Often when seeing someone after a long time, we very casually tell them “Oh, you look fat!” or “You seem to have lost weight, are you on a diet?” We don’t realize that there could be a million things going on in someone’s life that are affecting their body too. Body positivity is something that is not just associated with our weight, but it advocates the acceptance of our bodies the way they are no matter how society perceives them. People have only recently started talking about body positivity.
Silkesha Kadam, the Founder of Worthy Bodies has been in the startup world for around 8 years and has tried her hand at everything from technology to sales and marketing to operations and that’s how she got interested in starting something of her own. Although she holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering, she wanted to get on the business side of things.
In a conversation with Team Sociobits, Silkesha Kadam shares with the team how she wants to build a positive community through her startup Worthy Bodies.
Team Sociobits: How did you come up with the idea of Worthy Bodies?
Silkesha Kadam: There are certain instances in your life that lead up to you doing something around it. You might not understand it at that point but someday it all makes sense and that’s what happened to me. I have been on the heavier side of the scale most of my life and with that comes the labels that people associate with you. They have suggestions for us in order to lose weight but nobody really understands where you are coming from and why you are of a certain body type or size.
So, I have been in the fitness-tech industry for around 7-8 years and during my journey, I met a lot of gym owners. When you see them with chiseled abs and the perfect set of biceps/triceps, and then you see yourself, you start developing a lot of insecurities and also feel that maybe you are not in the right place. And this is what happened to me. But when I grew up the ranks, started creating employee wellness programs for companies like Accenture, Adobe, etc., and worked with nutritionists and fitness trainers, I realized that health is not equal to losing weight. Being healthy involves a lot of things including your lifestyle that needs to be in check and that’s when I started getting more comfortable with myself. When I saw that I could do more squats than a person at the gym, I realized that I am healthy, I am in a good space and that is what matters the most.
Eventually, I started talking to people about my issues, I also participated in a lot of events, and stage shows, I tried belly dancing, and I really think any woman going through body image issues should try belly dancing. I also ended up winning the “Ms. Plus Size India” title in 2019 and I was highly elated. But, I faced the slack of being not fat enough for winning a plus-sized competition. And I started thinking that all of this was not about body positivity but about being a particular size.
I also ended up winning the “Ms. Plus Size India” title in 2019 and I was highly elated. But, I faced the slack of being not fat enough for winning a plus-sized competition. And I started thinking that all of this was not about body positivity but about being a particular size.
That’s when it hit; there are so many brands out there that don’t really know the meaning of body positivity. They just want to categorize people into plus-size, slim, etc. and this is not just really bad but it is also very sad. Then, I started researching if there are any brands out there that support body positivity and if there is any platform where I can find people for help or people who can help me through my journey.
I couldn’t find anything where I could find everything in one place but I met an image consultant and I got so intrigued that I am on the verge of becoming an image consultant. I also got in touch with a nutritionist who helped me understand that you can be healthy at any size and you don’t need to lose weight to be healthy. I also met a lingerie doctor and she made me realize that I was wearing the wrong size all my life and the moment I shifted, there was a huge difference! These are the kinds of before-and-after changes that people should be going through. That’s when I realized it was time to aggregate all these experts, and body-positive and beauty-positive products together and put them on one platform.
It is surprising to me that there is no platform promoting body positivity globally which is why I came up with Worthy Bodies and this is how it all began.
Team Sociobits: What are you exactly offering at Worthy Bodies?
Founder: At Worthy Bodies, our mission is to help women tackle body image issues and we do that with a threefold approach. The first is a twenty-one-day program that women can just participate in which we help them with three things: health at any size, fashion at any size, and confidence at any size. We have built a community around this online so that women can participate in it and get a platform where they can discuss and talk about their issues. When you are a part of such a beautiful community, you start feeling good about yourself.
The second approach is what we call an “inside-outside approach”; we have aggregated experts, doctors, image consultants, personal stylists, lingerie doctors, etc. This is for the “outside” part of our approach and for the “inside” part, we have a nutritionist that specifically takes care of eating disorders because eating disorders are highly under-explored and I think a lot of us have faced it too. I still do it and I am still struggling with it so I think that aspect of nutrition needs to be explored and we will be focusing on it through Worthy Bodies.
Also, a lot of women who are generally on the heavier side of the scale face health issues like thyroid, PCOD, etc., and when we visit a gynecologist, they start judging us which is why we don’t feel like going back to them. Here, the idea is to aggregate judgment-free experts including a gynecologist and put them together in one place. Lastly, we would like to offer beauty and body-positive products through our platform.
The idea is to aggregate judgment-free experts including a gynecologist and put them together in one place
Team Sociobits: Do you have competitors in the market?
Founder: We have certain indirect competitors who are present across these three aspects but there is nobody who is aggregating all this in one platform with the aim to tackle body image issues. In the products category, we have plus-sized clothing brands that could be our competitors but if you look closely, they do not offer fashionable clothing for women of certain sizes. However, there are up-and-coming designers who are catering to women of all sizes and I would like to give them exposure through Worthy Bodies.
There are also many big players in the market who provide experts that take care of women-related health issues but none of them have “body image issues” as the base for it. So, I would say there are competitors where women go to tackle their health issues but they are not really catering to the categories that are unexplored.
As far as the community part is concerned, there is only one community in the U.S. that is doing what we are doing with respect to building a community but they are more on the not-for-profit side so we will actually be looking to tie up with them. There are also many influencers that promote body positivity and we will be looking forward to working with them too.
Team Sociobits: How is your journey with Worthy Bodies going?
Founder: The journey has been great! It has only been three months and I would say that the journey has been tough as a solopreneur but because there are a lot of things involved like social media, marketing, operations, meeting, and onboarding experts, etc., now it’s time that I set up a team and put things into action.
Team Sociobits: Where do you see Worthy Bodies 5-7 years down the line?
Founder: As a platform, Worthy Bodies is on a mission to help women tackle body image issues. These issues prevail in women not just in India but globally. So, I would love to see Worthy Bodies become a global company and spread our wings across the globe. Also, during this three-month journey, when I was talking about my idea and sharing it with people, men have also come to me and told me that although they hardly talk about it, they also face similar issues. So, in the near future, we may also be looking to build an independent community for men because they also face body image issues and they may look unbothered by them but they are also affected by them.
So, in the near future, we may also be looking to build an independent community for men because they also face body image issues and they may look unbothered by them but they are also affected by them.
It is high time when we stop looking at picture-perfect models and unrealistic beauty standards that are placed on us and instead accept our bodies the way they are and thrive to live a healthy life and that’s what Worthy Bodies is trying to do.