Shilpa Sharma Took A Leap Of Faith With Jaypore!

In a contemporary world, entrepreneurs like Shilpa Sharma who focus on artisans' craftsmanship and values are always appreciated.

Jaypore, the ethnic retail apparel store and e-commerce business, was cofounded by Shilpa Sharma and Puneet Chawla in 2012. While Shilpa Sharma is no longer associated with the business, and it was acquired in 2019 by the Aditya Birla Group, her work in establishing the brand has many learnings for entrepreneurs today.

Shilpa Sharma and Puneet Chawla, the duo, launched Jaypore in the USA just a month after founding it. Eventually, in January 2013, they launched Jaypore worldwide.

Shilpa Sharma with help of her co-workers had worked hard to preserve and provide the same quality and craftsmanship and ignited the idea of using local products to make you feel at home. The respect to quality and zeal to bring in diversity of designs to the globe, made ABFRL purchase the brand in 2019.

After the acquisition, Shilpa has been involved as a Mentor at Flourish, which is a global platform that envisions making conscious consumption an accessible lifestyle choice for consumers around the globe.

She is also working with two other ventures, Breakway and Mustard and is an advisor in the Bain Advisor Network.

Shilpa Sharma left her cushy job for her entrepreneurial desires

One cannot ignore the paradigm shift that occurs when one leaves their safety net and takes a risk that could cost them a lot of money. 

Even though Shilpa had a safety net and several experiences to rely on, she knew she had to take the risk. In an interview, she mentioned her feelings about leaving her job. She said:

“It meant getting away from the trappings of a secure paycheck and taking some leaps of faith.”

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Thus, Sharma couldn’t ignore her gut telling her to embark on her entrepreneurial journey. So, at the height of her career, Shilpa Sharna left the cushy job and put on the hiking boots of entrepreneurship. 

Success doesn’t come easily- Shilpa had to work tremendously to reach where she is now

Success comes when one works twice as hard, and Shilpa Sharma knows what it is.  

After graduating from Welingkar Institute of Management with a Master’s in Management Studies in 1989, Sharma had the opportunity to work at several companies. 

She worked with brands like Cadbury, Marico and Fab India – before she quit her position as the Head of Product Development and Buying. 

It was her previous experiences that helped her become a better entrepreneur. Sharma often mentioned how financial worries and performance anxiety tried to encapsulate her. But, she had one goal – to make Jaypore a global identity. 

Shilpa Sharma focuses on the idea of ‘Made in India’

Despite the US launch in 2012, (and catering to a global audience), Shilpa Sharma stayed true to her roots. She focused on made-in-India products. 

All of this came from Sharma’s idea of bringing a world a little closer together. Jaypore had made it a priority to discover the best designs from artisans pan-India. 

Jaypore rises despite the competitive market

An online apparel market is highly competitive – what had made Jaypore stand apart from other mediocre brands was its middle-ground. 

While almost all brands mass provided apparel, only 20% catered to luxury products. So, that’s where Jaypore came in with high-quality products and formed a middle ground in the arena. 

In an interview with Forbes India, Sharma had said:

“The Jaypore customer is older than those shopping on Jabong or Myntra and is not wooed by online sales. Our average ticket size is upwards of ₹4,000 compared to e-commerce industry standards in the region of ₹900-₹1,200.”

She had further added:

“When we started Jaypore, we were clear that it has to be a sticky and differentiated product proposition to be successful, else we would be deemed an also-ran.”

Shilpa and her love for painting helped her paint the path toward Jaypore

As a young girl, Shilpa loved art and artefacts. Moreover, she adored experimenting with watercolours. While this self-taught person was skilled in making oil paintings, her real love was watercolours.

Her love for creativity never faded, even when she ran a full-fledged company and even after taking up new roles. Today, her love for art has made her a board member of All India Artisans And Craftworkers Welfare Association. 

Furthermore, to channel her creativity and focus on other things, Sharma handed over Jaypore to a strategic partner. Sharma is now nurturing her creative entrepreneurial projects. 

In an interview with Coco and Jasmine, Sharma mentioned:

“I engage in consulting projects with Val-More, a strategic action advisory firm, and actively participate in the IIM Ahmedabad-led CCBP program for young entrepreneurs and the Young India Fellowship (YIF) at Ashoka University as a mentor.

A wealth of experience with the craft sector has enabled many interventions in design at the grassroots level, and I work with cluster initiatives committed to women empowerment and livelihood creation opportunities.”

Sharma never stops unleashing her creativity

Shilpa Sharma was born in a business family, so business was always something she always knew. Her curiosity took the best of her when she founded Jaypore. 

Now, when she stepped back to focus on personalised projects, she managed to be the kid with ideas on the block.

Lastly, Sharma’s commendable work-life balance and a striking love of travel, leisure and painting are, as she calls it- cathartic! 

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About the Author

Pranjali Hasotkar

I am a journalism student with a penchant for writing about women and social issues. I am an intersectional feminist and an aspiring journalist. I identify as she/her. read more...

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