today's show sponsor Aurion Media. If you are wondering if podcasting is a good marketing strategy for your business, do connect with them at

That's a u r i o n media dot com. We will, of course, link to them, uh, in the show notes as well. But do check them out. And of course, be sure to follow the Push to Be More podcast wherever you get your podcasts from because we have some more great conversations lined up and I don't want you to miss any of them.

And in case no one has told you yet today, you are awesome. Yes, you are created awesome. It's just a burden you have to bear. Vaishali has to bear it. I have to bear. You've gotta bear it too, right? Uh, Push To Be More is produced by Aurion Media. You can find our entire archive of episodes on your favorite podcast app.

The team that makes this show possible is Sadaf Beynon, Estella Robin and Tanya Hutsuliak. Uh, theme music was written by Josh Edmundson. And as I mentioned, if you would like to read the transcripts, or the show notes, head over to our website where as it would happen, you can also sign up for the newsletter should you so desire and why would you not?

That's it from me. That's it from Vaishali. Thank you so much for joining us. Have a fantastic week wherever you are. I will see you next time. Bye for now.