Teacher to Entrepreneur
My journey from playschool teacher to entrepreneur was actually interesting. I still remember the day when I left my job because of some conflict at work. I was in a deep thought, what’s next? Because honestly at that time I was not very ambitious. Moreover, my job was just a means of earning pocket money.
I was doing job by chance not by choice. I started introspection what exactly was my passion. During my school and college days, relatives and friends always appreciated my creativity. We gave a gift to one of our relative on their 50th Marriage anniversary. Next day of the anniversary, she called back and enquired about the gift-wrapping rather than the actual gift. She actually liked the gift wrapping and presentation. Similarly, during one of my cousin's wedding, we did some quilting work on envelopes and photo frames. Everyone appreciated a lot; in fact, few of them approached me to get the same work done for them.
With these thoughts, I created a page on social media in October 2015 about our work. During that time our products were quilting work on envelopes, photo frames and kid’s accessories, Trousseau Packing, Handcrafted bangles etc. Luckily, we got a very good response. Day by day, our customer base was increasing. We were getting inquiries not only from Delhi NCR but from different states of India like Goa, Karnataka, Gujarat, MP, Haryana, Punjab, Tamil Nadu etc. Infact, the cherry on the cake was we received few queries from Countries like Australia & US. This was quite motivating for us that our hard work was appreciated not only in India but also around the world. Unfortunately, at that moment of time, we were not able to export or send our products to those foreign leads as we had minimal knowledge of export-import regulations of these countries. During this phase, our focus was on evaluating whether our products range suffices the market trends or not. By this time, I gained the confidence that there is a demand for our products in the market. We were able to understand the mind of customer.
Now finally the time arrived when we realized we should start focusing on B2B in addition to B2C market. Because by this time Indian government also introduced few policies for the ease to start the business. I approached different big players in Handcrafted business and showed our products to them. We received an appreciation from them but at the same time, they suggested us to show something more and unique in addition to our current product range. Exactly at the same time, we got an opportunity to participate in one of the well-known exhibitions of North India. Now, this was the time when we were established as a brand and customer expectation also increasing from us. High time for me to think what’s more I can introduce to expand. Because to sustain & perform in a competitive market it is important to come up with new ideas.
By the time our venture was an almost 1-year-old baby and during this struggling phase, I had to add the range of products. I did the market analysis and realized India is a country of Festivals and famous for Big Fat weddings. In addition to this India is a leader in Handmade Artifacts & Products in World Art community. Indian Government was also promoting skill India and Handicraft business. Finally, we participated in the exhibition with newly added products range like Customized handmade gota jewelry, gift & Dry fruits boxes, different marriage and festival accessories like brooches etc. I purchased the raw material and converted my design into reality. I got a very good response in term of business as well. I received few big orders of customized goat jewelry and handmade boxes. Although that was not easy for me to deliver those orders on time as marriage season was around the corner and I did not have required workforce to complete the order in time. However, the thought, which motivated me to proceed further was that if I was not able to deliver on time then this is not the right place for me. During that time my family supported a lot to make my dream come true. It is really important to understand that in start-up & competitive environment, services also play an important role in addition to the quality of products.
Currently, after 2 years of establishment, approximately 7000 users are connected with us through different platforms. Our customers are not only from India but from other parts of the world as well like US, UK and Australia etc. Now this is really important for us to create a formal structure in place so that we can deliver our quality products within committed timelines. In addition to this few of the media houses are also covering us. Now in coming days, few of our primary focus areas are to increase the capital to bring our venture to next maturity level, increase the team size, Creating the advanced e-commerce platform so that we can provide seamless experience to our customers, Setup small outlets in different parts of the country and set up the call centre to attend our customer queries.