Shalima Motial is the Founder & CEO of Dream Catchers Vision Pte Ltd, an online Talent Showcase forum launched in 2011 to discover and promote Performing artists. It’s a Singapore headquartered company with global ambitions. Other than this she is a passionate actor and has been a part of many stage productions, short films, commercials as actor/emcee, a model for brands too. She started her journey as a Fashion Co-ordinator, after that she worked as a “Cabin Crew” with two Airlines. Today we got a chance to interview her, let’s know more about her journey, how she became an actor and *her journey as an Entrepreneur *
We hope this can inspire you to become a successful person too! It is worth listening to a successful entrepreneur or to people who share their success stories? We can significantly learn many things from the experiences of them, by listening to their story.
Excerpts from our exclusive interview with her:
Q1) Tell us a little bit about your start-up and your journey, please;
Hi, I am Shalima Motial. I am the Founder & CEO of Dream Catchers Vision Pte Ltd, an events company based in Singapore. Dream Catchers is in its tenth year. As the name suggests, our Events company has caught the dreams of many people through its various niche events and has created a solid platform for artists across age groups and nationalities. Dream Catchers has co-produced many events with prominent channels like Zee TV which were aired to a huge diaspora of millions. We have organized 35 nationwide contests and scores of onstage events both competitive and non-competitive. In recent years, the company has ventured into Theatre Productions and Short Films production.
Q2) How did the idea for your business/startup come about?
I moved to Singapore 17 years back and felt the need for a platform for artists to showcase their singing, acting, dancing talents. That is how the idea came about. I started Dream Catchers with a desire to serve as a steppingstone to help performing artists in their journey to discovery. This evolved along the way to create platforms aimed at supporting and celebrating women empowerment and entrepreneurs. So, platforms such as Runway Mom, Runway Lovers, and iVenture came about.
Q3) What was your key driving force to become an entrepreneur?
I wanted to work towards my own dreams and goals, my own business idea. The flexibility and choice it gave me in terms of a work-life balance was a big draw too.
Q4) How did you come up with the name for your business/startup?
I believe in the power of prayers; I wanted a very catchy name that would cover the essence of what I was trying to achieve through this platform. As I prayed for guidance, this name just popped into my head.
Q5) What service(s) or product(s) do you offer/manufacture?
I focus on “niche” events.
We’ve provided a platform for performing Artists across age groups through platforms such as Runway Talent Hunt and our various online events. We collaborated with a lot of other event companies in Singapore to run nationwide Talent Hunts for artists like Farhan Akhtar, Salim Sulaiman, Harshdeep Kaur, Javed Ali, etc. Dream Catchers has co-produced many events with prominent channels like Zee TV which were covered on TV to a huge diaspora of audience. We hosted a contest for Singapore that aired on MTV Asia Pacific, Middle East, Canada, and the Americas.
Another niche area we are in focuses on women empowerment. Runway Mom and Runway Lovers was my brainchild. We ran 5 successful seasons. It was a platform for women to walk the fashion ramp with their children, husband, family, or even by themselves and make lifetime memories. This was a non-competitive event and quite a few of the models who walked had never been on the ramp before. They got a chance to come on TV through the platform as most of our seasons were either covered by Colors TV or Zee TV.
In collaboration with Zee TV, we co-produced IVenture. This was a platform for Entrepreneurs in Singapore.
In recent years, we created “Timeless Tales”, a Theatre Production aimed at families to watch age-old timeless stories retold to modern settings. Our audience members were from ages 8-80 yrs old. Our cast and crew were made of 16 Nationalities.
More recently, during lockdown we’ve focused on producing Short Films.
Q6) Why should people choose your product/services?
People choose our services as we are sincere about our commitments and we deliver what we promise. We don’t hesitate in going out of our way and make it worth their time and money invested in our projects. Be it, participants or sponsors, we work very hard and diligently to deliver on our promises. Most of all our events are fun. It comes through. Our audience and our sponsors all enjoy it.
Q7) How do you market your business, and which tactics have been most successful?
We market our events through social media. With time, we have built a brand name and word of mouth also works well for our events. Singapore is a very connected market and so that helps in spreading the word about the upcoming events.
Q8) What risks are you facing? Did pandemic (COVID 19) affected your business? if yes how?
The Singapore Govt has done a fabulous job of controlling the Covid-19 situation here. As a part of these measures gatherings above 5 are not allowed. So all entertainment events are on a pause. We have diversified into short films. As an entrepreneur, one has to keep evolving and reinventing business strategies. Our short films are aimed at providing some relief during these difficult times, and a couple of them were aimed at important sensitive topics like dealing with Depression and Domestic violence.
Q9) Have you considered any alliance/partnership/funding?
Yes, we work a lot with other companies as mentioned earlier, we have partnered with Zee Tv, MTV India, companies like Teamwork Productions, De Ideaz, etc. Collaborations always help to grow your business. As they say, 2 heads are better than 1
Q10) What are your responsibilities as the business owner?
The responsibilities are huge and towards a lot of people, to begin with, you are accountable to your team, to the sponsors aboard, to the participants, to audiences. When things go right, it’s a team effort, when things go wrong, you have to bear the responsibility as the Founder & CEO ?. That being said, I love what we’ve accomplished in the last ten years.
Q11) How many hours a day do you work on average & can you describe/outline your typical day?
During events and especially when we are a month away from the main event, it’s almost 12-14 hours a day. Otherwise, it’s usually about 8-10 hours since there are a lot of meetings, planning, and reaching out to the sponsors, reaching out to the perfect target audience. Promoting the event but since I am so passionate about what I do, it doesn’t seem like work. I enjoy every bit of it. At the same time, as a business owner, you also have the flexibility of planning your off days or off-hours.
Q12) What is your greatest fear, and how do you manage fear?
There are two fears, one is disappointing the audience or people involved, so we work doubly hard on ensuring things are in place, everyone is made to feel special and important. Authentically. The second is that things could go wrong at the last minute since there are so many aspects involved in organizing an event. There is so much dependency on other companies and people for our work, it’s always nerve-wracking till it’s all arrived and in place. Good planning and planning for backup always helps.
Q13) What comes first for you money or emotions?
For me it’s always emotions first, when you have the right intention, when you have the other person’s interest in the heart before yours, money follows. Though one needs to eventually know how to balance both well as businesses don’t run only on emotions. But for me, God has always opened doors. So for me what has always worked is right intention and immense hard work
Q14) Tell us about your early life.
I felt like a “Jack of All Trades, Master of None” till I came upon the idea of starting Dream Catchers.
I started my journey as a Fashion Co-ordinator with Vogue Setters right after I finished my Fashion Designing. Soon after I joined Skyline NEPC (Formerly known as Damania) Airlines as a “Cabin Crew” and flew with them for 2 years and then Archana Airways for a year and a half. Loved the experience, it was also my first time away from home, living independently, paying my rent and bills just at the age of 21 yrs. I wanted to join the Indian Air Force so I also did my Post Graduation from Annamalai University.
After the flying experience, I joined Perfect Relations and learned a lot about handling Media Relations for big clients like “Virgin Records”, did album release tours with Alisha Chinai for her album “Dil ki Raani”. Learned a lot about writing press releases, doing the media rounds, creating publicity for clients. Soon after this experience, I got the opportunity to start a “Placement Company” in partnership with someone, he was only going to give me office space, the rest of the work was in my hand, this was a huge learning process for me, my first entrepreneurial venture. I named the company “Stepping Stones” and dived into this field without any prior experience in it, just coz I believed in “No Harm Trying” slogan for my life. I ran the business successfully for 3 and a half years and then moved to Singapore. Meanwhile, I finished my Masters’s degree in English Literature, also did Business Management from NACOLAM.
In Singapore after a couple of years of enjoying the “Expat Life”, the Entrepreneur in me said, gotta do something, so since I had a Fashion Designing background, started my company called “Shie Ventures”, by the way, Shie is also my pet name. Ran that successfully for 3 and a half years and then I realized everyone is jumping into this field, so I closed that
Q15) How has being an entrepreneur affected your family life?
It’s a lot of long working hours, a lot of hard work but my family is supportive and the fact that they are interested in Performing Arts helps a lot. They are very proud of my achievements.
Q16) Hobbies or other activities (Acting/dance/speaker/trainer/singer etc.) and any achievements in that field
I am a passionate actor and have been a part of many stage productions, short films, commercials as actor/emcee, a model for brands too. A smile on anyone’s face because of me is always my biggest achievement. I am a people’s person and draw my energy from being around happy, positive, like-minded people. Having said that, I am fortunate enough to have also received recognition as Most Promising Entrepreneur from Singapore Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry(SICCI), Top 20 Entrepreneurs in Singapore with Zee Tv’s She Ventures, Woman Leadership Award, and Pioneering Woman Leadership Award by CMO Asia.
Have been interviewed at a lot of platforms, covered on both print media, blogs, and digital media. These are all the happy by-products of the hard work one puts in as an Entrepreneur.
Q17) What piece of advice would you give to college graduates who want to become entrepreneurs??
You should align your passion with your job in order to achieve self-actualisation and help others achieve the same.
Please pursue a field that you are passionate about, then your life will seem easy and you’ll not feel stressed about going to work, you’ll look forward to it.
As an Entrepreneur, I was also not making money, one has to take failure also in your stride and learn from it and move on. Evolve your idea, don’t be married to the initial idea you started out with, in case that’s not working, be ready to evolve.
There should always be a rhythm to life. The first and last 20-30 minutes of the day should be spent internalizing, practicing gratitude, off screens, mixing work with joy, and feeling alive.
Our health is of utmost importance to take care of yourself, give yourself a priority as you have to live with yourself the longest. When you are not hard on yourself that’s when you’ll enjoy everything you are doing in life the most. It’ll make “starting your career” feel less intimidating and more humanistic. Meditate, do yoga, exercise, seek God, don’t think these are the things for when I am old, no one knows how long each of us has on this Earth. Do important things TODAY!
Easy Busy- feeling of effortlessness, combination of contributing, learning and fun
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