Meghna Saraogi shows how learning every step of the way countsTanvi Dubey
Meghna Saraogi, the Founder of StyleDotMe follows two important business mantras in life — “If you get into something, get 100% or leave it! It is your own baby and no one else will come and do it for you.” Her second mantra is- “Do not trust anyone blindly!”
Meghna has learnt things the hard way. After school she applied to the College of Arts in Baroda, and a day before the interview shared her portfolio with the friend, who like her, had joined the same college. The friend plagiarized her work and presented it as her own. Since Meghna’s interview was after her friend’s she was unfortunately disqualified. This experience taught her to be guarded in future. “I think this was the reason unless the StyleDotMe app was launched on the play store, not many people knew about the concept.”
A fashion app, StyleDotMe helps you to answer the big question-What do I wear? It gets you fashion advice on what to wear and where to buy it through your friends, followers and fashion bloggers around the world. “For urgency a timer is attached to the SOS notifications that will count down to remind friends of your deadline,” says Meghna.
A shopaholic who enjoys dressing up, she often wished she could ask friends about her daily choice of outfits so that she didn’t have to take ages dressing up. This was the origin of StyleDotMe. “I wanted to build something that will make life simpler for people when they had to decide what to buy and how to wear.”
For Meghna fashion is all about being comfortable with one’s own style, about integrating latest trends with one’s body type and one’s own distinct style.
Born in Calcutta and brought up in Indore, Meghna loved extra-curricular activities. From the arts to sports, debate and music, she participated in all competitions.
She discovered her love for graphic design over the years, and with support from her parents pursued her bachelors degree in fine arts from College of Art Delhi in commercial arts and then went to join Srishti school of Art design and Technology, Bangalore to do a Masters (Diploma) in visual communication. Shrishti was an eye opener and a huge learning experience for her. It taught her more about herself, about her work and to present that work to the world.
Her love affair with fashion started while working for a design firm in New Delhi, now called Designosis under Akila Seshasayee, a graduate from National School of Design with an experience of over 25 years in graphic designing. Akila proved to be a great teacher and mentor.
“I did not learn just designing from her but all the other little things about life that has turned me to a better person both personally and professionally.”
It was Akila who encouraged her to start working on the fashion app. She helped Meghna understand how design is not just about looking good, but solving a problem for the user.
Meghna spent a lot of time deciding on what she wanted to achieve, what her product should be and what problem it should solve. “Initially I wanted to build a website and I as a result I worked on a full-fledged website design. Then, I was lucky to show my idea to Sanjeev Bikhchandani, founder of Naukri.com and get his feedback. He threw some light on how when one is concentrating on immediate help, a mobile app would be the best platform. He has taught me that I should not think about making money but making a better product that people will want to use.” From there on she started working on it.
Family and friends always motivate us to do better; in Meghna’s case it was her best friend Nikhil who
pushed her forward to get working on the app. His words, “You can never do it and that someone else will do it soon” hit Meghna hard and made her think deeper. “I challenged him that very soon I will create my product and since then I got 100% into it. I think I owe it to him for if he had not pushed me so hard in the bad way I might have not become so serious and aggressive about my product,” she says.Meghna says starting up was, “Extremely difficult! Especially for a non-technical person to build a software! My strengths lie in design and planning and overseeing a project. I knew exactly what I wanted but found it very hard to locate the right people who could help me build it.”
She started working on the concept in 2012 and scouting meetings and conferences for like-minded people hoping to find a tech co-founder.
In March 2013, she found Aref Kashani and Amrit Rathi in Indore who decided to join her.
Being an entrepreneur has its fair share of challenges. Money is always an issue when costs are involved and lack of capital slows down the process of growth. Meghna shares that having teams working from different parts of the country sometimes leads to improper communication and broken follow-up issues.
Adding to the list, she says, “Having a developer team of recent graduates with low ‘ready-to-ship’ developing expertise and no direct professional support throws its own challenges.” This means more time being spent on tackling technical challenges like “handling massive amount of images on limited mobile device RAM, choosing a systems and services architecture that proves to be scalable, high performing and yet reasonably priced, and also carefully tackling privacy and security aspects.”
As an entrepreneur Meghna is grounded and well aware of where she stands. Constant feedback from people around her keeps her motivated. She feels she may not be doing the right thing to make the app viral so far but she believes that the idea does have potential to go global and viral.
“I believe in myself and the fact that what I am doing is good. If it were not for these I would have given up long back considering I started long back and I still don’t see myself where I want to. But I am motivated enough to reach my destination.”