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Entrepreneurship and How did I get here?

By Dr K S Murthy, Pidilite Industries Ltd

This seminar was organised by SDC EC and took place at Rachana Sansad School of Fashion and Textile Design in Mumbai.  As well as hosting the India heat of the SDC International Design Competition, the event featured a number of speakers. Ms Vibhuti Atre and Ms Nikhila Gutka anchored the proceedings.

Entrepreneurship

Ms Rachana Singh is an Alumnus of Rachana Sansad. She advised the audience to steep themselves in craftsmanship and create products that are beautiful and functional. Quality is the baseline. Her key points were as follows:

  • The fashion business took her to Milan for a year and that changed her dynamics completely. Customer preferences have changed; she had to start from scratch with anxiety and the fear of failure. She grew in the business taking steady shape.
  • What is your differentiation? You have to find your USP and high quality product that make sense.
  • She launched a back collection of accessories. Initially these were stored and sold out of office space and luckily became one of the selling product lines.
  • Another factor is your competitors. They have their space and you have yours. Learn from them and don’t mimic them. They are there for a reason, pushing you, find your USP and go forward. Whenever you are going through tough times, you need funding and emotional support. Go to a mentor.
  • You have to decide who you are going to collaborate with. If the product is selling in one place and not in another, it doesn’t make sense. She realised that aesthetically stores are different, so you have to analyse and see which one works.

Ms Singh concluded if you want to be entrepreneur, she suggested working for someone initially because you learn and respect time, teamwork and how much effort goes into running a company. Be true to your own style and yourself.

How did I get here?

Mr Aniket Satam studied science and is interested in languages, he wanted to get into fashion writing and be a designer. He did a design course from B D Somani Institute and obtained a job as a designer. His interactive presentation was filled with his sense of humour as he shared various instances of success and failure in his career.

  • A simple T-shirt made for ₹100 is only a higher price because of the brand value that is associated with it. A shirt is a shirt and you buy because a certain quality is associated with it.
  • You are employed because employers think you can do many things and you have to be open to this. But at some point all those experiences help you when you start your own business.
  • Your brand needs to have certain elements. If something good happens, you take it in your stride. But never ever give away your aspiration and your goals. If there is no buyer create one. Make your brand aspirational so that someone will buy. When you try and sell things that already exist in the market, somewhere you tend to lose your identity. He suggested creating brand aspiration, decide its price and market it.
  • Why are things not working? You have to see where you have lost to your competition and evaluate yourself.
  • In his business, supplying to a couple of stalls worked out well and people from towns like Hyderabad, Chandigarh and Pune buy when compared to Delhi and Mumbai. Know your market.
  • He branched out to his first love of writing as a ghost writer to magazines, newspapers and other publications. You need different avenues to sustain yourself. He also started part time styling.
  • He went to Hong Kong and had more interactive exposure. Later the brand took off. However good your product is, if it is not positioned well and promoted well, it won’t work. He positioned his brand well as a designer and that opened up different avenues. He was also teaching and interacting with young people and their ideas, which helps to keep you updated and broaden your vision.
  • He won a competition and obtained a scholarship to study abroad. This kind of freedom at the age of 25 helps you to think out of the box about your life and your approach. You need to apply the experiences you have. Things are changing in dynamic speed in terms of technology and sharing of information.
  • International travel and the people you meet help to broaden your spectrum of information and experience. You need to know how to apply ideas which were never expected before – only then you can create things that are more revolutionary.
  • The role of SDC in his life: He was a Winner of SDC Young Talent Search 2010. SDC international competitions help you to think differently. They have defined certain criteria expected from entries that help young people to think beyond their fields.
  • You need to know your origin, your craft, history and legacy in terms of your textiles, employment, and try hard to make it a pride of your own. He made some close friends in Milan from different countries and all of them had such a strong pride in their culture and were fascinated with India. We should be celebrating what we have. That will make us unique and distinctive.

Mr Satam concluded that most important for a designer is social media because it is a small world and it is important you are instantly connected to those who work in that field. You have to be cautious of what you are putting in social media – facebook and instagram are visual portfolios. People somewhere will be interested in hiring or collaborating with you. Ensure that you are open to ideas and experiments. Welcome positive criticism.

SDC EC organises regular events.  Please check the website for details.

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