- Tell us something about yourself?
I did my BSc in Physics and was a University rank holder post which I did MCA and then PGDBA in marketing. I have over 13 years of Information technology industry experience.
- Tell us something about your venture.
I was always interested in doing something creative in arts and crafts. As a kid I used to be very interested in drawing, painting and even dancing. I have done glass paintings out of my interest and that was just a beginning as I see it today. Then I got very busy with my work and home responsibilities. I realized I had no time for myself. So I stopped and took few steps back and gave myself sometime to think on what would keep me happy amidst all these daily chores. That is when I decided to join some hobby classes related to arts and crafts. Then I learnt about terracotta jewelry making which is completely eco-friendly jewelry as it is made of terracotta clay and completely hand made. I really liked this idea and started off with making earrings and some neckpieces. In a month’s time I realized that I had a box full of earrings and neck sets. This is when I thought why not convert this into a small scale business. The first step towards this was put up a stall in my apartment on one of the weekends. The response was quite good and I had not expected that. Then I got confidence and I created a Facebook page and started marketing by word of mouth publicity through friends and relatives. After that there is no looking back. In fact Laya Designs (www.facebook.com/laya.designs) has also ventured into paper quilling jewelry and beads jewelry.
- What is your philosophy towards work?
I believe in commitment to quality on the work that we do as this will directly impact the customer experience.
- Whom do you admire as your role model? And why?
There is no one particular person that I can name. I get so inspired when I read stories of people that have struggled in life and made it as successful entrepreneurs. Every one of those instances is a great lesson for life and I keep learning that way.
- “Management is core to every individual, organization & society.” Give your views on it.
Absolutely agree! Be it a kid or adult, be it a house wife or working person – everyone needs to be good at managing their time essentially. The effect is discipline and proper planning. This brings in focus and you succeed in whatever you do.
- Name 3 qualities of prime importance that a women entrepreneur should possess.
o Self-confidence and never let go attitude
o Commitment and quality to the services and products delivered to customers
o Intelligent Risk taking and most of all patience
- According to you, what are the challenges for Women Entrepreneurship today?
Instead of saying challenges, I see them as opportunities to shine. Yes, there are many huge players in the market but from my experience I see that there is room and place for everyone in the market. It is best said with an example: you have small brands also in the market where Louis Philippe and other big brands are present. You have customers who prefer both of these. Decide who you want to target, take small baby steps and before you realize you will be competing with big players.
- Can Entrepreneurship be taught in B-Schools/Management Institutes/Colleges?
I always believe in basics and for that you go by the book but not everything can be taught in schools. These are experiences and learning that you get every day by meeting people and facing situations.
- Is the Name of the Institute from where a student pursues his/her Graduation/Post Graduation or other courses important while setting up your business?
Many big IT companies look for top schools and the student will work for them. It really does not matter if you are keen on your startup. You just need focus and planning. Recently I read an article which is so apt to the question that has been asked. I would like to you also to read. This clearly says that it does not matter whether you have a management degree or not; and also from which school you did your management course. These can never be taught.
“There is a very old lady who was running RS. 2.50 per Idli shop near Valasarawakkam Panchayath office in Chennai. Once Amma’s (Dr. J. Jayalalitha) meal scheme started almost most of the outlets nearby closed and incidentally even Murugan idli shop nearby is also likely to shut down.
But this lady too stood in the queue in the morning to get the same one rupee idli and the sambar and curd rice in the afternoon. When others asked her why she being a cook was eating here she seems to have remarked I am observing the business model. After a week she was back with her stall and making three times the profit.
She analyzed that there was one major element missing in amma’s meal scheme -the vada with idli and side dish for sambar and curd rice. She started selling only vadas both in the morning and in the afternoon and she has more clients now and making a kill. That’s real lesson in feeling the pulse of the business. Incidentally it seems her father migrated from Gujarat some 40 years back”
- Do you think today’s economy is conducive for a new venture to start upon?
It again depends on what your core business is and whether you are a late entrant or not. If you are a late entrant then you are going to have many entry barriers and ask yourself what is your USP? Have you done market analysis of what people actually want? Or is it your idea that you want to try? If you are convinced with your answers then you are ready to test the waters.
- “Earning more & more is the motive behind any business.” Is it justifiable?
After all business is all about making money. So I agree on the motive even though the vision and mission statements of companies do not state them explicitly. At the end of the day it is the moolah that counts. My suggestion here would be at least contribute to society by not polluting the environment, see how we can GO GREEN and take eco-friendly initiatives.
- Share with us the most enjoyable moment you had experienced on work.
Each time I make terracotta or beads or paper quilling jewelry I already would dream of how many customers would buy this. My most enjoyable moment was when I had put my first stall in my apartment and many of my handmade jewelry got sold out. That sheer feeling of someone wearing your hand made jewelry made me so excited and happy.
- Your message to the aspiring entrepreneurs?
Listen to your heart and go for it! Just remember the 3 important qualities that we talked above while you do that. Good luck on your new ideas and ventures!
History- Laya Designs was founded in August 2012. Laya Designs is trying to carve its own niche in the area of handmade terracotta jewelry with designs that are unique and affordable. Since this is made of terracotta clay and fully handmade, we also contribute to the environment. Laya Designs are also into paper quilling jewelry and beaded jewelry.
Vision/Mission- To create environment friendly products and adhere to commitment to quality on the products we deliver.
Products & Service- Terracotta jewelry, Paper quilling jewelry, Beaded jewelry
Marketing Strategy- Currently we are very much dependent on the word of mouth publicity through friends, relatives and other contacts. We had launched Laya Designs in Facebook last November. The network is very huge and we believe this strategy as a startup company would work for us. Very soon we will also sell through shopo.in portal.
Existing Market Presence- We are based out of Bangalore and have shipped to countries like Singapore, U.S and many places in India.
Future Plans- Expecting good response from Shopo.in and also more products delivered through Facebook.