Uma Sudhindra Of Go Magic Trails Shares Her Entrepreneurial Story
Uma Sudhindra, the founder of Go Magic Trails a venture that helps you plan vacations with a different theme talks to us about starting up today.
Tell us about yourself
I am an army brat and grew up in the services environment. Travel & meeting lots of new people were an inherent part of my childhood. I graduated from Fergusson College with a degree in Economics & Political Science and went on to finish my Masters in International Relations from JNU. I was a civil service aspirant who had cleared the prelims. By some quirk of fate the subsequent papers were leaked and the whole exam was declared null & void. I had no heart to pursue the same for another year. So, I joined CII (then called CEI) as a management trainee. My corporate life had begun. My roles in various organizations have been in HR and self-taught, as I don’t hold a management degree. My career grew with companies like Dale Carnegie, Chrysalis HRD, IT&T & iGATE. 16 years have been fruitful & fulfilling with a lot of learning and an amazing network of colleagues and friends, who are an invaluable part of my life.
How did the idea of Go Magic Trails come about and what sets your entity apart?
Go Magic Trails was conceptualised late night, when my partner Sonia Sahrawat and I were talking about travels and vacations. The thought struck us that we could create vacations with a different theme making our customers go wow! One thing led to another and in our discussion we finally zeroed in on two trails – Sporting Vacations & IndiExperience. We are an inbound travel & vacation company.
Sporting Vacations – our main focus is to create awareness about combining your favourite sport with a vacation. The three sports that we build itineraries for are golfing, surfing & skiing. These are largely customised itineraries, though we do have some standard packages. Our aim is to develop these kind of sporting vacations where one can enjoy playing and explore India simultaneously.
IndiExperience – this segment gets our customers to explore offbeat places in India. We want to promote certain areas here, like the North East, Jharkhand, Odisha, and Andhra Pradesh & Telangana. Most people will go to Rajasthan, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Goa, and Pondicherry. These are states with mature tourism processes and systems. IndiExperience includes experiencing local culture, history, food, ecology, terrain & of course the people.
Eventually, we would also like to work with state tourism departments in terms of capacity & skill building.
Can you tell us about your previous ventures?
I have been an entrepreneur since 2006. My first venture was an HR consulting firm, which I sold eventually. At present, I am a co-founder of an investment company that invests into start-ups & mentors them. I am also part of two more entrepreneurial ventures that are into technology and polymer printing.
Where do you hope to take Go Magic Trails in the future?
Our dream is to make Go Magic Trails an aggregator in the tourism industry. We want to work with the Ministry of Tourism and help tap the potential we have in our country – Indians are hospitable by nature, what we have to strive for creating absolute qualitative customer delight in all aspects of a holiday. The state tourism departments will need to be supported here. I see Go Magic Trails contributing in a big way.
We are also looking at popularising certain global concepts of vacationing in India.
Personally, I would love to travel and explore more, globally.
Can you tell us what a typical day at work is like for you?
My typical work day is filled with answering mails, calls and coordinating with our consultants. At Go Magic Trails, we work with outsourced partners. Hence, a lot of coordination is required. I am also personally involved with our tech & branding team that manages the website and social media. One of the advantage of running your own business is you lead & give directions & delegate. However, you are also on call 24/7.
How long has it been since you started the venture and can you tell us about some high points and some low points since then?
Go Magic Trails is six months old operationally, though the company was registered one year ago. The high points are that we get to work with partners and customers who are as passionate about travel & vacations as we are. We also get to travel with our customers as we want to ensure that our customer groups experience the quintessential Indian hospitality. The other high for us is that family and friends have been incredibly supportive and chip in wherever they think they can help. J
Our low points happen when we have to think innovatively to build a customer pipeline and ensure the revenues come in consistently. We are small right now, with all the challenges of a start-up: creating a customer base and a pipeline of business, steady flow of income & some good branding & publicity. We have the capability and ability to deliver consistently, we are working towards the rest of the pieces falling into place for us.
What are your thoughts regarding "women and entrepreneurship?"
I will not say “women and entrepreneurship”, I’ll say “women entrepreneurship”. Women Entrepreneurship is not about breaking the glass ceiling. It is about building your own roof, how high…you can decide.
Any other thoughts you would like to leave our readers with?
Looking at a half filled glass of wine, the optimist, pessimist and realist were busy trying to define it. The opportunist very quietly drank the wine in the glass. Life presents us opportunities all the time, we have to explore & take decisions regarding those opportunities. Of course, we won’t always make the right decisions and we’ll mess up royally sometimes. We must understand that failure is not the opposite of success, its part of success.