My journey from the IT industry to Weddings
A job didn’t just remain a job for me when I started my own startup. Leaving my career in the IT industry and investing in my passion was a hard decision to make. Today, I realize it’s more than worth it.Kaviya Raj Kamaraj
Starting the Start-Up
Having helped in organizing all my friends’ weddings when I was an IT professional, I noticed the problems brides faced in coordinating with all their different artists and bridal designers, amidst their busy schedules. Since I was already giving advice to brides on how to make arrangements for their bridal services, I realized the prospect of turning this into a business. I decided to launch an online bridal platform to help brides reach out to artists for every aspect of their bridal look.
At its inception, TBG Bridal Store started out with a handful of makeup artists and designers. For any professional to get onboard, I contacted my friends to evaluate the quality of their work and do a rough background check, checked their online portfolios and held interviews for the final assessment.
I had been an employee of Infosys for 4 and a half years and started this association while still, I was still working in the IT industry. I was a software developer and decided to quit when I thought I would be moving to Bangalore after marriage. After I quit, TBG became a full-time profession.
Starting out as an entrepreneur wasn’t easy. My business concept seemed weak to my family and friends. Moreover, bridal artists weren’t convinced. Even though I offered a good pay, marketing agencies and developers didn’t seem interested in working with me. Recruiting technical support who also had a good understanding of bridal services was quite challenging. Convincing talented artists to join our association and explaining my brand’s potential in the market was a very trying task. And adding to all this, I had to manage time, balancing both my job as a software engineer and my business, before I quit to dedicate all my time to my start-up.
Despite all these discouragements, Brides were so welcoming and showed huge interest in my ideas for my company and my blogs. They motivated me to struggle for the growth of my business inspite of all my difficulties. Their thank-you messages were my inspiration and their doubts and confusion helped me introduce new services.
And while some might see my lack of experience in the business world before I started TBG as a disadvantage, I have a different perspective on that. I have no MBA degree or a family business background, but I think that has really helped me to think out of the box.
Today, my business caters to more than thousand brides each year all over India, including NRI brides, and it currently does not receive any funding. There were a few investors who approached me, but I didn’t show any interest because I am able to sustain my business with my own profits.
The work is very different from the one I did in Infosys, I work harder and it is much more stressful, but at the end of the day, the satisfaction I get from the feedback of the brides is enormous, and cannot be compared with any other job.
Competition and challenges
The experience of running a start-up company can be nerve-wracking. When you start a company, you have to do everything from scratch. You are responsible for everything from A to Z, and you are questionable for every element of the company. Sometimes I feel like every single day is a challenge!
The constant challenge is keeping the service concepts to the latest trend and bringing it to the customers immediately, as the trend is changing every day in the bridal industry.
The Experience of starting a Business
TBG has really helped me to see the world differently. I’ve met some wonderful people, many different personalities, and that has added richness to my life. I have also faced many successes and many failures. I feel that every day is a lesson. It has made me realize how even every second can be made valuable. I’ve come to understand how a business can bring in money as well as provide great opportunities for others. It’s been a great learning experience.
Many women are benefitted from the frequent workshops my company organizes, where young women learn various things, from hairstyling and makeup to sari-draping.
I’m proud to say that my company has created jobs for well-qualified women in India who would like to work from home or do part time jobs. My plans are to bring the training academy to a larger scale, by starting schools where many Indian women will get employment opportunities and explore the most interesting career in India. I would also like to conduct free makeup training programs in rural cities to teach interested, financially disadvantaged women the new concepts in the bridal industry, thus creating a large window for job opportunities. This type of fashion concept career will interest any woman and help her work with passion.