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With fierce competition in the online apparel sector, life as an entrepreneur is not easy for Meena Joshi, but it’s certainly fulfilling, she says.
I passed out from the National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) and worked for 12 years in the corporate sector, involved in the sourcing of apparel for major US and European brands. The bug of ‘my own business’ was always there, but it became stronger and stronger, when it got clubbed with the fact that my son was growing and I needed to spend more quality time with him to help him understand the world better.
Thus began Color Cocktail LLP, a company that creates affordable, trendy and fun western wear for Indian women. Although we have many western wear brands now in India, during my business trips to the US and Hong Kong, I realized that there is a huge gap in the Indian market for western wear for women as most of the international brands cater to only the affluent young crowd. Local brands which are cost-competitive would not have international trends or quality. Color Cocktail provides designs which match the international trends and yet are extremely affordable.
We started with our portal called My Color Cocktail and soon started getting a great response from customers. This spurred me to start selling the brand on other portals like Jabong, Fashionara and many more.
My day starts at 6.30 am, and the next hour goes in getting my son ready for school. After seeing him off, I go for a walk and do some exercises.
A cup of tea and the newspaper is what I crave for next and my day would be incomplete without them. I head for my office at about 9.00 am, and my team is usually already there.
The first thing I do is to check the orders and messages. I see to it that all pieces are checked before being dispatched to customers.
Then I go on to do my favourite task – creating new designs and blogposts. I enjoy the creative part of the business every bit and do a lot of research to find out what new can we offer our customers every day.
Once the designs are finalised, we call the factory guys in or go to factory to explain what is needed. The most satisfying part of the day is to see the sample made based on your design.
The next stop is the photo-shoot, as everything is sold online. A good photo-shoot lifts the mood of the team completely as we know, “Jo achha dikhta hai…woh bikta hai!” (What looks good sells well).
Sometimes there are bulk orders and the whole day goes in checking, preparing and sticking the goods with the team.
There are days which are spent in the fabric market and that’s also extremely exciting… the high that I get after getting a good print and colour cannot explained in words.
Stress during the day is usually in the form of sales pressure and customer feedback. Due to fierce competition in the online business, we need to be on our toes to market ourselves well, so the people browsing through get interested and then of course, we need to provide quality stuff to maintain customer satisfaction.
Since my office is in a mall, I take a round of other outlets to see what the offline stores are doing and how they are priced. That itself is a big stress buster. I also like to go to various fashion portals to see what new trends are on and that’s relaxing for me. I try to reach out to the buyers at various partner portals at least once a day to see how we can offer better value to customers. Since Facebook is a big part of online marketing, I often open my account and read my friends’ updates to take a break.
Come 5.30pm and it’s time to head to my son’s daycare, pick him up and go home to have some chat sessions with him, where he openly shares his day with me. I become his best friend for that time and then get into the Mom role to get homework done and make him have his dinner.
My husband is generally back by 8.30 when all this is done and I get ready to share my day’s experience with him, getting his feedback on work too. That’s when I realize how much I achieved during the day!
We have our dinner together and then I go to bed, usually with a book. Reading a page or two completes my day!
As an entrepreneur, my day is as busy as it was when I was working in the corporate sector… but both my objectives, of spending more time with my son and satisfying the business woman inside me are served.
*Photo credit: Meena Joshi
Are you a woman running a business in India? Would you like your story to appear in our Day In The Life Of An Entrepreneur series? Email us at admin AT womensweb DOT in with an interesting account of a day running your business, and we may publish it! (For example, what was the one interesting thing you did that day? Did you meet someone new/had a conversation with a customer? What thrills you at work? What are some business challenges you’re currently grappling with?) Also send us a few pictures of you at work – with your team, at your desk, at the factory, meeting a customer….
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