Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in personal hygiene but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Jaideep Mahajan, founder of Svish On-The-Go, located in Gurugram, India.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
We're Svish, a young start-up based in India, focused on the personal hygiene space. This pandemic has taught us that good hygiene is the first step to good health. It may have been optional in the past, but it is non-negotiable going forward. We want to inculcate good habits with our range of thoughtfully designed products, and our mission is to make personal hygiene a priority for everyone. Our target customers are the youth and young adults because they are our future.
Tell us about yourself
I've spent 22 years in advertising on the creative side, with stints in some of the largest multi-national agencies in India and Malaysia. My days were packed with creative briefs and client meetings and deadlines and managing teams etc. Our work was appreciated by the clients and awarded at festivals including Cannes, D&AD, One Show, New York Festival, etc. In late 2019, I took a break and relocated to Canada to be with my family. I wanted to sit back and think about what my potential next step could be. Little did I know that a two-week holiday to Delhi would change the course of my life. The borders shut down, the world went into lockdown, and I was without my family, without a job, and without a plan. Bored and alone, I counted the days when borders would open. But as they say, "Boredom is the mother of creativity." I went from day to day dodging the virus with various sanitizers and disinfectants, and that's when I realized that if you had to apply something to your skin 10-12 times a day, it needed to be more personalized, eco-friendly, and something that would satisfy one's taste for aesthetics. This was also when I bumped into one of my ex-clients who was on board with the idea, and that's how we came up with Svish. We launched with a small range of sanitizers and disinfectant wipes. Being part of the growth story of our brand and how it overlaps with my personal growth is what motivates me every day.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
As a year-old business, we've clocked 10x growth and have raised a successful round of seed funds within six months. We're focusing heavily on expanding the product line and investing in R&D., But the fact that our customers like and trust an entrant brand such as ours is what I would call a good signal. If we can sustain this customer satisfaction over the years, that would be a real accomplishment for our business.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Let me flip this the other way – There's nothing easy about being a business owner. When you choose to run your business, you do it because you're driven by an idea, a solution, or perhaps a need to serve your customers. You're in the driver's seat, but the road ahead is unknown, and the journey is unpredictable. That can be unsettling at times.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
I'm relatively new to entrepreneurship and still figuring a lot of things out. But here are a few things that worked for me:
1. Become smart about managing your resources. Start with being frugal.
2. Do your best, have a plan, put in the hard work, and leave some room for serendipity.
3. You may not have a team, to begin with. So, get comfortable with doing everything.
I'd like to add that it is good to consider all point-of-views but follow your gut. Also, nothing goes to waste. We will never know how the dots will connect. Lastly, I'd like to quote Richard Bach as it sums up my entrepreneurial journey thus far, "What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly."
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email email@example.com; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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