Follow your passion and you are likely to make a better business of it says Shweta Shivakumar of Why So Blue. The fashion brand was started by her with her mother – and the entrepreneurial journey has allowed to grow into a business leader. It all didn’t fall in place instantly – she bucked a poor phase in life to turn entrepreneur and live her dreams. And her inspiration? Her mom. Her mother Jaya Shivkumar encouraged her to quit the job as she was miserable doing that. Now her brand customizes fashion clothing.
Tell us about ‘WhySoBlue’. How did you come up with the idea?
I was not one of those kids who grew up to become the boss. I wasn’t really one of them. I was happy working as a media person, worked for two years. Then, I was in ads field for a year, later I worked as a media planner for another 6-7 months. Until I realized that I wasn’t enjoying that. I always wanted to do something in the field of fashion. So, I started planning, wanted to switch line, and was eager to work for a fashion magazine. In that period, I felt that I don’t want to work for anybody anymore. The whole idea changed over the night but I had to start something on my own, not to forget in the field of fashion obviously. My mother and I started this venture together. She is been stitching for more than 25 years now and she is very good at it. So, we decided that one side I can do the designing and sourcing of the fabric, other side she can take over the execution and more of the realistic part of it. We took two months to plan, execute, and source everything. August first week my brand gone live. That’s how “Why So Blue’ was found.
As a woman, what were the difficulties you faced when you first thought of starting your own company?
I don’t think there is any differentiation for a woman or man to start something on their own. Because, I have not faced anything like that in my life. Both the side will face more than one difficulties on their way if they think of starting something new. It’s not gender biased. If there was a guy in my place, I’m sure the difficulties I faced he would also face. It’s just the decision you take and have the courage to execute it.
Who was your motivation to become an entrepreneur?
My mother always tells me that if I’m not happy, I shouldn’t be doing it. She is one believer of that. Although, money is the main factor in life but her belief lies on happiness. I always kept telling her let’s do something. It was not concrete that time but over the time I started realizing that I’m not happy so I quit. Thankfully, I had my mother as a backbone. I started dreaming about this since I was in 11th standard. Every time I used to go check on the fabric, what’s new in the market. I was genuinely interested in these things. So, why not putting those interests into a business. The worst could have happened that it would not work out. But let’s give it a shot. She wanted me to go for it, so I did.
What do you think the particular strengths women can bring in work place that perhaps men lack?
It could be the power of multi-tasking. I have seen my mother doing lot of things at once. My mother was a home-maker, my father used to work. But recently, my dad passed away so my mother took over everything overnight. It was just my mother, my younger sister and me. Right now, she is also as much involved into the business as I am. But still she manages to do all the things that she was doing before along with the business. She is like a super-woman. I think only women and mothers are blessed with multi-tasking power.
What do you consider to be your greatest achievement so far?
I don’t think I have reached there yet but I’m hoping that will come sooner. My brand is only 3 months old, we participated in an event called ‘Little Sleaze’ that happened last weekend and the response was so good that I’m dreaming that within one year people will be wearing my designs. Since we design our clothes, we customize a lot. So that could be one USP which will make our brand famous. My greatest achievement which I would mention proudly is yet to come.
What does a day-in-the-life of Shweta Shivkumar consist of?
Apart from work which is usually sourcing fabrics, marketing for the brand, I’m also a dancer. I’m into Belly and Latin dancing. So still take dancing classes every Friday. Dancing would be a part of my life always. Besides that, I love watching movies and can’t skip any that is in town.
What’s the single most important reason for your success?
It’s too early to comment on success because we have a long way to go.
What’s WhySoBlue’s future? Did you meet your aim or yet to come?
I want to something in the customization. There is a big gap between garment stores and the designers’ front. It’s either the lower end or the higher end. But you always get something in a budget which allows your pocket to shop more. My vision is to fit there. I don’t want normal people to spend 7 thousand from your pocket just because they desired to buy a gown or a dress. I want customization to be accessible to everybody. I’m still figuring out on that area. We are rolling on party, festive collection now. So maybe after 3-4 collection down the lane, we’ll be able to cope up with what people want.
How proud are you knowing that India is growing with a million numbers of women entrepreneurs?
I think it’s really a boom now. People are breaking out the stereotyped ideas these days. Even women entrepreneurs are growing in numbers but there are still some people who want to be pushed. I feel that everybody should take a plunge. I’m really amazed to know that we are taking a big step towards our dreams.
One piece of advice for a small-business women…
I had seen so many women coming to me and telling me that they are so proud of my decision. Also, they added that hope they could have also done something like this. I just want to tell them, you can also do the same for yourself. You just have to take a step towards it. Unless, you, yourself have the desire to do something, nobody can understand you. No one can motivate you unless you believe in it.