BENGALURU: There is a big difference between ‘doing things’ and ‘getting things done’ and sometimes all you need is that little bit of perspective. You need to move fast every day but show patience over time. You need to get into the details but have a helicopter view. You want to trust your gut but also need to consider other opinions and data. It’s never easy. But if you can check your ego at the door and put together a circle of trusted people whose opinions you respect, you’re doing things with your eyes wide open.
Some of the most underrated aspects of the start-up (Naagin serves Indian hot sauces) experience are the intangibles. There’s something amazing about starting every day off a little better than the day before. Nothing like tangible progress to inspire the next wave! Winning (and sales) cures everything.
Think big. Local endeavours can have global consequences. To disrupt the status quo successfully, we had to set aside conventional parameters of success. Chasing bold measures of marketing and branding not only served to set us apart but also identified a market niche that was not previously visible. Effectively our greatest surprise, in the end, was learning not what the reality is but what it could be.
— Arjun Rastogi, co-founder Naagin
My start-up journey has been of passion, full of exciting ups and downs, my learning experience that surprises me and makes my journey a roller coaster ride. The idea popped to develop skin and hair tea and create an experience around it. We successfully blended a few flavours and came out with Ohria Bamboo and Cinnamon Tea during that event. Our attendees keep asking for more and prefer it over other teas by established brands. Our biggest surprise was to preferred as tea being a beauty brand.
Herbs and their miraculous effects also not cease to surprise me. Every time we are experimenting with formulating a new product, we end up being surprised by a newfound herb, and its results. Just while researching only, we found Ohria Banyan root hair tonic. How the root that lasts hundreds of years could give strength and longevity to hair. For our night serum, we added essential oils that help mummify the dead bodies in Egypt, and we also found their reference in Ayurveda to keep the skin alive. If they can keep the dead skin intact for years, imagine their effect on alive skin. Ayurveda never fails to surprise us.
— Rajni Ohria, founder, Ohria Ayurveda
When I was starting our organic clothing brand, the world of sustainable fashion and manufacturing garments was completely new to me. There were more questions than answers, and back then, there was hardly any information on the web either as there were only a handful of factories making certified organic and fair trade clothes. What surprised me at that point was the willingness of people to help me and give us a guiding hand to get started.
It took us a while to get the first contact, but then the information just flowed – lists of sustainable manufacturers and farmer groups, details of the certification process for organic clothing, phone numbers of the key supply chain partners, etc. I was amazed by how helpful people were, even though we were just a small start-up (that was still in the ideation phase at that point!).
It was great to learn that the supply chain for ethical clothing was already well in place in India, albeit catering almost exclusively to the export market. It took a while for us to convince these supply chain partners to work with our small India focussed brand and once we got our foot in the door, they were extremely helpful and helped us get going much faster than I had anticipated.
— Apruva Kothari, founder, No Nasties, organic, fair trade, vegan clothing brand
When we started our organic and sustainable kidswear brand, the biggest surprise was the realisation that green washing is so widespread in the industry. We were shocked to learn that the majority of ‘organic’ brands are misleading consumers by merely paying lip service to the standards of product quality and sustainability.
This turned out to be a not just a big shock, but our biggest challenge too. We had to quickly pivot and focus on educating the audience on what organic clothing truly means and how our set up is different from the rest. We had to start from scratch and tell the consumer that organic garments are devoid of artificial fertilizers, synthetic pesticides and toxic colours. Moreover, to test the genuineness of authentic organic garments, customers can check for the certification from GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) which comes attached to every garment.
In our journey so far, we have also been pleasantly surprised that each customer’s trigger for delight can be so different – from realising that there is no pilling in organic garments even after multiple wears to observing how the clothes do not lose shape and still retain their original look and bright colours even after multiple washes.— Barkha Bhatnagar Das, co-founder and director, Greendigo
The transition from hardcore academic-prone doctor to docpreneur was a journey with extraordinarily systoles and diastoles. Every day was, and still is a separate story, which pushes you to work for a better future for special needs children.In my early years of practising medicine, I realised that by consulting patients as a paediatric neurologist, I could connect with a handful, whereas I wanted to reach every special needs child. I wanted to contribute to the lives of the maximum number of uniquely-abled kids, which is how the start-up (a neurotherapathy centre for uniquely-abled kids) came into being.
From a “settled” living to the director of a company responsible for the livelihood of many families, everyone, including me had qualms about it. There were many sleepless nights and anxiety-filled days. But then, there was a conviction of the parents who trusted me with their children to be worked on.
There were doctor colleagues who believed in the reliability of the concept and referred me to their patients. There was confidence in the unknown friends whose encouraging words kept me moving to this present of today.
— Puja Kapoor, co-founder, Continua Kids