“The biggest risk is not taking any risk…In a world that is changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.” – Mark Zuckerberg, Startup Pioneer.
The best encouragement a budding entrepreneur can receive is – ‘acknowledgment’. Life is all about seizing the right opportunities which come in fleeting moments, and the ones who act upon it, eventually make all the difference. We find role models around us all the time who inspire our aspirations and show a path that’ll lead to success. It’s these stories of grit and passion which have swayed our boats afloat in times of a grave pandemic; it’s the stories of determination and dedication of these GenZ’s that have ignited our spirits.
This month for our Student Talent feature, Team StreetTrotter scouted 5 such amazingly talented entrepreneurs to give them a platform to feature their journeys, along with a pat on their backs for inspiring us in such dull times with their creative thirst.
CHUMMA by SUHASINI GANESAN | https://www.instagram.com/chumma_weirdlyajeeb/
A jack of all trades and even a master of few – Suhasini Ganesan’s personality is full of quirks, one that promises to instantly light up the space she’s around. Her work is eccentric, beautiful, bold yet delicate, yet traditional which speaks volumes of her love and respect for her culture.
Chumma was born out of her mere fondness for bold colors, fabrics, and unconventional styles around her. Little did she know that her experimentation of tweaking her otherwise run-of-the-mill earrings one fine day suddenly would turn into a big-ticket idea for her. To match her vivacious persona, she started by making some earrings with materials like cardboard, some odd trinkets, buttons, bells, and tassels and made some really funky looking items. Soon, it started grabbing eyeballs around her, and from then on, there was no looking back for Suhasini.
Being a Tamilian, she used the word ‘chumma’ a lot – which means ‘simply’. In Hindi, the word has a completely different connotation and means ‘kiss’ which hilariously was mistaken by her Hindi-speaking peers all the time. It was such a catchy word that she ‘simply’ translated it into a brand name – Chumma, with love!
THE FINE FINDS by APARNA BALASUBRAMANIAN | https://www.instagram.com/thefinefinds/
The lockdown has been a difficult time for the fashion industry, and it also made us conscious of our buying habits. As we all dug into our wardrobes to upcycle looks, there is an undeniable surge of sustainable fashion. A passionate go-getter, Aparna started as a thrifter and gradually decided to venture into the idea of The Fine Finds. Today, she is our very own ‘Girlboss’!
Aparna found little flea markets and corners in the city with hidden gems that worked her idea perfectly. The best thing about her thrift brand is that it’s inclusive, fashionable, and unique with high quality. “With time, as my following expanded, I realized that I wanted to transform this space into one wherein a person with any kind of taste in fashion can find something. I don’t think I have an aesthetic right now but I have a vision. I am looking at this venture the way I saw Forever 21 when I was in high school. A shop where girls of all tastes can find something; from the feminine to grunge and hip hop. Forever 21 had it all and they had it for cheap too. I wanted to make this space somewhat like a thrift shop with that same idea in mind. A sustainable version of the same,” she elaborated.
There’s no doubt in the fact that vintage clothing is significant, down to its minute details. Aparna is always on a hunt for garments that are different but importantly those that will last a long time. She has turned her entire business model into a beautiful and sustainable brand that is versatile and reliable. Moving forward, her motto remains, “This isn’t just a thrift shop to people – It’s just a place with nice clothes.”
PREET DI PHULKARI by ANANYA ARORA | https://www.instagram.com/preet.di.phulkari/
Things born out of love are often the ones that resonate with the masses the most. Ananya Arora’s love for the Indian Handicraft ‘Phulkari’ led him to the creation of Preet di Phulkari. His personality of grace and patience mirrors an ethereal outlook that his designs display.
The brand caters to a large group of people who have a common love for the crafts and believe in conscious buying. His designs are specific towards building this niche. The motifs are a reflection of the traditional outlook of Punjab, for example, ‘the Patanga’ or the kite motif, ‘Ikk ranga Buta’ or one colored motif, have all been incorporated in the collection.
The onset was a difficult one with Covid19 on the rise but the need to honor and make Phulkari more accessible was the driving factor that kept Ananya motivated. “I planned to get a job, and now I am starting my own venture, The pandemic did play a huge role in altering my plans, but whether it was for the good, that only time will tell. Right now, I am trying to focus on what I have started, and being extremely patient about its growth, given the times and the state of the economy.”
ANNAPURNA AGARWAL | https://www.instagram.com/annapurna.ag/
People say necessity is the mother of all inventions and Annapurna’s idea of her brand AAA. serves to be the perfect example of that. A thoughtfully constructed line of masks, she wanted her products to be breathable, not suffocating, and give a sense of comfort even when worn for longer periods of time.
While brainstorming on the methods and materials, Annapurna was really concerned about the sustainability of the disposable masks and the environmental threat they imposed and hence chose to use 100% cotton fabric material.
She envisions her business offering more like a daily necessity. She primarily wanted to use her skills in contributing to something substantial during these difficult times, and so the design process has been based on very functional requirements.
In terms of the design process, she is very concept-oriented wherein she translates the larger picture into items like stories, poems, even choreography, sometimes – before then arriving at the end phase turning her storyboards as means to develop fabrics and silhouettes. “I want to bring back the 1986 ‘crazy’ designers, to walk in the footsteps of war-ridden designers like Yohji and Kawakubo. To design with emotions and skills together.”
ZAINDXNISH by Danish | https://www.instagram.com/zaindxnish/
An artist taps into his passions and potential and converts his thought into a language that best describes what he loves and stands for. Starting with a passion for tattoos, Danish developed an urge to understand the art of body modifications and tattooing in particular. Today he is our own in-house ‘Tatoo Artist’!
Being inspired by Hip-hop and Street style, Danish’s work revolves around black tattoos and line arts. For someone who is just 10-15 tattoos old, he wants to start designing his own kind of tattoo designs for people who aren’t afraid to explore (and aren’t afraid of needles).
“I do not stand out right now. I am a beginner and there are people who are way more experienced and have way better equipment and inks, but this is why I want to create my own designs because I want people to get a newer perspective on tattoos in general.”
Written by: Madhumitha Jain | Cover photo & artworks by: Sarthak Grover