If you’re a business owner then you would know the chronology — you plan, you execute and then you scale. However, there are many successful business owners who never had a plan. Sometimes, it’s just a random idea that changes your entire mindset and shows you that ultimate path.
If you are an aspiring entrepreneur or someone who has plans of scaling your side hustle, here’s a quick tip — Trust the process! Every single event in your life is a lesson and is really important. It’s making you ready for the world out there.
And to make you all believe in that, we got in touch with an amazing woman who chose to ditch her corporate job and embrace what she was always passionate about — Entrepreneurship.
Meet Ankita Jain, Founder of SwagLok
Since childhood, Ankita has been someone with strong-will and border-lining stubbornness. She has always been a child with big dreams who wanted to leave a mark in this world.
And having a family that is incredibly supportive, Ankita’s traits became stronger with time. “My mother always taught us the importance of dressing impeccably. She always told me to be the woman who empowers others; not competes,” said Ankita. “My father loved us more than anything but he also imparted the value of being kind and humble to others. Above all, he raised us to be accountable, for the words we say and the deeds we do.”
Ankita is an engineering grad and she has worked in the IT industry for some time but soon, she realized that 9-5 is not a viable option for her. However, still believes that the IT industry did teach her resilience and keeping the knowledge base up to date.
SwagLok Was Never A Part Of My Plan. It Just Happened!
When asked about the SwagLok’s get-go, Ankita said that it all started when a personalized gift for one of her family member received so much of appreciation that the idea dawned on her. She knew that the demand was real and could be channelled. Even she herself was looking for such services but did not find any. And that was the moment she realized that it’s an underserved market in the retail segment.
“I myself, as an individual, was looking for services but did not find any. I actually had to depend on a few companies based out of Assam,” said Ankita. “Hence, SwagLok happened.”
Let’s Hear Ankita’s Story In Her Own Words
Can you tell us about the current scenario of online clothing industry in the North East and entire India?
I have seen many online clothing industries coming up. It’s a happy thing seeing how the market is growing but it also means that the competition is rising.
One of the issues that this industry is dealing with is getting designs copied. And to cope with that, one must have that loyal customer base so that you quickly sell off your design and make money off it by the time it is copied by others.
What were the hurdles you faced when you started your journey with SwagLok?
The biggest hurdle that I had to face was to hire the right group of people with a similar mindset. Right from the start, I was determined about the kind of team that I have always wanted and there is no compromising on that.
Another hurdle was price sensitivity and the ongoing competition when it comes to bulk orders. Customers are willing to change supplier for even a dime difference per t-shirt. Plus, the client information keeps on leaking in bulk orders so the competitor somehow gets to know that a client has reached you. Hence, maintaining client satisfaction, not compromising on the quality of service, and keeping the secrecy of the quote is really important. For me and SwagLok, customer satisfaction is everything and time and again we have stood by our words!
What do you do when you are not working? Or what is that one thing you love doing apart from your work?
I am mostly meeting people! Talking to people who are starting something new and discussing their ideas is fuel to my passion.
What I love doing the most is definitely spending time with my family. The other thing would be working out in the gym. Both of them are the fuel to my soul.
Being a young entrepreneur, how do you manage to juggle between your work and personal life?
I keep both of them separate! While I am working, it is just work — nothing can come on my way to distract me from that. I also ensure that I am spending enough time with my family and friends. One has to prioritize things and in between, you might miss out on a lot of things. But I think that’s okay — it’s all part of the process.
What is success for you? How successful is Ankita and SwagLok, together?
Success for me is freedom of money! I want financial stability instead of freedom. “Money is not an issue” is the motto I have lived by all my life — it could be thousands, it could be millions. It should never become a hindrance.
For me, the love and appreciation that SwagLok has received is overwhelming. We have come up with personalized dog tees and the response coming from people is just insane.
We have also been selected as an incubatee for Startup Assam which has given us a platform to learn and grow. Our customer base is expanding as well. I am happy about how we have grown in the last two years and there are many more miles to go. The hustling should never stop!
How does it feel when people tell you that you have been their inspiration?
It is a feeling that I can’t express in words. Every time someone walks up to me and calls me their inspiration, I can feel an invisible pat on my shoulders.
Being someone who can inspire others is a dream. It makes me realize how this life is worth living and motivates me to keep hustling harder.
Where do you see yourself and SwagLok in a couple of years from now?
I want to create a sustainable environment for SwagLok so that it does not require my direct intervention.
For SwagLok, I want to widen its horizons. I want SwagLok to be a place where people can walk into and get anything customized from personalized cards to their outfits — to everything!
A Piece Of Advice For All The Aspiring Entrepreneurs
Get out of your comfort zone!
Uncomfortable situations are like the currency — it’s the price that you pay to learn some crucial stuff. Every time you have this opportunity to get involved in a group (and as long as it looks interesting), take it. That group is going to introduce you to more people, who further open more doors for you. So, make sure that you open yourself to meeting new people and learning with them. It makes your perspectives grow wider. It makes you grow.
Ankita firmly follows Helen Keller and what she said –“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all”.
Also, she lives by the mantra, ‘carpediem’ – live in the moment.
Stop second-guessing yourself and don’t doubt yourself. You have no idea how strong and beautiful you can become once you start believing yourself. It is definitely not easy, though. Life will knock you down like it always does but it will all be worth it. The end will be worth it.