Brunch

Not your conventional dream team

By Bernadine Rodrigo

“It all began when someone sent a text on a mums’ WhatsApp group inquiring where to get a cake made,” recalled Dream Team Founder Farizeh Delgoda. Dream Team is somewhat of a support group, an empowerment programme, and certainly a platform for talented women to get better opportunities all rolled into one.

“So many lovely options presented themselves. It made me realise there are a lot of talented mums with small home businesses. So I wondered, wouldn’t it be great to have a group of us inspiring ladies with the same goals supporting each other?”

So, using that very same group, she asked for those who conducted small businesses at home – all those who were mums just doing their own little thing at home – to contact her. What she envisioned was an unstoppable group of women, helping each other through not just day-to-day tasks but in the competitive field of commerce, and not just receiving aid but also giving aid.

“I had no idea how or when, but I knew that together, we would find solutions to our issues,” she said. “I had such a positive response!”

Many of these ladies had been feeling isolated and disconnected whilst carrying out their businesses all alone in the traditional way with small and slow orders – whether just starting or already well known and established. Farizeh said she saw that they were all full of passion and had a desire for excellence, and that all they required was a method to get into the mainstream – which, for small home businesses, is a very difficult task when compared to promotions, etc. by big businesses.

Farizeh hoped that the creation of the Dream Team would help them; from knowing where to exhibit their work to sourcing their materials to promoting their products to increasing their client base, and pretty much anything else that was needed.

Soon after she created of the Dream Team on 25 October 2019, she began to see her hopes and efforts actually coming to fruition. “The possibilities were endless. Women helping women was the best feeling,” she rejoiced.

On 30 October 2019, the Dream Team held their first meeting at Farizeh’s home. In just five days, 10 mums were part of the team and she had invited them to discuss their strategies and tasks. After that day, they were not simply a group of women but a group of strong, talented, and capable businesswomen.

Speaking to The Sunday Morning Brunch, Farizeh recalled the moment with bedazzlement: “From that moment, the Dream Team took on a life of its own. The robust energy in the room took over. And I became a spectator in awe of the women who surrounded me. They were daring, taking risk, and learning, whilst doing it all raising little kids too!”

The Dream Team was now in session, and was proving to be a platform where all these creative ladies could brainstorm ideas, discuss challenges, and come up with viable solutions. They then decided to have a larger scale, more organised meeting. This meeting was only supposed to go on for two hours but due to the sheer overwhelming talent in the room, the meeting ended up going on for much longer.

Farizeh’s friend Hafsa Aroosi (a physical and mental fitness instructor for mothers and female minority groups), whom Farizeh refers to as her “rock” had organised a guest speaker: Charini Suriyage of Charini, her designer wear brand. The Dream Team was very grateful to Charini for “generously addressing our questions. She advised and inspired and it was such a pleasure to hear her words of wisdom”.

The next meeting was hosted by Alessandra Rocchi from Il Gelato. Hafsa, once again with her marketing and event management background and always ever ready to help, invited another guest speaker, marketer IFS Solutions Asia Pacific Marketing Manager (ASEAN) Nimanthie Ariyasinghe. “She helped us understand how to market our products. And we saw many new faces. I suggested we do our own pop-up. The response was fast and with Alessandra’s fabulous venue on offer at Il Caffe in Colombo City Centre (CCC), the group made it happen within the week.”

The success of this pop-up led them to a second one, which they had on 22 December at Seed Cafe in Prana Lounge. Nishendri Wariyapola, whose brainchild is Seed Cafe and Grind Café – also one of Farizeh’s absolute favourites – hosted it and gave them a chance to introduce themselves to and meet the customers face to face.

“Doing it with the group was so much fun. We shared tables and helped each other. It felt like a party with laughter and chatter,” Farizeh recalled.

Presently, the Dream Team consists of supportive and active members who contribute and are looking to learn and grow. Their intention behind joining the group is to get and give help to other women. “Support” is their magic word.

“I cannot tell you how happy we felt after our meetings,” Farizeh said. “Being in a room full of like-minded people, we felt energised, excited, at ease, and positive. To hear your own issues mentioned by another home businesswoman made you feel understood. It made you feel you are not alone. A problem shared is a problem halved. The energy of the women in Dream Team really propelled each other forward.”

Before they knew it, more and more members had begun joining. With help from the core team, Fazireh was able to setup their presence on the internet on a large business scale. “Alma from Sabores helped with administration, Rishada from Suds & Co., an amazing photographer helped with setting up Instagram, and Aysha from A Drop of Treacle and Wild Bees created the Facebook page. How lucky am I!”

Fazireh is now thrilled at how large the Dream Team is. She said: “Let’s see if I can remember it all! Come with me! Here we go! Today, we have a group of bakers with savoury and sweet items on the menu to tempt all.

On 28 March, the Dream Team will be doing their first-ever night extravaganza at a Secret Garden in Colombo 7. Nalaka Edirisinghe‘s Magic Mansion will be hosting them and the ladies believe the place will be a sight to behold and a treat for the eyes. It will begin at 5.30 p.m. and go on till 10.30 p.m.
“Kids’ fun such as play groups, kids books written by our members, and a kids’ reading corner; all the party decor your heart desires; unique recycled teething products, handmade kids’ costumes, and 100% safe organic food for babies; organic honey and treacle that will keep you healthy and happy; jewellers to glam you ladies for either the day or night; recycled products that make you feel you did good by this Earth; locally sourced gift boxes that support the endless Sri Lankan talent; plants and cactus decor that bring a breath of fresh air to your urban life; convertible tuks for a happy ride; swim wear, candles, soaps, handmade skincare for the beach, and everywhere else. There is beautiful art and photography on offer; food that ranges from mouth-watering Sri Lankan to Mexican and Italian cuisine. Mamma mia!”

As Farizeh puts it, the Dream Team likes to give back. Every month, for a year, the dream team donates a home-baked cake to a deserving person. They personally go with their kids and sing happy birthday, taking balloons with them to celebrate the joy of a special person who will never otherwise receive such joy. Another monthly venture they started this year is sharing their skills free of charge.

Anyone is invited to take part in the Dream Team experience. They are willing to teach you how to make fondant flowers to decorate your cake or Mexican tortillas or your own soap or homemade play dough for your kids and absolutely anything else they are capable of.

Each demonstration will be personal and unique. “We want you to have fun with us and learn a new skill that makes you feel good,” they said. Anyone can be updated by simply following them on Instagram.

“We are an experience that’s worth visiting on 28 March at the Magic Mansion,” they said. “It’s not just about buying products; meet the team, spin the wheel, and win great prizes. It could be you!
“Let the kids enjoy a bouncy; the magician will astound you; you might want your future read. The food on offer promises to be absolutely delicious. We have lots of other treats in store too. We would love to get to know you and welcome you. Taste, smell, listen, see, and feel the joy that is the Dream Team.”