"Go out, meet people, network and never ever fear from taking risks!" - Minnat Doshee, Founder, XOXO Accessories
Apart from being a student entrepreneur, Minnat Doshee, Founder, XOXO Accessories is also a woman entrepreneur. We at StudentStory.in decided to chat up with her to find out more about her starting up experience.Describe XOXO Accessories in brief. What is the story behind the name?
XOXO Accessories aims at being the ultimate destination for all fashion accessory shopping. With just few clicks customers can get the accessory of their choice home delivered anywhere in India.
When I wanted to start up something of my own, I was very sure of one thing. I wanted it to be synonymous with fashion and style. So, I decided on XOXO which means hugs and kisses, widely popularized by the TV series Gossip Girl. Also, it would be hard to find a girl who doesn’t know what XOXO means.
What prompted you to start-up and when did you start up?
It all started with the thought that accessories can really change the way an outfit looks. My own passion for accessories and wanting to make really classy accessories available to everyone gave birth to XOXO Accessories, in November 2011. I wanted to draw people’s attention to accessories which is a part of dressing up that most people neglect. The whole way in which accessories change the look of your outfit every time you choose a different one is remarkable and that was my focus.
Who is your target audience? What is the USP that differentiates you from competitors?
Target audience is anyone and everyone who is madly in love with accessories, age no bar! I have a mixture of teeny accessories as well as statement pieces and pearls for the sophisticated look. So, we mainly targeting those between the age bracket of 16 to 35 but I have had customers below sixteen and over thirty five as well, so I wouldn’t want to limit the target audience.The USP of XOXO Accessories would be its price range without doubt, most of the accessories being priced between Rs 150- Rs 550 on an average, where you will find the latest trends and that too at affordable prices. Another USP would be the inclusion of stock, as far as the competitors are concerned, they put up stock once in a month. At XOXO Accessories new stock comes up almost weekly so there are many options to choose from.
Tell us about your team
For now there is no team as such. However I count my parents and my best friends as my team who have constantly encouraged and supported me and stood by me through all my exhibitions and endeavours.
What were the challenges that you faced as a student entrepreneur?
I started while I was studying Bachelors of Mass Media at Jai Hind college,churchgate. There was a whole lot of free time and I tried to use that time in building this startup. I held a couple of exhibitions on weekends as well, when there was no college.
As for challenges faced, I was still studying so I was not very exposed to the market and didn’t know much but that changed after I got done with college a few months back and made XOXO Accessories my main career. I learnt so many new things once I started dedicating time to it.How did you overcome them?
Basically, networking is the key to everything! Go out, meet people, network and do good research and never ever fear from taking risks.
How do you market?
For now, since I operate through Facebook, I tie up with blogs that use my accessories in their outfit posts and give credit. Sometimes I also tie up with blogs and host giveaway contests which work well because of the brand awareness that it creates. Most of my marketing happens online via bloggers etc. And rest happens during exhibitions and I have created blackberry groups for BB owners. I constantly update them about new stocks, exhibitions etc.
I am looking for more tie ups with websites that will be selling my stuff. I have already done one with www.fashiondowntown.com and I am also in talks with a few reputed retail outlets for stocking our products.
What were the best parts about being a student entrepreneur?
The best part about being a student entrepreneur is the feeling of working and studying together. Working as well as earning and that too having something of your own, something that people identify you with. And as a student, one must always use age to one’s benefit. The younger you start the more experience you will have.
How did you transition from being a student venture to being a full time enterprise?
As college got over and I graduated a few months ago, I started hunting for jobs and even tried one out, but in the end, I just couldn’t work for someone, I wanted to be known for something I had created and not something I was just a part of. So I quit my job and gave my full time to XOXO Accessories and since then I have not thought of going back to a job.
Where doing you see yourself headed as a company?
There are no set rules as to where I want XOXO Accessories to be, but I want it to become something really big and more successful. I want to have international customers and probably be a part of a certain fashion week and who knows what lies in the future but I really want to take it forward with all the opportunities that knock my door.