Women Entrepreneur

Friends Karishma and Neesshi connected over a cup of coffee and started Decography

Saswati Mukherjee
5th Aug 2015
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It was a coffee date between two friends that turned into an idea to start up Decography, a niche home accessories company in Mumbai.

They first did a small preview (launch of a small collection) and invited family and friends for a feedback of their products. The results were amazing and what’s more, it translated into a good e-commerce platform thereafter.

It is a different matter that neither of them had an entrepreneurship background and were chasing absolutely different career goals till their paths criss-crossed and these two youngsters came together to start this creative venture.

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Decography co-founders Karishma Shah (L) and Neesshi Oza (R)

So far, it has been a good entrepreneurial journey and every two months the co-founders ensure that they introduce variety and get new products on the shelf.

We have always focused on customer demands and even catered to customized orders. Most of our products are non-extravagant, they are products with a purpose. More than being decorative pieces, they are concept-based utility products,

says Karishma Shah, Co-founder, Decography.

Though the young entrepreneurs have their eyes set on a retail store in some time at a location in Mumbai, for now they are keen to explore more of the e-commerce platform and are happy catering to customer’s demands online.

Karishma’s story

Born to a businessman father and a housewife mother, Karishma was in the US to study Finance. She worked there for a year as an auditor and wanted to pursue higher studies. That is when she went to UK to pursue her Masters in International Management Entrepreneurship.

Once back in Mumbai, she started learning and even teaching French. Before leaving for the US, she had pursued a Bachelors in Mass Media, a six month course. It was here that she had befriended Neesshi, her classmate.

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Karishma Shah

So when they met again after several years through a bunch of common friends, they got together to start Decography.

It so happened that Neesshi recommended Karishma’s name to a friend of hers who wanted to study French. Neeshi was doing the interior designing of that house then and the two friends used to meet regularly at the other friend’s house.

“It was while meeting up at this house that we realized the various requirements of a newly-designed home. So we toyed with the idea of a home décor finesse product platform and firmed up on the concept at a coffee shop in a short span,” says Karishma.

From a creative director to an entrepreneur: Neesshi’s story

Fresh from her Mass Media course, Neesshi happened to apply at Balaji Telefilms and joined them as an intern. She graduated into a creative head and was subsequently pushed into direction, which initially upset her.

“Little did I realize then that it would hold me in good stead later,” says Neesshi. The result was that she got associated with all the popular K-serials but was not enjoying it largely because she was constantly being shifted from one daily soap to the other.

It was one of her seniors at the workplace who inspired her to try hands at interiors and thus she got going without any formal training in the same. It helped immensely that she always wanted to get into something of her own.

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Neesshi Oza
We had similar interests and the common thing was to create something. So we joined hands,

says Neesshi, Co-founder, Decography, adding that she and Karishma complement each other well.

The Co-Founder duo

Interestingly, Karishma is good at operations and management while Neesshi is an expert at ideation. It helps to run this joint venture as one co-founder’s weakness is the other one’s strength.

There have been a few challenges for the 28-year-old co-founder duo. They have gone through a difficult phase of finding new vendors to source raw material. It was a difficult six to eight months when people just would not take them seriously.

“The fact that we started operations from a coffee shop and followed it up by working from home till we moved into our office space gave everyone an impression that we were whiling away our time before we got married,” says Karishma. That has changed now with the duo having made an impact and making their presence felt.

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