Web-powered entrepreneurs Ashwarya and Farah talk to Samvitha Ram about their online business and the perks that come with it.
Young entrepreneurs seem to be the trend in metropolitan India, innovating and launching everything from new magazines and websites to gadgets and designer wear. Lately we’ve seen a rise in teenage entrepreneurs, who have started entirely web-powered business. Using popular e-commerce websites such as E-bay, Junglee, and Etsy, or even social media digital platforms like Facebook, the next generation is taking sales a step forward.
We found two young girls, Ashwarya Surya (in Chennai and Delhi) and Farah Kazani (in Mumbai), who started jewellery and accessory businesses, with no prior experience, and they rely solely on the web to promote, advertise and sell their products.
Where did you get this idea to start Black Vionnet?
I have always wanted to start a business. I’ve been very interested in the idea of sales and design from a very young age, and when the time was right, I had the idea of using the web to run my own little business. Hence the birth of Black Vionnet!
Tell us more about Black Vionnet.
My business is one that specialises in accessories and goods for the young women of today. On our Facebook page, you will see product shots of all the new stock we get. The whole process, from designs to marketing to sales is my effort. I usually design the accessories (handbags, brooches, earrings, jewellery sets) and these designs get made at various locations. Once they arrive, I put up product shots, some with and some without models, and I’m able to gauge the viewer response. All a customer has to do to is order, is to comment ‘Black Vionnet’ on the picture, and message us their address and details.
What do you feel is the difference between you (as a teenage entrepreneur) and other entrepreneurs?
I feel that there are two main differences between me and other entrepreneurs. First, unlike other entrepreneurs, I don’t believe in great profits. Sure, it’s great to make some money (and that is usually the aim of most businesses such as mine), but for me, customer satisfaction is the most important. I always ask (and usually receive) feedback from customers after delivery, and I post the positive comments on the page, so that my customers can know that they are important to me. The second difference is that Facebook has truly revolutionised my business. It’s an easy way for me to target the young generation, and let them see and buy my products. It’s both advertising and sales in 21st century.
Going forward, what do you see in store for Black Vionnet?
Since product life cycle is short in this era, I frequently change my designs. This is the norm for Black Vionnet. If you’ve followed the store on Facebook over the past few months, you’ll see that I’ve changed my product portfolios often. There is usually new stock coming up every few weeks, and for all the major holidays (Christmas, New Year’s and Valentine ’s Day). Even the types of products that I market change, from rings, neckpieces to cluthes and brooches… and I see this being a definite trend for the store. Product innovation is my main strategy and I foresee a 10% growth on every new product launch.
Check out Aswarya’s store at: https://www.facebook.com/BlackVionnet?fref=ts
What made you get into the jewellery business?
Making key-chains and other hand-made goodies has always been a hobby of mine. Soon, I wanted to explore other avenues. I went on YouTube and searched “ How to make jewellery ”, and the search turned up quite a few hits. I made a list of all the raw materials that I would require to make necklaces and bracelets, and my dad got them for me. Since then, I’ve been an avid fan of YouTube tutorials, and have never stopped making new accessories.
What do you do to get people to buy your products (i.e. marketing strategies)?
I posted a video on YouTube a while back, and unexpectedly, it grew to be quite popular (almost 800 views so far!). The funny thing is that at first, I had included my voice as the soundtrack, taking the viewer through the steps of the tutorial, but I ended up changing it to a music soundtrack instead. I got such a positive response for the video that I created an online ‘shop’, and started putting up a lot of my hand-made products there. So far, I’ve sold a lot of jewellery and key-chain items on there.
Do you have a name for your company/business? Who is your target audience?
I was watching videos on YouTube, as I mentioned earlier, and I found out that a lot of people were uploading a lot of their hand made creations on a site called Etsy. I created my own account, and named my online shop ‘Craftastic Honey’ (feel free to look me up!), inspired by the names of the two craft gurus on YouTube, who’ve been my inspirations. Slowly, I started to ‘upload’ my products, and set up a PayPal account to run the business and allow customers to have an easy way to pay. My main target audience are the people from countries like the United States, as they are the most familiar and most interested in hand-made products like mine and a large part of my views and sales come from them.
How do you plan to keep this up or expand it in the future?
My end goal is to have my own website, instead of renting a shop on Etsy. I know it will take a lot of hard work, and I’ll need to build a large customer base to get there, but I’m determined to make my little business succeed.
Check out Farah’s store at: http://www.etsy.com/shop/CraftasticHoney