Not many girls in the 1990’s had the guts to start their own business in their teenage years. But entrepreneur Durga Das, who learnt very early that life can throw a few unpleasant surprises, opened her small time ‘DD sports’ shop in Chennai when she was just 14. Today, her business establishment Wassup, which has over 50 shops across India is one of the leading laundry brands in the country. She and co-founder Balachandar are planning on expanding their business to at least 25 stores across Kerala soon.
Durga, who also takes mentoring classes for entrepreneurs, explains that the secret of keeping a business successful is to ensure active participation by the entrepreneur themselves. “Several high profit companies in India, which were doing well a few years ago, do not exist anymore. Many believe that a startup or business establishment can reap gold, if there is money flowing in. It is not all about money. The first step is to be actively involved from day one. The next is to ensure that you have done enough key research on your customers needs. Build or give what they want. Don’t push it down their throats,” she says and equates a new business to a growing baby. “Spend at least two years of your life monitoring her every movement. By two, she is rugged enough to face the world slowly on her own,” she adds.
The short-haired businesswoman, who is currently captain of the All Women’s American-Canadian cricket team in the US, named ‘Canam’ says that she tells every entrepreneur to take up a sport that they like. “The tricks of business can all be learnt from the sports field. There are lessons on dedication, hardwork, team spirit and fairness. The sports ground is where I learned my entrepreneurship skills,” says Durga confidently.
Wassup is encouraging a lot of women involvement in their business. Durga adds that she hopes to make the establishment 100 per cent women employed in Kerala. “Women are multi-talented and multi-faceted. This is why I believe that it is women who can make better entrepreneurs. They have the ability to multi-task, a lesson they learn very young in their life, compared to men who are focused only one goal at a time. They are also more responsible, but what hinders them is their lack of confidence,” she says. Durga believes that the new middle class as the rising economy. “They are going to comprise the shining India and this is why you should respect them. It is wrong to consider Indians as cheap buyers anymore. In fact they are quality seeking customers,” she signs off.
Wassup On-demand will start five retail stores in Kochi in its first phase. The stores are being launched in Panampilly Nagar, Palarivattom, Trippunithura, Carnival Infopark at Kakkanad and Thevara. Currently the services will through On-demand App