From Doodling to Entrepreneurship : Chattin’ with Priya from StopNStare
Since we started out, almost 18 months, we come across awe – inspiring entrepreneurs everyday, who have sacrificed a lot to reach where they are today. And after all the hardships and challenges they have faced, they wake up every day with the same enthusiasm and passion.
These are the people who push us harder everyday to keep creating and innovating at Zepo, and deliver the very best to you. And that is why we wanted to give back a little something to this awesome community, in return for being our inspiration.
So from this month onward, we are going to start sharing with you the Zepo Success Stories, wherein we will feature one cool entrepreneur and their brand and tell their story to the world.
This new series is going to be about you – your journey, what made you start, why you choose to start selling online and how it all changed your life.
And here is this week’s Fabulous Store and the face behind it.
Here’s her story and your dose of inspiration for the week! 🙂
1. What is your brand all about and what do you sell?
Stop N Stare is all about fashion jewellery some of which are handmade, some sourced from manufacturers but the majority of which are designed by either the craftsmen or are self designed. I personally love to make beaded jewellery.
2. When and how did Stop N Stare start out? How long did you play with the idea before you started out?
Stop N Stare was born on 2 Feb 2011, through a Facebook page. 🙂
I have always been very creatively inclined. I didn’t realize this myself. Of course, it is our friends who just help us recognize ourselves. I used to doddle alot and scribble in my notebooks all the time.
During my 12th, way back in 2005, there weren’t that many jewellery designing schools to hone one’s skills. So, like every ambitious girl, I moved to Kolkata for higher studies and after much hard work, found out SinGem. I also had a list of career choices. But there was just something about these little treasures that I so loved. But, of course, after doing a course one has to start off somewhere. I had been researching and networking with a lot of jewellery designers. But I never really had the confidence to start off big.
After my MBA , I came back home and really had to start off something somewhere. And, I knew the beginning will always be small. I wrote over 100 names then finally decided on the name “Stop n Stare” on Facebook, never knowing that one day I would be writing this as the name it ought to be.
I didn’t even have any raw materials to start off. All I had were some hoops and recycled beads that I had been collecting from here-and-there. I put a lot of love and effort in designing these treasures, be it sketching, or finally making them with whatever materials I had. I am really glad that people have loved them and appreciate my efforts.
3. What was the one major challenge you overcame since you started out?
When I started to make jewellery, I didn’t have any raw materials. Even though I knew what was to be used, I had no idea about where to get them from, what price are they sold at or even what to make. I had placed my trust entirely on my heart, and put my mind to work on the creative side.
I can’t travel much, so all I had was my laptop, the internet and the power to use it the best possible way. I never sat idle and kept on researching. I sort out some of the best Chinese supplies and still continue to get them delivered at my remote address. This made my belief stronger that if you really work hard on what you want, no matter how many challenges you face and how big they are, you are sure to find out a way like I did. Soon I gained the confidence which grew multi-fold when people kept coming to me with their orders.
Another essential thing was choosing the best courier services. As I sell a physical product, it became important that I find a suitable courier to ship my product, especially when you have a global customer base and have to ship worldwide. As I am from a small town, this became a cause of great concern. Most courier agencies (DTDC, Flyking, etc) refused to take my shipment due the label “Jewellery”. Hence I used the good old Indian Postal Service’s Speed Post.
People think that it is an old-fashioned and retarded system. But take it from someone who has actually done business with them that their service has come a long way. And it is goooood, not to mention a life-saver in my case. 🙂
4. What was StopnStare’s first product and what is the story behind it?
The first products born under the Stop N Stare brand were my handmade cards!
5. How have your audiences received your brand? Which is your best selling product?
Stop N Stare received awesome love, support and encouragement. More than I could ever have imagined.
6. Apart from your online store, what are some of your other point of sales? Say, exhibitions, retail outlets, etc. Which one has worked best for you?
1. At wholesale prices to resellers
2. Through women who run their own studio’s, and
3. Exhibitions. They give you a completely different feeling altogether – people relate with your brand, your products and you on a personal level, something with which they had just ever interacted online. You can really build good relations and create trust.
Exhibitions work best for me. You get to interact with your clients and customers, And others too, who don’t shop online. There are a lot of people out there who will love your work and your products but aren’t able to own them. This is the chance to reach out to prospects like these at exhibitions and other such events. 🙂
7. What was the one thing that pushed you to start selling online? And how has the whole experience of setting up your own online store been?
In my case, since I belong to a very small place I didn’t have any option but to create what I love, make it big and take it online. It all started with a Facebook page. Creating a store with Zepo was as exciting to me as when I began with the page.
8. What is the one activity that has worked best for you in online marketing? Any marketing tips for our entrepreneurs and artists?
Interact and interact some more, as much as you can. Keep having contests, keep giveaways and make sure the contest is such that it really gives a chance to people to express. Gift alot – more than the person being happy, you will be glad when they feel happy. We all love to receive gifts 🙂
No marketing tips as such just that remember people, remember their names and make them feel special.
So, that was the story about your brand. But now talking on a more personal note, let’s find out a little more about your ideas as an entrepreneur.
1. How do you define success?
I don’t know how to define success. For me what matters is doing something from your heart, following your passion and the feeling of accomplishment that it gives. Doing what I love to do and making everyone smile. Success is all about the holistic satisfaction of mind, body and soul. All in perfect harmony <3
2. Keeping the same levels of enthusiasm everyday is not easy. What keeps you inspired and motivated every day?
Yes it is difficult but not too much when you love what you do. You never get tired of it. You actually always look for newer ways of higher accomplishments and obviously the proud smile on your parents’ face keeps u going. Patience is the key, immense patience.
3. What are some of the decisions that have worked best for you?
When I started off with Stop N Stare, I didn’t know what I was doing or whether it was wrong or right. But I kept following my heart and put in my best efforts in everything I did. Now looking back I realize that there are some good decisions I made – first, the decision of selling on online portals which gives you alot of recognition and second, having your own online store on your domain name. It makes me proud and really happy.
4. What is the one big mistake that you made as an entrepreneur?
I took some decisions in haste without having any tech knowledge which I have now corrected with Zepo. I found myself at the right place with the right people at right time 🙂
5. What has been your proudest moment as an entrepreneur?
There are lot of small moments which make me smile like when your friends, family and clients appreciate you for your work. The best was when I got recognition in Ranchi for the handmade range.
6. If you could give one piece of advice to would-be entrepreneurs, looking to follow in your footsteps, what would it be?
There is nothing like risk, coz I think that our whole life is a probability. Hence just do what you really want to do and innovate new methods. Try to make a difference in some way. Keep researching, stay updated and keep taking advice from those who are already there where you want to reach. Also, invest sensibly but most importantly, plan out well (have a action plan) and most definitely have a goal to chase and be mad about it. 🙂
Thank you Priya, for taking out the time, as always and sharing your journey with us! Cheers to you. And we wish StopNStare and you lots more success and joy!
PS. Would you like to say something to Priya? Or ask something? Drop us a comment below, and we’ll have a discussion.
Feeling inspired? You can be an awesome entrepreneur too! Go ahead, start your online business today!