Monday, 22 January 2018

Innovate to Evolve

"Innovate to evolve" was the crisp message by Aayushi Kasliwal- Ghumakkad's former student turned entrepreneur. Aayushi did her early schooling at The Daly College Indore. She obtained BA (Hons) in Philosophy from Lady Sriram College Delhi before joining IBS Hyderabad for MBA. She is a finance professional turned entrepreneur. She worked in the finance sector for more than two years. 

Even as an MBA student, she stood out. Here is a recall of Personal Effectiveness course which I took for Aayushi's batch in 2010 at IBS Hyderabad. When the whole class was still watching the video clip, Aayushi appeared to be answering the questions. It was an on-line test on listening skills. See the picture taken in 2010 below.

Aayushi credits her success in large measure to team work in the college.

Hailing from Indore in Madhya Pradesh, Aayushi made designer soaps for Sankranti - the festival of kite flying! See the picture below:

Aayushi's story in her own words follows.

      How did the idea for your business come?
Two years back I started with my business-Soapatite which deals in designer handmade soaps! These range from honey, oatmeal, charcoal, aloe vera and lemon to even chocolate, coffee, and green tea! The soaps are all handcrafted and hand-wrapped. No harsh detergents or synthetic materials are added to the bars. Being a self funded start-up, I’ve always focused on making soaps in small batches which in turn gives the utmost perfection in each of them.
During the initial days, I used to make a few batches of soaps and try them on my near and dear ones and even gift them to friends and relatives. With sustained demand for these soaps within my social circle prompted me to take it up to the next level of turning it into a business.

Over a period of time, I had a lot of requests for customized orders. What started as a hobby, soon turned into a small home run business. What worked for me was that people nowadays have become more aware of the harmful effects of the chemicals being used in commercially manufactured soaps and are gradually looking up to natural and organic living. My brand makes customised soaps and even takes bulk orders. 

   Has your entrepreneurial journey been as exciting as you had expected it to be?
For all the aspiring and budding women entrepreneurs out there, trust me there’s nothing that can stop you from pursuing your dreams. Initially I did face a few hurdles in convincing my family and friends about the whole concept of handmade soaps as a business idea. But then when people started appreciating the whole concept and talking about it amongst themselves, I think, that’s where my carpers got their answers.
I feel Soapatite is still a budding start-up but what makes me going is the positive feedback from my customers. With almost two years into the business, I can proudly say that people love my soaps and I find great joy and utmost satisfaction when people come back to me and say that their skin feels very good after using Soapatite’s soap. Here is the link to her web page.
What are the key challenges that you are facing in your enterprise and how do you plan to overcome it​?​
It’s been close to two years, since I started my entrepreneurial journey, and like any other startup founder, I have had my shares of highs and lows. The initial challenge was to make people aware of the harmful effects of chemicals which were present in the store-bought soaps. And I believe, there is still a long way to go before people appreciate the value of natural products, and come to terms with having to pay a premium for them. While it’s a long mile ahead, the journey is certainly paved with some interesting learnings, which has helped me to get closer to my goal of becoming a master in my chosen field of endeavour.
As far as marketing for my brand is concerned, it has been mostly 
through below-the-line activities like sampling, exhibitions and word of mouth. I also participate in many exhibitions in my hometown and nearby cities. Social media has helped me a great deal to receive online orders and to take my business to cities like Guwahati, Baroda, Gandhinagar and Surat.

    What is your message for present students who want to take the entrepreneurial dive?​
Sharing some lessons from my entrepreneurial journey here, which I feel may benefit my budding peers. 
1.  Constantly Innovate to evolve, be dedicated and creative and improvise based on customer feedback, take criticisms in your stride; success can come from even the most basic ideas with a ‘twist’; learning is a perpetual process, learn and grow.

2.  Assign redundant and less important work to staff, so that you can devote your time and energy to other major tasks. While as a startup you would prefer to keep it lean in size, it’s preferable to identify and allocate least important tasks to some other capable person

3.  Put your CSR learnings to practice. Realize, that its not purely about you and your business. It’s equally important to give back to the society by being a socially responsible and ethical person. Take out time to serve and help others. Trust me, it’ll make you feel so much better about yourself and in turn help your business too!

4.  Appreciate and celebrate small victories, even if it means rejoicing over a small Thank you note from a customer; you don’t always need a big, outstanding client to mark your success. Recognizing small achievements can raise your morale and give you that motivation to keep going.

5. And most importantly, enjoy this beautiful journey and lead by example, as only a contended and passionate person can build a great start-up!!

Aayushi has shared an exclusive two-minute video with you. 

Aayushi's story is the fourth in a series titled 'Proof of the Pudding'It showcases Ghumakkad's ten former students who have become successful entrepreneurs in last 15 yearsTheir enterprises may not be huge, but they have followed their heart. They have pursued their passion. It was such a pleasure to reconnect with these former students and to learn their success stories. 

Thanks are due to the following entrepreneurs who came forward to share their stories.

MBA Graduation
Business Area
Venture Name & Location
MBA(HR) IBS(2010)
Career Coaching
HRscope Consultants, Patna
MBA(HR) IBS (2010)
Entertainment/ Theatre and Performing Arts
XpressionZ, Bangalore
MBA(Mktg) IBS (2012)
Image Consultant, Corporate Trainer
Tualmagis, Mumbai
Aayushi Kasliwal
MBA(Fin) IBS (2012)
Designer Soaps- manufacture and supply
Soapatite, Indore
Preksha Jain
MBA(Mktg) IBS(2013)
Designer Apparels and Accessories
Preksha Jain – The Fashionate, Kolkata
Anjali Raj
BBA IBS(2013)
Healthy Mother, Healthy Baby
ILove9Months, Kochi
Ishita Raksha and Nidhi Upadhyay
BBA IBS(2013)
A Gourmet Dessert Studio
17 Sugar Street, Hyderabad
Sriram Gundepudi
Employability Skills Training
Digi Freaks,Hyderabad
Amrut Charan
PGDM(Fin) VVISM (2016)
Digital Marketing, Web/App Development
Aresol India, Visakhapatnam

More stories of these young achievers will follow soon. Stay connected.

Thanks for browsing,

     - Harsh-the-Ghumakkad/ 22nd Jan 2018
#Entrepreneurship #IndiaShining #StartupIndia #IBSHyderabad #VVISMHyderabad #GhumakkadHB #GhumakkadHarsh #Soapatite #AayushiKasliwal #WomenEntrepreneurs #Innovation 

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