It usually takes an extraordinary idea with a perfect blend of talent and investors to launch a start-up venture. Travel and exploration were the igniters that led Shalini Manish, an ex-defence officer, to start an entrepreneurial venture. Shalini is a travel enthusiast who wants to make a difference in the world of art and culture. She says “In our travels across India, my husband and I have come across a plethora of unique crafts, products that would suit the taste of a connoisseur and yet be reasonably priced”. She found great artisans in remote villages making amazing handicrafts, apparel and curios, and that’s how she felt the need to bring them to her friends. Thus, Wowshoppe was created.
Shalini has an amusing but realistic approach to being an “Entrepreneur”. According to her, women are born entrepreneurs, even those whom we address as ‘housewives’. Women as “housewives” handle finances and budget of the house, education and sports of children, housekeeping and garden, provide lip-smacking and healthy food to their family, manage travels and vacations, laundry and its upkeep, renovation and maintenance of house, playing the welcoming hostess at parties, attending parent-teacher meets as part of social relationship, They deal with perhaps the most difficult employees i.e the maids, local vendors etc. And still they find time for all the family members. Shalini says that “The sense of responsibility and multi-tasking comes naturally to every woman. That’s why women entrepreneurs are even more successful than men.”
The WOW Team!!
The WOW team consists of defence personnel, her family members and aspiring women who are enthusiastic and seek work-life balance. Taruna Verma who is a food blogger at easyfoodsmith.com, Shivi Ahluwalia and Sucheta Bannerjee who conduct craft classes. Mrs Swadesh Wahi and Mrs Renu Bidani, who are above 70 but their art and craft speak for them. Jessica is just 18 and she handles the exhibition team. Shalini says,“Jessica’s ideas are innovative and fresh. Namita and Rinku represent the Namrin brand of WowShoppe. Jagrutiben is an artist from the JJ School of Arts. The team is yet growing.”
In future Shalini plans to have artisans on-board from every state of India, and WowShoppe having a recognition for its quality nationally and internationally.
E-Shop as well as Offline Stores
The WowShoppe team has 3 dimensions of sales i.e. physical stores, exhibitions and an online store, all complementing each other to boost the sales. WowShoppe has 2 physical stores in Nashik, one in Deolali Army Camp as a factory outlet and the other in Soma Winery, Nashik, as a Franchise Store. Shalini says, “We are soon coming up with Franchise Stores in other locations too. We have an online store, physical stores and we conduct exhibitions in various places. The response is so overwhelming that at the end of the day we are rejuvenated to try and do more and more.”
About Online Handicrafts Industry
Shalini thinks that e-commerce will complement the handicraft industry and will benefit the buyers and artisans. Most of the artisans are still limited to their place of work. They don’t get the exposure and the right price for their art. The buyers don’t have the option to search and buy the handicraft easily. The only few stores which are available, cater to a particular demography.
She says, “The artisans and the buyers both are happy with the revolution in this field and it has a lot of untapped potential. E-commerce and handicrafts’ trend has made it convenient to reach even the international market.”
When asked about the collaboration with easyfoodsmith.com, Shalini went on to praise Taruna Varma and said, “Taruna Verma from our team is an MBA, she handles social media and various vendors, but her skills are limitless. She is a writer, an artist, a photographer, a chef and a food blogger at easyfoodsmith.com. The cuisine website is hers and she has been felicitated with many awards by national and international food fraternities, which is commendable”. Shalini feels that adding easyfoodsmith.com to her website has aided her in sharing easy and healthy food recipes with all viewers and readers.
For a Social Cause
The WowShoppe team promotes tribal art, products by blind schools and artisans from rural areas. The artists from Wow Team provide training to the women from economically backward sections and help them in earning with pride. Thus, they are also doing their bit to support our Honourable Prime Minister’s “Made in India, Make in India” drive.
The WOW team also conducts exhibitions for social cause and provides part of the profits to NGOs.
Shalini says, “Whenever anyone starts a new business, everyone wants the best. I had read and studied about all the e-commerce platforms, had spoken to so many entrepreneurs already in this field, analysed and compared the services and pricing and finally I decided to go for Buildabazaar. Life is much easier after that as I get good support from the team, I have a dedicated project manager to handle my account.”
When asked Why BuildaBazaar, Shalini candidly says, “BuildaBazaar was my first and the only choice as every other platform lacked something or the other. BuildaBazaar provides the complete solution right from designing to post selling. Their team has developers to logistics experts and a great back end support.”
While signing off we asked Shalini if she had any words of motivation for other aspiring women entrepreneurs and to that, she said, “Follow your heart, go for it”. Her mantra for motivation goes as “Khudee ko kar buland itna, ke har taqdeer se pehle, Khuda bandey se khud poochhey, bataa teri razaa kya hai” which means ‘Elevate yourself so high that even God, before issuing every decree of destiny, should ask you: Tell me, what is your intent?’