The Women’s Enterprise Ambassador’s project is one of the actions from the Scottish Framework and Action Plan for Women’s Enterprise launched in March 2014. The projects feature stories of the most successful female entrepreneurs in Scotland, and seeks to inspire, motivate, engage and connect with women-led start-up and growth businesses
Before arriving on Tayside to study for a PhD in the science of human movement, Dr Bharti Rajput had never even heard of Dundee, let alone know where it was on the map. But the final leg of a lifelong journey which brought Bharti to the city of discovery via Nairobi and London, took her over the Tay on a train, and put a spring in her step.
Bharti’s Sole Body Soul business is a firmly footed fixture in Dundee now, with its footcare and beauty services rooted in her Indian heritage holistic approach. With a thriving client list and a growing reputation for delivering hundreds and hundreds of happy feet, Bharti’s business makes clients feel fab!
But when Bharti first set eyes on the silvery Tay, it just added to her inbuilt sense of adventure and ambition. Fitting feelings for a woman with passion. Passion not just for feet, but for all of your soul.
In 2004 business began from small beginnings and not much in the way of a plan. But the enterprise universe smiled upon Bharti when a chance encounter provided her with podiatry equipment and a room to work in. So alongside her studies, Bharti started to treat Tayside feet as a part-time sole trader. Marketing consisted of a single laminated sign stuck up in the foyer. But footsore clients started arriving, and word about Bharti’s skills with soles soon spread around town.
It was those first clients who helped her realise that academic life wasn’t the right path, and cemented in her commitment to links between feet and whole body, so Bharti elevated her business ambitions. Not satisfied to be known for cracked heel care and toenail clipping alone, she pledged to make her mark with cutting edge podiatry which connects body, mind and sole.
Her Broughty Ferry Road clinic was founded in 2011, and has since been transformed into a haven for foot healthcare and beauty. With Sole Body Soul, Bharti has made a happy marriage between the two sectors. She and her specialist team deliver advanced diagnostic and treatment techniques to get to the source of painful and problematic feet, while her podiatrist supervised mani:pedi lounge makes clients look and feel fantastic. Indeed Dr. B’s innovative multi-discipline approach to healthy, happy and beautiful feet is a first for Scotland.
The good doctor’s entrepreneurial approach is ambitious and focussed. Sole Body Soul was a limited company right from the start, and Bharti now has a growing team of staff on her books. Getting the right people to share her standards and ethos in enterprise is key to Bharti’s success, and she does expect the extra mile from all of her team. Her own personal ambition remains high and she continues her studies to keep up with developments in modern podiatry.
Dr. B’s a skilled plate spinner, who’s been able to adapt her business plan as and when needed. The many elements of running a business, especially now she’s got staff, use all of her skills, so it’s no coincidence that she identifies closely with the multi-armed Indian devi goddess Saraswati.
Linking soles to soul is far from Bharti’s only holistic approach to life. She closely connects feelings with food, and has a burning passion for spices. And nothing’s beyond this vibrant woman’s scope, so don’t be too surprised if the Doctor joins the bestseller lists when she publishes her debut cookbook “Curry Sutra”.
“Women in business have different needs. When you are in business, it doesn’t mean that your family doesn’t need fed or the house chores suddenly disappear.
I often think the mutiple roles of women in business can be likened to the multi-armed goddesses of ancient India. In India, these goddesses are considered to have ‘shakti’ which translates in Sanskrit to a divine inner power – and I believe this is essential to drive your business vision! It is great to see this philosophy being recognised and formalised as a Framework by WES.”
Follow Bharti @solebodysoul