“Put your energy in creating products that would inspire others.”Starting up in one’s own country could often be so difficult for many entrepreneurs. What good could someone then do with no knowledge of the native language in a new country where people barely understand any English? It is only but natural that Shweta Jain Chopra landed in a vegetable market when all she wanted was some fabric fusing. Well if that sounded confusing then you would be surprised to find that Shweta has successfully managed to break out of that clutter and confusion to run her homemade accessories brand, SJC Designs from Seoul, Korea. A quirky, happy, colourful accessories brand based out of Seoul, Korea, SJC Design offers people of all age groups with customized homemade lifestyle products and accessories.
“When I came to Seoul, I moved into my very first home with my husband. It was the start of a new life, and I really wanted to do up my new home. I looked all around for items that would add that touch to my home, but the products I found either didn’t fit my taste and style or my budget. So I started making my own products,” says Shweta Jain Chopra, Founder, SJC Designs explaining how she started up.Mentored by Karim Rashid in New York, Shweta is also currently the Design Head of a luxury silverware brand in India called Ravissant. Working offshore for Ravissant, she also manages her startup from Seoul. Believing that the best way to promote any work is by naming the brand after the designer, Shweta has named her company, SJC Designs – (Shweta Jain Chopra Designs). With ‘designing from the heart’ and focus on ‘made’ and not ‘manufactured’, her USPs, she designs for herself and her home without consulting the latest trends or forecasts in the market. Customer has been the king for years now and the emphasis is becoming more pronounced as entrepreneurs recognize this and cater to customized requests and designs that are more personal than generic.
With language as a huge barrier to build a good team, SJC Designs is currently managed by Shweta in its entirety right from sourcing, designing, making, packaging and shipping. “There were challenges that designers and brands starting in their home country would never dream of facing! It was all very intimidating, and with low margins and high shipping costs, I was struggling. But that journey only brought out the best in me and the brand. And after the invitation to represent India in the ‘Seoul Design Fair 2010’, I realized it was all well worth it. Now the design language speaks for itself, and the journey is only getting smoother,” says Shweta speaking about her hurdles as an entrepreneur.
Like many entrepreneurs, SJC Designs also places its trust on ‘word of mouth’ marketing without splurging any money on promoting the brand. Presently they also promote certain collections through their facebook page apart from the marketing tools that their retailers employ to promote the products.
When asked about her advice to her fellow entrepreneurs trying to build any product with great design, Shweta says, “When you build your brand, always follow your instincts and heart. Put your energy in creating products that would inspire others. And yes, roll up your sleeves, you’re going to have some tough times, but the key is to keep going on, seeking fresher ideas, and believing in yourself.”
Lifestyle accessories or technology, we are in fast changing times that’s quick to decide what’s in and what’s out. Freshness in design is crucial to any good product that is hoping to make it big in the market today. Design being the meeting point of any brand’s identity and its customers’ expectations, product design is more and more being viewed as a crucial determinant for the success of any product. Reason enough, designers with a vision are becoming invaluable resource across the globe. We are definitely in an era that brings together art (design) and science to work in unison to change the way we perceive experiences.