One fine day, Kanika Yadav,a stay-at-home mother of 2 kids decided to venture into entrepreneurship. She tells us why she chose to do so and what her journey has been like so far.
How did the idea of Ekatrra.com come about?
I have always been interested in fine fabrics, traditional weaves, hand embroideries and interesting silhouettes. I've always loved wearing Indian traditional attires. Being completely bored of the mass produced offerings in retail shops, I wanted to find unconventional designers offering quality clothing. That's when I realised what a challenge it is and how difficult it is to hop from one exhibition to another to find these designers.
I started collecting business cards wherever I went and every now and then I tried contacting a few, I would then quite often find out that their shops were either being shut or being displaced. Talking to my peers I knew my problem was not a small one. It represented a very large gap in the Indian fashion Industry. If you come to think of it, thousands of designers pass out from fashion schools each year, and sadly, very few are able to make a mark. Where do these designers go? While they vanish or settle in a quaint corner in some city, millions of customers who appreciate design either travel distances to find their favourite piece or end up unhappily settling for the products from the shop next door for the same price that would very well buy them a good handcrafted design. There was no bridge to fill this gap. I faced the problem first hand and knew there was scope to do something about it. If only there could be an online space that could feature the best of designers, and offer great variety to the customers, it will solve problems on both sides. It would give access to designer wear with just a few clicks, while designers find it easy to gain access to customers. That is how a thought lead to a vision and Ekatrra came about.
What sets your e-venture apart?
We understand the pain points of customers closely. Whether it is the need to customize to suit a social need or to find a perfect fit, the flexibility of payment options or to have a pre-selected design offering that saves time with the trust of quality, we focus on solving these pain points and that is what sets us apart. We are customer centric and want to solve their styling problems.
Tell us about your past work experiences, childhood experiences that stand out today, how has it shaped you?
Since childhood I have been a very resilient person, taking life as it comes and giving it my best. I had the privilege to spend my growing up years in a boarding school that provided an all-round environment for learning and growth. The years spent there have had an impact on what I am today. My mother, has always been a pillar of support. She has always stood for fairness, equality and honesty and made sure she instilled that in us (all siblings). My father inspired me to work hard by the way he led his life. All these things and many more have shaped me into what I am. And the process continues. The other day my 11 yr old tells me "Mumma, you have to check your time management skills" *Laughs* Well, he has done his bit to make me rethink and try to shape me into an organised person.
From working mother to entrepreneur - tell us about this part of the journey. How did friends / family react? What was it like?
I have mostly been a stay at home mother. I studied full-time interior design after my son was born and having briefly and successfully freelanced as an interior designer, I had to take a break again. Back home, I kept thinking about what I wanted to do next and when I shared this idea with a dear friend of mine over a cup of coffee, that day I knew this was my calling. My friends and family have been very supportive of my decision and they've helped me along the way. With two kids, there was no way I could have done this if I didn't enjoy family support.
What plans do you have for the future? More ventures? A full-time work profile?
I plan to dedicate myself to building Brand Ekatrra and being true to my mission. I just want to add more and more customer friendly features with time and get more and more designers on board so that a niche shopper knows where to go for their needs instead of hunting every nook and corner.
As an entrepreneur in the e-commerce area, where do your main challenges lie today?
To be able to make this a self-sustaining platform.
What is a typical day at work like for you?
I work from wherever I am and no one day is alike. I'm still in the very early stages of entrepreneurship and the stability and comfort of a predictable schedule is quite far away.
Any thoughts for our readers?
Whatever you think of, whatever you dream of, just take the first step and begin the journey.