Dhruva Patel: NIFT Graduate Designing Stunning Handbags since Age 12!
She designed her first bag at the tiny age of 12, with felts and beads! And I guess, it’s safe to say she hasn’t stopped ever since. An NIFT, Chennai graduate, Dhruva Patel always had a passion for designing products. And she soon found her forte designing bright-colored arm candies (read bags and handbags) for her own label, “dhruva”.
Like they say, “You can never be too rich, too thin, or have too many handbags.”
Dhruva epitomizes this with her label. Every girl’s dream is to have a closet full of bags (don’t nod your head, you secretly wish for it ;-)). And once you have a look at “dhruva”’s bags, it’s hard to stick by those monthly shopping budgets. Bright reds, oranges, greens and blues, she sure knows how to create the quintessential statement pieces.
We caught up with Dhruva to know more about her label and her entrepreneurial journey as a fashion accessory designer. We started off with a few questions about her label. Here’s the interview.
1. What is your brand all about and what do you sell?
My brand, “dhruva”, is all about Fashion & Lifestyle Accessories. I started with a range of leather Handbags & Accessories as of now and will hopefully venture into footwear & lifestyle products.
Beginning with the creation of handbags, it has always been my passion. A bag that makes you feel special in every way! You will never go unnoticed with these beauties!
The brand is very self expressive; it represents itself with colour, concept and a technique which binds all these elements together to bring about a piece which could be treasured for ages to come. Each design is created with great passion from a hand drawn sketch to a handbag wrapped in leather with tons of emotions attached to have and to hold close to your heart.
2. When and how did “dhruva” start out? How long did you play with the idea before you started out?
“dhruva” started out as a fully fledged label in 2011 but I had played around with the idea since 2008 when I graduated from NIFT. “dhruva” started out with few small leather clutches and slowly moved into bigger bags.
3. What was the one major challenge you overcame since you started out?
Well the challenges are never ending; it’s an ongoing process. But the biggest challenge was taking the decision of starting the label itself.
4. What was “dhruva”s first product and what is the story behind it?
Actually the product that got me started on building my label was a chain wallet which I made for myself as I could not find anything like it in the market.
5. How have your audiences received your brand? Which is your best selling product?
There are varied comments on my brand. Mostly everyone has liked the colours & the unique design which it has like no other. They find that my products stand out among the crowd. My clients have appreciated the brand with regard to the quality & the overall range that “dhruva” has. These are three of my best sellers.
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?
We retail through a lot of multi-designer stores across the country, like Ffolio Bangalore, Nautanky Ahmedabad, Sobo Mumbai and Studio Saks Chennai. And internationally through ODEL in Sri Lanka.
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?
Being online with “dhruva” is easy for my customers, since they can look at my products and the relevant details at no cost of travelling to the store. Yet they have the added advantage of exchanging the product if they don’t like it.
And the process of going online has been fun and encouraging for us to. With the online store, we can let our customers checkout our range and shop, from the comforts of their home or office.
The experience of setting up an online store has been quite time-consuming, uploading the products and everything else. And a little tedious when it came to the payment gateways. But my experience of setting up an online store with Zepo has been great! 🙂 Its totally a hassle free interface and they have really good customer support services where every doubt is cleared almost instantly.
8. What is the one activity that has worked best for you in online marketing? Any marketing tips for our entrepreneurs and artists?
Well I’m not someone who could give anyone advice on the marketing bit. But even then I would say social networking sites have the advantage of reaching huge audiences which can be leveraged to your brand’s advantage, if captured cleverly.
Moving on to more candid questions, here’s what she had to say about success and motivation.
1. How do you define success?
I would say success is not a destination; it’s the process that is involved that makes you feel special in what you do.
2. Keeping the same levels of enthusiasm everyday is not easy. What keeps you inspired and motivated every day?
You always need to look at things from a third person’s point of view and think that every day will bring something special for you. Believing in yourself is the most important of all.
3. What are some of the decisions that have worked best for you?
The decision, as mentioned earlier, to start of my own label would be my best. And the other choice of going on with it despite of failures.
4. What is the one big mistake that you made as an entrepreneur?
Not listening to your own inner voice & conscience. All what you need to know is within yourself.
5. What has been your proudest moment as an entrepreneur?
Making my customers happy!!! 😀
6. If you could give one piece of advice to would-be entrepreneurs, looking to follow in your footsteps, what would it be?
Follow your own instincts and anything that you take up, do it passionately.
7. Where all can our readers connect with your brand? (your Facebook page, your twitter handle)
This post was first published on Mumbai Mag.
It is never to early or late to follow your passion and be your own boss. If Dhruva could start at 12 and made her vigour go up as the years progressed, so can you! Go ahead and give Zepo a try and start your online store in the next 5 mins. What’s holding you back?