Entrepreneurship Interview Series #2

Our Entrepreneurship Interview Series continues this week with Ramya Ragupahi MBA’14D, owner and founder of Oh My Goodness! – the region’s only gluten-free certified food company. Read what inspired her to establish the business, the most enjoyable and challenging moments, and advice for alumni also thinking about starting their own company.

Name of your company and year it was established: Oh My Goodness! , April 2017

Key takeaways after graduating from INSEAD: Community is everything. When you’re surrounded, inspired and seeking out individuals who are buzzing at that same level as you, it’s all you need to make magic happen.

What motivated you to establish this business? You know what they say: “if you want something done right, you gotta do it yourself!” I was trying to solve my own problem of not being able to find anything good to eat with all my newly discovered food allergies and sensitivities.

What are the most fun and difficult things about your business? The most fun part is meeting other people who are into the same kind of food and love the goodness of food as much as you do. Every single day is also different which keeps me engaged and always on my toes! The difficult part is being responsible for others. Everything changes once you hire people to work for you, which makes finance management so critical as salaries and rent make up the bulk of our expenses.

Any advice for alumni thinking of starting a similar business? Please stop the cash burn that’s so prevalent in the startup world – some of us could really do with that cash! Hahaha. Your starting point isn’t necessarily the fancy co-working space and be prepared to not take a salary – especially not your post-MBA salary – for a while.

Interesting / fun fact about yourself: If I were re-born and could choose to be anything I wanted to be, I’d be a dancer.

Knowing what you know now, is there anything you would have done differently when you first started out? I may have thought a bit more seriously about starting a business while $150k in debt…hahaha

How are you preparing for recovery after the pandemic? Preparing? Is that a thing? Hahaha. This pandemic is so unpredictable with its twists and turns I’m not sure anyone can really prepare prepare for it in any real way. All you have to do is keep breathing and flow, I think.

Book you’d recommend? Phil Knight’s Shoe Dog is a must for entrepreneurs starting a business out of pure (almost insane) passion and with no initial “seed funding” or “angel investment” to speak of (like me!).

What is your leadership style? Whatever the opposite of micromanagement is.

What keeps you up at night? “Will I make rent and salaries this month?”

Predictions on work trends post Covid: Possibly a fervour for wanting to connect as humans more at the workplace. Well, that’s what I hope! Ha!

Future plans:

  • For the company: to grow it to a point where it makes sense to handover to someone who can turn it into what it can truly be, with our fullest potential realised.
  • For me: spending a year in France in 2024 while the company runs itself and I watch from afar in pride.

One thing you’ve yet to cross off on your bucket list:

  • For the company: exporting our first container.
  • For me: a holiday in the Galapagos islands or an Alaskan cruise!

** Ramya is offering all alumni based in Singapore a special discount of 10% off all collections on Oh My Goodness! & an additional 5% discount off corporate orders. Please contact her directly for more details.

Check out our new Members Business Directory for more business owned and managed by IAA SG members.