It’s Never Too Late To Pursue Your Dreams: One Professional Woman’s Story of Building a Successful Startup in Her 50’s

By Seema Shenoy, Founder & CEO of Chef Avenue

As us women know, vulnerability can be scary as hell. It’s easy to admire strong women for their accomplishments. But there’s a backstage to every successful production, and successful women aren’t immune to the fear of uncertainty. 

I had experienced my own moments of vulnerability in the past, building my previous software company from scratch. But now, after the age of 50, I was going to create a new cookware company primed only with a passion for cooking and a desire to meld culinary art with scientific thinking.

My dream has always been to own a company that designs the kind of cookware that influences people to cook at home and allows them to experience the joy and happiness that comes with using our cookware. Chef Avenue would be the company through which I would set out to achieve this.

I was also entirely aware that to be successful, I would have to commit to time-consuming research that would help me not only understand the nuances of the cookware industry, but also how to market my brand to the professional women who needed it most. I knew professional women like myself are always multi-tasking and searching for innovations to help them save time, energy, and live a more vibrant lifestyle.    

I crafted a vision of a multifunctional, eco-friendly cookware that would eliminate steps in the cooking process. It was a way for professional women to use the same piece of cookware for prepping, cooking, eating from, storing, and reheating.

That cookware would become Chef Avenue’s first product: the Omnipan™.

I worked tirelessly researching a variety of product designs and a wide array of materials that had the proper structure for the makeup of the Omnipan. I had to learn about industrial design in order to design a perfectly modular set of pans that nestle inside one another, saving storage space in the kitchen. I created a world-class, FDA-approved product that could withstand high oven temperatures up to 450 °F and could go from the refrigerator to the oven to the freezer to the microwave with ease and ultimately be cleaned in the dishwasher. I wrote a cookbook that has recipes specifically created for the Omnipan. I had to learn photography to be able to take great pictures of the food for the cookbook.

Still, there was more to be done. To test the market’s interest in the Omnipan, I posted the project on the popular crowdfunding website, Kickstarter, where it was wildly successful. We achieved 2,800% of our original funding goal within 1 month in an environment where only 38% of the posted projects even reach their goal. This incredible response proved to me that I had the solution that professional women wanted in modern cookware.

I knew that if I wanted to succeed, I needed to understand my target audience, especially where professional women wanted help in their lives. The extensive industry research I had done in the beginning, along with my understanding of what it takes for new companies to succeed in this modern age, is rapidly yielding positive results. 

I’ve gained people’s support in over 68 different countries worldwide and am becoming more connected with individuals who share my own vision. By accepting the worthiness of my passion and courting honesty from those who support me, Chef Avenue is staged beautifully for its next run. 

To pre-order, or if you’re only interested in learning more about the Omnipan, you can visit the Omnipan on Indiegogo.