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Meet three creative women entrepreneurs who have used their creativity to not only start business ventures but create opportunities for the less privileged too!
If art, craft and creativity run in your blood, there has never been a better time to turn these assets into a business. That’s precisely what Deepika Ramji, Krithika Govindarajan and Navya Agarwal have done.
We had previously featured Twikster, an e-commerce enablement platform, that helps entrepreneurs get online very easily to take their products beyond the immediate, known circle of buyers. This time, we interviewed three women entrepreneurs who have made a name for themselves, showcasing their creativity using Twikster.
Let’s discover what inspired these ‘artful’ women to start their ventures, the challenges they faced and how they’ve grown in their chosen field.
Deepika Ramji was always interested in art since her school days. Her love for art grew as the years went by. She joined the Chitrakala Parishat after high school and so began her art career. She loves art but painting is what captures her heart the most. “The love towards India & everything Indian, painting, art, colours, and a motto to create a difference in the art world with completely kitsch & completely desi art & design made me start Kili – an online and offline store,” says Deepika.
Deepika Ramji at an exhibition with her products
Kili transforms basic household items such as trays, tables, kettles, lanterns and trinkets into hand-painted or hand-printed objects that we can treasure for life. They also upcycle old furniture and trunks, and customize products based on customer requirements. Kili now retails at around ten stores across the country and offers around eighty plus unique personally hand painted & printed products.
Since her products are all completely handmade, they work with people from all walks of life, from mental vendors to carpenters. They also have a small team of talented women who paint for them after their daily job of being class helpers at a school. Killi has opened out new avenues for the less privileged and helped them to tap their creativity skills.
Like every entrepreneur, Deepika had her fair share of challenges. She says, “A home decor product with more than three colours was considered loud and tacky. Not everyone was open to the idea of having such a bright and vibrantly colourful product. The biggest question was, will it sell?”
Beginning with flea markets and exhibitions, their breakthrough came when a well-known store in Bangalore began stocking their products. Deepika crossed another milestone when she began selling online using Twikster to set up her store.
Twikster made her want to sell products online. ”The user friendly store page, the customization option and the easy to reach Twikster team made our experience of opening our e-store wonderful! The best part was how flexible the Twikster team has been to make sure we have all that we wanted on our store!” says Deepika.
During a Navarathri festival, Krithika Govindarajan being a working woman and a mother of two kids, found it difficult to find her way through traffic and purchase items required for celebrating the festival. That’s when she realized how good it would be if festival products could be made available online.
She mentions, “The question I was looking to answer was that, can someone close their eyes and order items for a function or festival, rather than have to choose?” Besides South Indian culture always had a deep impact on her and she wanted to take this culture across the globe. The idea culminated into Puja Celebrations – a one-stop solution for pujas, festivals and divine needs at a click of a button.
Like Deepika, Krithika too overcame challenges while beginning her venture. Procuring items on demand and shipping them on time has been her greatest challenge. She overcame this challenge by having a rudimentary sourcing plan through a contract employee. Shipping has been made easy through FedEx and other local couriers.
Another major challenge was in the area of online marketing. Being new to e-commerce, she was not well versed with online marketing platforms. After trying out various online store builders, she says that she decided to opt for Twikster because of their excellent customer service.
Through her venture, she wants to keep younger generations interested in Indian culture and tradition. She states, “Today, the young generation want everything without expending much effort and if my venture makes their life easy by helping them celebrate a festival without any hassle, then I can say that I have succeeded.”
Navya Agarwal too is passionate about art. While working on her final year college project Navya met a set of skilled hardworking artisans who lacked opportunities. They were very enthusiastic about helping her in her project as it was something new and different and they had only been working on regular products for years together. She felt a bridge missing between designers and artisans. She thought if only these two groups joined hands they could revive our traditional handicrafts and create unique innovative products, and she set out to do exactly that.
Navya Agarwal with one of her artisan made products
She visited various villages and set out to meet people who have hidden skills but lacked opportunity. Through these people she was introduced to more artisans and soon she created a team of eleven artisans, she being the designer. That’s how her venture ‘IVEI’- I Value Every Idea began.
Making artisans understand design was her major challenge, as their existing work methodology had been very different from that what was required now. She created small prototypes / 3D models and also worked on a few of their traditional machines to communicate to them what exactly was required. They began with exhibitions but now sell online as well, using a store set up through Twikster. Navya says, “Twikster helped us set up an online store in the most affordable manner. The professional appeal of the store helped us set an impression in the minds of our customers.”
Navya adds that they mention their artisans’ names while selling their work, to ensure that they are paid like an artist deserves to be paid, while providing them training and education as per today’s needs.
Navya, Deepika and Krithika have discovered a world of possibilities through online marketing platforms like Twikster to promote their products and expand their business. Krithika says, “My experience with Twikster has been really great. They are open-minded and want the customer to experience the best. Even if things are not under their purview, they provide suggestions and options to explore.”
In five years Krithika hopes to see Puja Celebrations as a brand to reckon with; providing a wholesome package for any Puja. “We are working towards earning a name as the most innovative e-retailer when it comes to Puja items,” says Krithika. Navya plans to team IVEI with other self-help groups to expand their product base and provide them better exposure. Product wise she’s looking to expand into the corporate gifting section. Deepika hopes to expand Kili into physical store with a café as well. She signs off hoping her dreams come true in the near future.
If you are a woman chasing her dreams too, consider the Twikster WIN special offer for women entrepreneurs from Twikster, PayU and 50k Ventures, which includes the following:
If you have been hesitant to start selling online, or have been facing challenges with setting up an e-store, a bit of determination, a pinch of creativity and a helping hand from Twikster will help you live your dream!
Sign up today and get started with your online story at www.twikster.com
Post supported by Twikster
Diana has worked as an Editor/Writer and Content Manager for various digital platforms and
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