NASSCOM Product Conclave / First Ever Design Summit #NPC2014 At Idiom on 29 Oct 2014

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NASSCOM Product Conclave / First ever Design Summit #NPC2014 @Design_Idiom on 29 Oct 2014
By Sonia Manchanda

When design meets technology, that’s when the magic begins…

Nasscom’s 1st Design Summit was hosted in India’s Tech Capital, Bangalore at the campus of the interdisciplinary design firm – Idiom.

The ever-enthusiastic Ravi Gururaj, Chairman of Frictional Ventures, opened the design summit by introducing the organizers of the event, Sonia Manchanda, Co-Founder of Idiom, Deepa Bachu, Director of Product Management and Experience Design at Intuit, and MC of the event, Sunil Gopinath and Muki Ragunathan.

The design summit at Idiom consisted of an engaging mix of speakers and workshops that stressed the importance of integrating design and technology. Nick Talbot, Global Head of Design and Innovation at Tata Elxsi, was the first speaker of the day. Nick holds a degree in Transportation Design and his company designed the world’s first hydrogenated-fuel bike. Nick spoke about how his approach to delivering an intelligent product is by putting anthropology before technology. He also touched upon opportunities in India where technology can be used such as healthcare, and how the ‘new consumer’ has an increasing diversity of tastes, styles and functional requirements. Nick believes we need real insights to create great technology and that there are great opportunities in India where an increasing number of people such as farmers, etc. are demanding useful technology.

Using Design-Thinking in Our Everyday Lives, was a panel moderated by Deepa Bachu, and consisted of Sachin Kelkar, Head of APAC Scale Program at Intel, Jay Dutta, Head of Experience Design, Adobe India, Narendra Ghatge, Chief Designer, Tata Elxsi and Sneha Lakshman, Co-Founder, Dig Design Studio. The panel discussed how design thinking should be introduced in schools, and how it could make an impact across our personal and professional decisions. All speakers felt customer insights are an extremely important factor for great design.

Sonia Manchanda moderated the Design Culture Workshop where participants were made to realize out-of-the-box insights, and were taught design-thinking tools and techniques they could use in their workplaces or at home. Participants were asked to role-play a teacher and a student, where they recognized key insights such as students needing immediate gratification and constant engagement for effective and interesting education. Idiom’s design-thinking tools allowed participants to understand the design-thinking process and realize how it is essential to solve any problem mindfully. Sonia stressed the importance of designing effective solutions by having several opinions, insights, learning’s’ in the process.

The Leading by Design Workshop was moderated by two design leaders (and brothers) who differentiated between UI, UX, CX and discussed how to unleash the power of CX (Customer Experience) in an organization. Prasad Kantamneni, CEO of UX Reactor and Satyam Kantamneni, Group Director, User Experience & Design at Citrix Systems spoke to a diverse group of participants from business, design, managers and engineers about the process of harnessing the power of CX in their organization.

Both brothers believe that Customer Experience (CX) must be integral to all aspects of the organization, and that this is where an organization can differentiate itself and build a competitive advantage. A culture of experimentation, hiring strategies, importance of the different types of research – formative, validation and sensorial – at different stages in the business, and a core message of “ITERATE, ITERATE, ITERATE UNTIL AWESOME” were some of the key takeaways.

Design Transforms Business was a session moderated by Sonia Manchanda that consisted of speakers – Pallavi Gupta, Co-Founder of Mast Kalandar, Kaushal Sarda, CEO of Kuliza, and Sudhir Tiwari, President and COO of Thoughtworks. This session covered the experiences of the speakers, and how they believe design interventions transformed their businesses.

Bridging Gaps Between Founding Philosophies and Final Design was a session where two top executives, Rajesh Bysani, Assistant VP Product at FreeCharge.in and Harish Sivaramakrishnan, VP Front End Engineering & UX, FreeCharge.in, took the participants through the journey of their revolutionary service – Freecharge – specifically focusing on the power of harnessing the Customer Experience and the capability of design and design thinking to demonstrate that while detours may have to be taken, you needn’t compromise to ensure a successful translation of your vision. The key message of the talk was to ‘set up your customers for absolute success’ and ensure that the customer’s pain points are central to every aspect of the design experience itself.

The Design for Delight Workshop was conducted by Apparna Ramadoss, Group Development Manager at Intuit India. The workshop used tools and templates such as the NEXT tool, and participants were coached by Intuit coaches on designing experiments. The experiments were then performed on real life scenarios.

Intuit’s main aim for this experiment is to change lives with easier and innovative methods.

Organizer of the Design Summit and Director of Product Management & User Experience Design, eBay, Sunil Gopinath, moderated the ‘Designing World Class Consumer Experiences – UX Process, Methods & Learnings’ session. The session consisted of speakers, Sree Unnikrishnan, Founder & CEO, Design Ventures, Deepak Menon, Head – UX Practice Hyderabad IDC, Microsoft Corp and Pradeep Joseph, Director of User Experience, Robert Bosch Engineering. The panel focused on identifying patterns, deliverables and key stakeholders essential for a successful and effective team.

Co-Founders of Peepal Design Aurobinda Pradhan and Durga Prasad Vemula led the Fueling Innovation through Research led Design session. The co-founders of Peepal Design spoke about what UX Research is, and how it can be best utilized to maximize the success of a product. The speakers covered the importance of research, the different types of research – Market Research, UX Research and Design Research – and when to best use each of them in the product development process. They believe that while market research is a great tool to understand the market and to verify insights with large samples, it is best geared to answer “what” questions and is not the best tool to understand the needs and priorities of customer. UX research on the other hand, focuses on answering the “why” questions through observing real world user behavior. In short, Market Research is best for exploration and understanding opportunities, UX Research is best for gaining insight and evaluating behavior, and Design Research should be used for the actual process and creation of the design. The speakers listed various ways in which this can be ensued from Stories and Personas to User Diaries and Private Blogs, User Journey Maps to User Scenarios, and Interactive mockups to Discovery Design and Finding workshops. The speakers stressed that ‘down and dirty methods’ and quick iterations were much more important than a polished solution.

Why Design Led Innovation was a session moderated by Rakesh Mishra, Director of Marketing at Target. Rakesh provided the example of the Burberry Kisses ad, which transformed the nature and popularity of the business as it inbuilt design and technology. Rakesh believes that we live in a world of equals, and innovation is needed to stand out.

In the evening, the summit hosted a superfast, interactive and engaging track with short talks on Design Explorations. Speakers such as Boris Gomes, Project Lead at Dream:In, Puneet Gupta, Entrepreneur in Residence, SAP Labs India, Muddasir Hussain, Marketing Head, Dirty Hands, Ragini Lall and Ashis Pandey from Quest Alliance and Delmo Oliveira, an Idiom Design Intern from Brazil quickly covered their experiments with design. Boris had the audience shaking their hips to Shakira while Muddasir passed around an extremely realistic silicon-hand.

The Nasscom design summit concluded with a unique session on Lean Experimentation with speakers Abhijit Bansod, Founder and Principal Designer, Studio ABD and Kedar Nayak, Music Entrepreneur and founder of Octavium. The session was moderated by Muki Ragunathan, Founder of Peppersquare.

Abhijit strongly advocates for Products Made in India, and took the audience through watches he has designed for Titan, inspired by Indian architecture, amongst many other eclectic products.

Kedar engaged the audience by playing famous soundtracks that allowed the audience to realize the impact of well-designed music. Kedar showed us how music and design are subjective experiences, but together can trigger objective emotions.

The organizers of the summit Sonia, Deepa, Sunil and Muki concluded the conference by explaining that they organized this conference in pursuit of really great people who could talk and think design.

Idiom Design and Consulting volunteered its space for the Nasscom Product Conclave’s design summit to stress the importance of integrated design and technology.


DREAM:IN’S DREAM CHALLENGE 2014

*Announcing* DREAM:IN’s Dream Challenge 2014

This is an amazing opportunity to win a one of three grand prizes of 3 months at IDIOM DESIGN & CONSULTING, India’s largest and most vibrant design firm.

Entry into the contest is simple:

All you have to do is like our facebook page (this is a must for the contest, don’t forget), record a short video (even one with your mobile phone is fine), and a quick write up about your dream venture. Send it to us at dream@dreamin.in. If you make one of the top spots, your video will be uploaded to our youtube page, where it will be judged by our panel experts, the 3 I’s, and lastly, how much you promote your dream on facebook. The combination of the three scores will win the grand prize which would be announced the 1st week in Jan, 2015.

It’s an amazing opportunity for you to win a great prize of getting India’s biggest design firm to work on your venture!

What are you waiting for? Record your dream, write your description and send it over to us!

Good luck to all who enter!

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St. Xavier’s College Students Pay DREAM:IN A Visit

Last week, students from St. Xavier’s College, in Mumbai came to the DREAM Center. They were greeted with a short inspiring introduction video to the power of design in India, and a brief talk by Idiom Design & Consulting & DREAM:IN co-founder Sonia Manchanda. Soon after, they were taught about the power of dreams, why it’s important to dream, and the relationship between dreams and entrepreneurship.

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Delmo Oliveira, a designer interning at Idiom, from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, took the stage to talk to the students about his recent travels throughout China while he was a student at ‘Parsons the New School for Design’ in New York for DREAM:IN CHINA.  He traveled with his classmates to three cities in China, Shanghai, Beijing, & Hong Kong, where they hosted DREAM:IN Conclaves in each city. It was inspiring to show the St. Xavier students that DREAM:IN is a global movement, that reaches far beyond Bangalore, India. DREAM:IN has hosted similar conclaves in New York & Brazil as well.

Students then learned how dreams are like fruits, in the sense that there are three parts to a dream; the skin, the flesh, and the core. The skin is the outer layer which represents our fears & anxieties, which could just be our own basic fear about our daily lives like our health and financial security. Beyond that is the fleshy part of a fruit represents our wishes and desires, or what we would like to get out of life. In the core is the creative center, what we really dream of doing, which has the potential to grow into a fruit tree or a full blown venture. This concept is presented through the Dream Catching Tool.

Students examining the Dream Catching Tool

Students examining the Dream Catching Tool

After learning how to record dreams, the students were then challenged to use this information, and catch the dreams of their fellow students by recording a short video with their mobile phones.

To see some of what the students recorded, and hear some of their dreams, go to this link: https://www.facebook.com/dreaminteam/videos

At the very end, there was a short presentation of the recorded dreams, and the students were welcomed back, if they felt the calling to expand and work towards their dreams more. They left inspired to say the least.


FEATURED ENTREPRENEUR – HOLYSTOKED

This week’s ‘Featured Entrepreneur’ is a group of 4 guys, who started a skateboard collective around India. We talked with Abhishek, who’s one of the founders of ‘Holystoked’. What started with 4 guys now has grown to about 100 skaters, nationally. They want to use skating to promote expression and creativity within the youth, especially those living in poverty.

DREAM:IN: Hey Abhishek, thank you for spending some time with us today to talk about your collective ‘HolyStoked’. Can you tell us about the HolyStoked collective?
Abhishek: Holystoked collective was started by 5 skaters in 2011 with the goal of finding solutions to common problems facing skateboarders like where to find good skate equipment and places to skate. From there, 4 of us registered a company for the purpose of selling good skateboards and building skate spots around India. Since then, we have started our own brand, make t-shirts, and do a bunch of events every year.

DREAM:IN: How did you guys get started? How did the idea come about?
AbhishekOriginally the idea was to start a magazine about different urban cultures popping up around India with skateboarding as the main focus. Somewhere along that, we decided that the scene is not big enough for a magazine so we need to make the scene first. With hardly any skaters in India, we have been working toward spreading the culture and joy of skateboarding all over the country.

photo cred: Gautham Nalasinghu/Poornabodh Nadavatt

photo cred: Gautham Nalasinghu/Poornabodh Nadavatt

DREAM:IN: What’s your role at HolyStoked?
AbhishekWell, recently, we have divided our labour. I’m currently campaigning for building skateparks and raising funds along with physically building parks. Som, another founder of Holystoked, is spearheading the skate classes and workshops at schools and skateparks.

photo cred: Gautham Nalasinghu/Poornabodh Nadavatt

photo cred: Gautham Nalasinghu/Poornabodh Nadavatt

DREAM:IN: How many people are currently in the collective?
AbhishekThe collective has grown close to, maybe, 100 people all over India with most of them here in Bangalore.

DREAM:IN: You guys sell some really cool items, I really love the map of India t-shirt. How does the design process work for your skateboards, t-shirts, shoes, etc…?
AbhishekWell so far, designing has been chaotic with no real ideas and people randomly on our crew come up with designs which they would like to see on a t-shirt. Since last month, we have been working with professional designers and artists to make our first board graphics and all new t-shirts.

DREAM:IN: Who does the manufacturing of skateboards and parts?
AbhishekUnfortunately, we haven’t reached the point where producing boards in India is financially viable. We need at least 5000 skaters to support the scene. Until then, we are importing boards from U.S.A , Europe and now China, where we are getting our own brand boards made.

photo cred: Gautham Nalasinghu/Poornabodh Nadavatt

photo cred: Gautham Nalasinghu/Poornabodh Nadavatt

DREAM:IN: How do you guys market your products?
Abhishek: Marketing is done mostly online through social media but we are heavily involved with skate and surf events in India. Additionally, we also do our own events in Bangalore, such as competitions and skate meets, where we invite skaters from all over the country on days like “Go Skate Day” to come to Bangalore and make some noise here. Also building skateparks is the best marketing there is!!

DREAM:IN: Do you guys have any events coming up for ‘HolyStoked’?
AbhishekStarting this month, we are starting a worldwide fundraiser to raise funds for building 3 parks spread out over 2 months. The building will start late December in Kovalam, Goa and Kasol. Other than that, there is also another park we are going to start building in Panna, with the help of Skate Aid from Germany.

photo cred: Gautham Nalasinghu/Poornabodh Nadavatt

photo cred: Gautham Nalasinghu/Poornabodh Nadavatt

DREAM:IN: How would you like to see ‘HolyStoked’ grow? Where would you want to see ‘HolyStoked’ in the next 5 years?
AbhishekHonestly, I hope that ‘Holystoked’ becomes a catch phrase for skateboarding in India. It is a beautiful thing and we shouldn’t lose sight of our goal, which is to build a skatepark in every major city as well as the smaller ones, where it will have the greatest impact. Maybe one day we can be big enough to support the scene and sponsor skaters. Also, another long term dream of ours is to have a skate school along the lines of Bryggerrietes School in Sweden.

photo cred: Gautham Nalasinghu/Poornabodh Nadavatt

photo cred: Gautham Nalasinghu/Poornabodh Nadavatt

DREAM:IN: Do you see skateboarding in the future of India? How can skateboarding positively shape and influence the youth?
AbhishekSkateboarding is going to be huge in India. We have a large percentage of the population who are young and are running out of things to do. With stiff competition in school, college and work, they will need to find an outlet for their creativity and energy. With most of the people in India living in poverty, the kids have way bigger problems than boredom. From my experience, in the past years, skateboarding gives these kids an opportunity to get out and meet new people, have new experiences and share their stories with each other. Skateboarding doesn’t solve complex problems, but gives skaters something do where they can forget about everything that is bothering them and allows for their creativity to come out.

photo cred: Gautham Nalasinghu/Poornabodh Nadavatt

photo cred: Gautham Nalasinghu/Poornabodh Nadavatt

DREAM:IN: Who are some of your biggest influences, favorite skaters?
AbhishekBiggest inspirations would be the crew of 2er (zweier skate club) in Hanover, Germany. They are some of my best friends and biggest inspirations for what we do with skateboarding. As for favorite skaters, I love Chris Haslam, Mike V and Ritchie Jackson; they are all super creative with their skateboarding.

DREAM:IN: I’m from coast-side Los Angeles, and I live about 10 minutes from Santa Monic/Venice Beach area, which is home to skateboarding legends, Z-Boys, which the movie “Lords of Dogtown” was made about. Has that crew influenced you at all? Can you relate to their style?
AbhishekYeah, I seen the movie, as well as the documentary. You are lucky to live close to some legendary spots. It is an amazing story, and of course, everyone worldwide will thank those guys for starting it all. It is just difficult to relate to since the Z-Boys were from totally different backgrounds than from the original ‘Holystoked’ crew. For example, I graduated law school and worked for two years as an artist in an animation studio.

photo cred: Gautham Nalasinghu/Poornabodh Nadavatt

photo cred: Gautham Nalasinghu/Poornabodh Nadavatt

DREAM:IN: Where are some of your places to skateboard, here in India?
AbhishekSome concrete bowls and ramps around India are in Goa, Bangalore, Pune, Pondicherry, and Hampi. Delhi also has some great street spots as well as a basement with wooden ramps.

DREAM:IN: If people want to check out and buy some of HolyStoked’s merchandise & products, or if someone wants to buy their first ‘HolyStoked’ skateboard, how can they do it?
AbhishekYou can get it www.holystoked.com or you could come down to the park in Bangalore.

photo cred: Gautham Nalasinghu/Poornabodh Nadavatt

photo cred: Gautham Nalasinghu/Poornabodh Nadavatt

DREAM:IN: Lastly, do you have any tips for other young entrepreneurs out there? Any advice to keep them rolling?
AbhishekMy tip would be to make sure you are doing what you love, there is no point starting something you don’t believe in. Stay patient when it comes to making money, and take joy in just doing what you are doing. Also entrepreneurs face immense stresses so you have to find something that helps you unwind. Nothing better for that than skateboarding :) 

DREAM:IN: Thanks for the telling us about the collective, will check you guys out at the skatepark soon!
Abhishek: Peace!

photo cred: Gautham Nalasinghu/Poornabodh Nadavatt

photo cred: Gautham Nalasinghu/Poornabodh Nadavatt

photo cred: Gautham Nalasinghu/Poornabodh Nadavatt

photo cred: Gautham Nalasinghu/Poornabodh Nadavatt

Cover Photo: Abhishek Shakenbake photo cred:  Travis Morrison

Cover Photo: Abhishek Shakenbake
photo cred: Travis Morrison


FEATURED ENTREPRENEURS – ASHWIN, NIKHIL, & HARIPRIYA – BREKKIE

Ashwin Chandra, and his two partners, Nikhil Behl & Haripriya Raja, started Brekkie, which is this amazing business of delivering breakfasts to your doorstep or work place. First of all, it’s very convenient, the food tastes great, and it’s healthy. Ashwin, and the Brekkie team, was nice enough to take some time off from their really busy mornings, to tell us about starting the business, some of the challenges they overcame, and the joy of cooking.

DREAM:IN: Hey Ashwin, Nikhil, & Haripriya! Thank you for taking some time from your busy mornings to speak with us today. As a personal customer of your great breakfasts, we wanted to learn more about Brekkie and how it started. So, let’s start there, how did you come up with Brekkie? What was your inspiration to start a breakfast food service? How did it first start out? What were the steps you took to get it going?
Ashwin: Our daily breakfast routine is something that the three of us have been complaining about for quite a while. I guess the first time we had a “Wouldn’t it be cool if…” conversation was way back last year. Everyone thinks they’re a ‘Richard Branson’ after their third Friday evening beer. It remained just a conversation until this summer. We heard a lot more people echo our frustration with what’s available in Bangalore and thought, “Screw it, let’s go for it!”. We started experimenting with different ideas at home, happened to find both a place and a cook a month later and before you knew it Brekkie was up and running! It’s been about two weeks now.

DREAM:IN:
Did you have any challenges when first starting out?
Ashwin: Most definitely, nothing is smooth sailing. Honestly though, we’ve so far been lucky enough that a lot of our setbacks have been blessings in disguise. For example, we almost got an awesome place in Koramangala to use as our kitchen, it didn’t work out in the last minute due to the landlord having a change of heart – ended up finding a place ten times better in Indiranagar.
Basil Tomato Sandwich

Basil Tomato Sandwich

DREAM:IN: How do you come up with the menu items for the daily breakfasts? Do you have a process of discovering new types of breakfasts to distribute?
Ashwin: We constantly try out new things (one of the reasons we’re closed on weekends – need some time to get some more stuff on the menu). We also love getting feedback, every time we send something new out, we make it a point to give people a quick ring and get their take on things. It’s easy to love your own stuff, it’s important that others do too!
Chickpea Salad

Chickpea Salad

DREAM:IN: So what’s special about Brekkie breakfasts? Why should customers order food from you?
Nikhil: First and foremost, because our food is tasty, it’s different and it’s freshly made. Secondly, because it’s convenient. It’s grab and go, mess free and we even deliver it right to your doorstep.

DREAM:IN:
Do you have a favorite chef, or a chef, that really inspires you?
Ashwin: With respect to celebrity chefs, we’re big fans of Jamie Oliver and Gennaro Contaldo (Check out Jamie’s foodtube on youtube, it’s a gold mine!). Especially with Gennaro, it’s just great to see how much he loves food – and his improvised English is quite a laugh at times as well! But truth be told, there’s only one right answer – mum. Be honest, is there ever a better chef?
Cinnamon Roll

Cinnamon Roll

Fruit Salad

Fruit Salad

DREAM:IN: What are some of your favorite types of breakfasts?
Ashwin: There’s no one real favorite. It’s nice to have something different every day. Hint hint, nudge nudge. ;)

DREAM:IN: What is it about cooking, that you enjoy so much?
Haripriya: At the risk of sounding overly deep and philosophical – it’s really liberating. It’s fun to try out new stuff and just see how it comes out. Granted, there is a logic behind cooking – there’s some things that you just don’t do, but overall there’s a lot of freedom to experiment. Plus, the eating part isn’t something to complain about either.

DREAM:IN: What time, do you start in the morning? When does the breakfast start cooking?
Nikhil: Glad you asked, because this is quite possibly our greatest achievement to date. The three of us combined have probably seen 5am a half a dozen times in our lives. That was pre-Brekkie. Now we’re up and out of the house by 4:45, and in the kitchen prepping by 5:15. The first batch get’s done by around 7:15, and we keep cooking till 10:30.

Sample Menu

Sample Menu

Sample Menu

Sample Menu

DREAM:IN: How many drivers do you have at the moment? How long does it take to get all the breakfasts delivered?
Ashwin: We’ve recently (as in this week) hired two people to help out with deliveries, but we still do a lot of them ourselves. It’s a great way to be close to your customer and get a pulse of how your breakfast is being appreciated. Plus, cycling around Indiranagar is a few hours of solid cardio – guilt free cookie snacking for the rest of the day!
Short Bread

Short Bread

DREAM:IN: Do you think becoming an entrepreneur was a good career choice?
Ashwin: Depends on the definition of “Good”. We’re having a really great time doing it, but time will tell how economically successful this venture is going to be. The early signs look positive though.

DREAM:IN: What was the most enjoyable highlight, since starting Brekkie?
Haripriya: It’s hard to pick out one stand out moment, but what really sticks in our mind is the conversations we have with people that we serve. It’s great to see people take a second or two out of their busy mornings to chit chat about random stuff with us!

Stuffed Idli

Stuffed Idli

DREAM:IN: How would you like to see Brekkie grow in the future? Where would you like to see Brekkie in a couple years? Do you have any plans to expand to lunch, or dinner? Or even, international-style breakfasts?
Haripriya: We’re constantly on the look out for new things to do, the kitchen is always in experiment mode. Right now we’d like to really make a name for ourselves as THE breakfast people in Bangalore – that’s where the focus lies. A greater variety of international breakfast dishes is definitely on the cards though.

DREAM:IN: If our readers want to give Brekkie a try, what’s the best way to get a hold of you, and order some breakfast?
Nikhil: Give us a buzz on 9008504094, drop us a line on whatsapp, shoot us a message via our facebook page (facebook.com/BrekkieBlr) or tweet at @BrekkieBlr. Isn’t technology great? :)

Tossed Idlis

Tossed Idlis

DREAM:IN: It’s great that you started your own business. Do you have any tips for other dreamers or budding entrepreneurs who want to start/work on their own venture?
Ashwin: Ask tough questions. Find the right people to work with. Embrace mistakes. Go way out of your comfort zone. Smile. Talk to anyone and everyone. And most importantly, don’t do anything on an empty stomach.
Veggie Poha

Veggie Poha

DREAM:IN: Thanks so much for the great answers (and the great breakfasts) Brekkie Team! Excited to see what tomorrow’s breakfast will be! All the best!

ANNOUNCING ARISE ENTREPRENEURSHIP PROGRAM, 2-DAY INTENSIVE, LIVE @ DREAM:IN CENTER, BANGALORE

ARISE ENTREPRENEURSHIP PROGRAM
OCTOBER 18 & 19, 2014

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PRICE: 1500/BOTH DAYS

CONTACT:
DREAM@DREAMIN.IN
+919620767672


FEATURED ENTREPRENEUR – SHIRALI SHAH

This weeks ‘Featured Entrepreneur’ is Shirali who comes from Ahmedabad, India. She has a deep passion for fashion and styling, which inspired her to start her own business, ‘Dhaaga Saarang’.

DREAM:IN: So can you tell us about your company, Dhaaga Saarang?
Shirali: ‘Dhaaga Saarang’, which means ‘yarn dyeing’, is a name that I have taken forward from my final project at NIFT, Gandhinagar. Since my project went really well, I decided to continue with the name even though it does not have a direct connection to what I do. Under this label, I work as a professional shopper and stylist, here by helping people with their wardrobe, occasional wear, party wear etc. I do not make clothes. I shop for people, with the budget given to me by them, and charge on commission basis.

Dhaaga Saarang

Dhaaga Saarang

DREAM:IN: What was the main motivating factor to start your own stylist company? When did you know, “yes! this is what i want to do!”?
Shirali: It’s quite a funny story actually. I went to Mumbai to celebrate my best friends’ birthday, and right when we were out shopping, partying, all though out the day, people kept complimenting me on either my dress or bag. And just then, my friend went, “Dude, I think you’ll just have to start shopping for me now.” And there it was. I knew it. I knew this is what I wanted to do. And well here I am.

DREAM:IN: Can you tell us what is it about fashion & styling that you love so much?
Shirali: Everyone is allowed to have his or her own sense of style. We aren’t here to judge, but well let’s face it, some people do need help. Not to sound derogatory, but I love to help people who are ready to accept it. There’s so much fashion out there in the world, which is beyond our imagination. I would be glad to help people with the little knowledge I have and serve them to bring a smile on their face when someone compliments them!

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DREAM:IN: How would you describe your style?
Shirali: I have my days. I love to experiment with style. Sometimes I go high street while some days I’m classy and chic. But I’m mostly comfortable in anything casual.

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DREAM:IN: What are some of your biggest inspirations, and who are some of your favorite designers?
Shirali: My mother is my fashion idol. Sabyasachi Mukheerji was and still is, my biggest inspiration when it comes to Indian-wear. When I was young, I used to see my mother adorn his designs and they always fascinated me. Yes, he is extremely commercialized now, but I still love him for his work. And when it comes to western wear, biggest brands to street shops, all come under my list of inspirations.

DREAM:IN: So how did you start your company? What was the beginning of this venture like?
Shirali: I just decided one day that this is what I wanted to do. It started with designing my logo first, planning on how to go about a website, asking a few friends to model for me, creating a website, and eventually a facebook page. It’s been a year since I started, but still feels as new as ever. Everyday is a new challenge. I wouldn’t say I had to go through a struggle or anything, but yes gaining business is not an easy job.

DREAM:IN: Did you have any obstacles when first starting? If so, how did you overcome them?
Shirali: Glad enough for me, I did not. My concept about a Professional Shopper and Stylist was extremely new for Ahmedabad. I got such a surprisingly wonderful and positive response when I first started off because I was the first one in Ahmedabad to come up with this business plan. Some people still do not understand how it works. But it’s great to see people getting surprised. It’s not like telling someone, “I am a doctor.” And they ask, “Oh, what’s that?” *laughs*

DREAM:IN: Currently, how many employees do you have working for you?
Shirali: Physically – I, me, myself. Mentally – Me and my parents.

DREAM:IN: What’s your future plans for Dhaaga Saarang? How would you like to see it grow in the upcoming years?
Shirali: I would want to be known as a pioneer for this business, in Ahmedabad only of course. I do not have plans to expand to other cities as of now. There is nothing more satisfying than serving your hometown.

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DREAM:IN: What would you say has been the most enjoyable experience since starting ‘Dhaaga Saarang’? Was there any event you styled for which was extraordinarily memorable for you?
Shirali: Every single second since I have started has been so eventful, just because I am doing this all by myself. Each high, each low, is making this into a journey I am learning so much from.

DREAM:IN: Do you like being your own entrepreneur, running your own business? Do you think it was a good decision?Shirali: YES! Anything is better than busting you butt off for someone who is not even remotely related to you. Working for myself is the best decision I could have ever taken! Yes, it does not give me job security, but the experience it gives me is way beyond any salary I could ever get.

DREAM:IN: If people want to use your services or get a hold of you, what’s the best way to reach out?
Shirali:
- dhaagasaarang@gmail.com,
– FB Page: Dhaaga Saarang,
http://www.dhaagasaarang.com

DREAM:IN: Lastly, we want to ask everyone we interview, do you have any suggestions or tips for other budding entrepreneurs out there who may want to start their own venture?
Shirali: Don’t be scared. The moment you think this is what you want to do, take time to work on it and do it with all your heart. You know you’ll do wonders.

DREAM:IN: Awesome, thank you for all the great answers, we wish you the best with Dhaaga Saarang!

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