How I turned from Designer to Entrepreneur
It was a hard choice to leave an amazing career at New Zealand to start a Design Studio in India but I am glad I did it.
Thursday June 23, 2016,
4 min Read
Persistence, Passion and Love for your profession is the only recipe of success in the world. I founded Lollypop, a dedicated UI/ UX Design Studio in 2013. After working for 9 years in New-Zealand, I returned to Bangalore to start my own design studio. I owe a big thank you to many designers and professionals I met during my career who always had a negative opinion towards India with regard to Digital Designing Space. This thought got stuck in my head and triggered me to take a step towards entrepreneurship; just to prove that India and Indians are brilliant in Digital Designing too. It was a tough decision to give up everything and come back but the voice inside my head never stopped.
When I introduced the concept in India not many corporate houses were aware of the design field and none wanted to invest. Everyone would spend millions on physical office, product and its packaging but none would spend on their digital presence. I started alone and designed for various companies at exceptional nominal rates. Thankfully I was able to get projects from New Zealand to manage my finances.
It was not an easy journey because the field of UX and UI was almost unknown back then and even now it is still at nascent stage in India. The biggest and foremost challenge was instilling an understanding of the need and importance of the experience design in digital space by corporate houses, I began with giving a workshop and this is something we have carried forward at Lollypop. Second, big challenge was growing my team of Designers who share equal passion for designing. This took some time but I was lucky to find few passionate designers in my journey who were willing to learn and grow.
But, the biggest challenge that hit me was self-realization. As we were growing, I realized now it was not just about designing anymore. Suddenly I was playing a role of Janitor to Manager to Designer to Leader, all in one. Thankfully I am a person’s people and I am good at building relationships but Management and Finances were not my area of expertise. With two just born kids and a third baby, Lollypop, I was juggling lot of things.
Self-reflection helped me realize two things; First, I was adamant towards turning my vision into reality and second I wanted a good work-life balance. Hence, I started prioritizing and opted for healthy lifestyle. I made a ‘To Do’ list with dedicated timelines and started collaborating with talents from different management backgrounds to help me in the areas I wasn’t an expert at. It was a simple learning that I can-not do everything myself; and I strongly believe to grow everyone must grow with each other and that is what I have built Lollypop’s culture around.
Today, in course of three years, we have shifted four offices and from a team of 2, today Lollypop is a team of 35 designers. We have designed over 90 projects across 10 industries and have a clientele base in 9 countries. We have worked with established brands as well as various Start-ups and results have been amazing. I am glad that we rank among the top Design Studios in India and that we are treading on a right path, though there is still a long way to go.
I am really happy to realize that I began at the right time. With the whole Start-Up mechanism in country, we see participation from lot of young generation who are more informed now and have greater passion towards making their presence extremely user-focused. Of-course, even the established brands have now awakened wider towards becoming more user centric in digital space and the field has seen a sudden upsurge; this has given way to many design studios in India and we are doing good in global landscape.