Monday, August 15, 2016

A flower from the Rose Alley

Rose Alley has a small but motivated team of individuals who work tirelessly towards our goal to be the “go to” magazine for game changing content. Speaking about their story is Vidhi R Chandra.

Let's start with your story. Could you talk about your work, education and motivations to do the work that you're doing?

My story is still work in progress but it’s been interesting so far. My name is Vidhi R Chandra and I was born to a Gujarati family and raised in North India. I am the annoying younger sister to my brother and enjoy painting, singing, writing and reading. I started working in outsourcing (BPOs) when I was 22 due to personal constraints and have been in the industry for over 10 years.

However, I always felt there was a missing link and started blogging in 2005 about women’s issues in India. This topic is close to my heart as I have witnessed violence against women. I was also raised by a single parent and in our house, there were no gender based roles – like cooking for girls and sports for boys. My own upbringing and experience has been the cornerstone of my feminism.

What is Rose Alley all about? When and how did it all begin?

Rose Alley is an online Asian women’s magazine, which talks about living wisely and healthily, and is founded in 2015. Leslie Chen (Editor & Founder based in New York) thought of a magazine for pan Asian women community as there is little representation of Asian Women aside from some stereotypes we see around us.  Leslie reached out to me after reading my personal blogs online and after a very inspiring discussion, I decided to join forces and write for the magazine. It’s a lot of work and sleepless nights but I couldn’t be happier and I feel the same is true for the team. We are an extended family spread across continents.

Could you talk a bit about the work that you do at Rose Alley? What are some of your key activities?

I am a cofounder at Rose Alley magazine along with Leslie Chen, Qin Qin and Frank Yan.  I also write under a penname for our magazine. Aside from this, I am also involved in developing the content, vision, theme, and focus of the magazine along with Leslie, and build a network of amazing writers to bring inspiring stories and articles each month.

What are your challenges in the work that you do? How do you overcome them?

Well I have a full time job and also work with Rose Alley and also pursuing a course in journalism– so time is of critical importance and managing that can be tricky.  But, more than that we face the challenge of bringing meaningful content for audience. Rose Watch is one critical piece where we analyze the diversity and inclusion programs at large US firms. Another tricky situation we face is building content, which people will want to discuss and interact with. Our March content was strongly focused on Domestic violence to mark international women’s day, it’s always a difficult topic for people to discuss, and many times these issues are avoided and lost in a sea of statistics.

What inspires you to keep going?

To be able to write about issues close to my heart and bring real discussion in my own small way keeps me inspired. In addition, to work with the wonderful team on Rose Alley and navigating through our cultures to find so many similarities is an adventure. My inspiration doesn’t end here because through our campaign to end domestic violence I have been fortunate enough to collaborate with Dr. Henriette Jansen of UNFPA -leading researcher on domestic violence and sexual violence. Her Interview brought about mixed emotions, as the insights are raw and true. Also we got support from Casar Jacobson (Miss Canada 2013), Yael Markovich (Miss International Israel 2012), Ashpal Bhogal, Safecity and Sayfty team.  It is also an honour to feature multitalented personalities like Kimberly Kong & Haisu Tian and we are looking forward to some more mind-blowing collaborations in the future.

Would you like to share any anecdotes of success from your work so far?
There is always something funny going on- for instance at times due to timezone difference we have to conduct a call or interview at very late night India time or really early India time. In such instances I literally fall out of bed in my PJ’s and have kept the phone/laptop elevated  or faked network issues so the person on skype doesn’t feel I am underdressed for the occasion.  I should get a wrinkle free pantsuit and sleep in those for such occasions J

What do you envisage for the future of your work? 

I have grand dreams of Rose Alley’s future and hope that we grow to be a cutting edge magazine with an office space. Women’s magazines mostly are more of an international flavor and we need to bring the focus back to the rich cultural diversity of Asia and its strong and amazing women. I shall in the meantime continue to read, write, study, work and squeeze in some painting or learning an instrument and travel if I have the time.

Rose Alley is on Twitter (@rose_alley) and Facebook ( and have also curated a WeChat subscription account, which is aimed at Chinese Audience who are WeChats biggest users.