(The Free Press Journal brings you an innovative series on Unconventional Careers, one unique story everyday. Continue reading to learn more about young people who took chances, braced all odds and used their tenacity to make it big. Swarnavo Dutta is the subject of today's tale.)
The pursuit of a passion as a career remains a dream for many students and young professionals. The growing network of social media especially after the COVID-19 pandemic has given space to many students to manifest their art and hobbies into a commercial pursuit through small businesses. Let us look into the journey of four such small business owners who are at the initial stages of their dream lives.
The Bad Witches Club:
Kaavya Kapoor started her small jewelry business The Bad Witches Club during the COVID-19 lockdown through Instagram and received a satisfactory response. Once the pandemic was over, Kaavya moved to Delhi to continue her undergraduate degree and expanded her business by putting up her stall at multiple festivals, exhibitions, and events. Jewelry making was a hobby that she picked up as a child and while clearing up her room one day, she found her old boxes of beads.
Kaavya Kapoor | File Photo
To make more space in her room, she decided to make a few jewelry pieces out of the beads and ended up opening an online store. Kavya also faced some challenges in her journey such as dealing with vendors, procuring materials during the lockdown, and managing both college and her business offline. Kavya’s business has made her financially satisfied as she would earn back in a day the amount invested in a month. She envisions breaking the stereotype of witchcraft through her endeavor by entering into the narrative of women being magical beings.
The Oven Girl:
Prisha Nagpal started baking at the age of 11. Since then, she used to host cake tastings at her house where all her friends and cousins would show up for a fun and enchanting evening. It was in March 2020 that Prisha branded her home-based bakery and started taking orders online. She started putting up stalls in college festivals, partnered with NGOs and gained a significant amount of confidence.
Prisha Nagpal | File photo
Prisha will join the French pastry school Cordon Bleu in Paris after her bachelor's from Delhi University. Prisha feels that the biggest challenge in the baking business is consistently delivering good quality and taste. Handling a business single-handedly along with college comes as a challenge too but with the support of friends and family it becomes easier.
“The journey has been nothing less than a dream,” says Hunnar Kaushal who started an online store for her illustrations in June 2021 at her mother’s suggestion. The business has taught her many life lessons. Marketing was a roadblock for Hunnar and it was challenging to find customers at a point.
Hunnar Kaushal | File photo
She is grateful for the emotional and financial support received from her family whenever needed and the business ran smoothly for a good amount of time. She earned a good amount but currently, due to college and academics, she has slowed down her business.
Sandhya named her tote bag brand Celesthete which is a compilation of two words celestial and aesthete. ‘Aesthete’ conveyed the idea of a commodity to be aesthetically pleasing while ‘celestial’ was a personal touch that Sandhya added as she found herself deeply in love with nature and the sky.
Sandhya | File photo
Initially, she received customised orders from her friends and family. Managing her finances was a big challenge as she had stopped taking money from her family and needed to learn the art of spending and saving. Other challenges that she faced were to meet up with the client’s expectations, and sending the packages through posts. Sandhya’s family was not supportive of her small business which also posed an emotional challenge for her.
According to Sandhya, the biggest competitors in the industry are commercial brands such as H&M, etc. who deliver their products with a profit-making motive. Sandhya extends her heartiest support to other artists commercialising their original art forms to sustain a living. Currently, Sandhya is attempting to represent her art through her original radical artworks navigating her tribal identity and culture.
(If you have an interesting tale of someone who has dared to go against the grain, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org)