What does it take to be a successful woman by 25?

The competitive world is not a hindrance to five successful women, in their early twenties, who are confidently and profitably running their own show

Tripti Bhatia, DeTales Marketing and Communications

What began as a chance meeting through common friends, turned into a successful commercial venture for Tripti Bhatia Gandhi and Priyanka Lillaney. Did Tripti know that success would come knocking so quickly, three years ago? No! she was merely 22 when she quit her job to explore her options. The enterprising pair started their own business after a casual discussion on the need for change in the PR industry. PR tends to be purely media related; they thought starting a one-stop Brand Communications agency, providing solutions to everything, from varying degrees of tie ups, events, marketing, PR and social media to a client`s smallest needs, would be a good idea.

Armed with a Bachelor`s degree in Mass Media, a PR background and her family`s encouragement, Tripti took a leaf out of her parents’ book and turned to entrepreneurship after an internship and approximately four years of work experience. She returned the seed fund her parents had lent her within three months.

“Running your own business is not a cake-walk,” says Tripti. “Everyone thinks it’s extremely easy to be the boss. But it’s a lot of hard work, requires many sacrifices and you need to be impulsive and take a lot of risks. It was a while before we got any returns on our investments but we kept investing the company money in the company itself,” she adds.

With 15 employees, over 900 sq ft of office space on Linking Road in Bandra, and clients like JamJar, Bonobo, Out of the Blue, Intercontinental The Lalit, Marry Me, Tea Trunk and others, success has found its way to these pioneering youngsters in just a few years. Plans for this year include making it big in Goa, Dubai and Singapore.

Masoom Minawala, Style Fiesta

20-year-old Masoom Minawala`s keen interest in fashion prompted her to set up Style Fiesta.com, an e-store specialising in exclusive, customised clothes, shoes, jewellery and accessories. In 2011, whilst in her final year of Business Studies at HR College, she took short summer courses at Central Saint Martins and the London College of Fashion to learn how to convert her fashion blog (now called stylefiestadiaries.com) into a business. After completing two internships in 2010; one with French Connection India, the other with her cousin, she launched her e-commerce blog, Style Fiesta in November 2012.

With the money she had saved up from a six-month freelance stint with FTV and a little help from her dad to build up her inventory, she was good to go. Approximately eight months down the line, in August 2013, Masoom won the Cosmopolitan e-tailer of the Year Award. Masoom and her four-member team intend to make Style Fiesta the ultimate online shopping answer for fashion and trends. “My long-term goal is to change the fashion perception in India. Opening retail stores would be ideal if my target audience was only from the metros. But, I want to reach the whole country and I can do that with my e-commerce site. Currently, we have free shipping all over India; but there`s an additional charge for cash on delivery,” says Masoom.

In February 2013, she went one step further when she launched fashionjobsindia.com, which provides internships and job opportunities in the fashion world. “There are many who want to work in the fashion industry but are under the false impression that it is a difficult industry to break into. Every day we post one internship or freelance/full-time job opportunity online, to which interested candidates can send their resumes, using fashionjobsindia.com as a reference.

Success Mantra- Do what you love and it will love you right back!

Rishita Das and Rushda Hakim, Design Office

In 2010, when Rishita Das and Rushda Hakim, both 22, teamed up to work on an unexpected interior design project that came their way, little did they know that three years down the line, they would be setting up their very own interior designing firm or, that by the time they were 25, they would make it to the Top 50 Gen Next Designers in India. Rishita and Rushda graduated from the Rachana Sansad School of Design and went off to work individually with renowned architects for two years. Rushda quit her job and Rishita was on the verge of quitting, when an unexpected opportunity to design a 3,200-square-foot residential space showed up. Not anticipating such success, the budding designer pair had even planned to go back to their jobs post completion of the project. But, a few more assignments through word of mouth, a few pitches here and there, and less than a year later, they were ready to set up their small company `Design Office` at Mumbai Central. Their previous savings served as a source of financial support.
“Being business-minded was a challenge for us when we started off. We were ambitious as designers, but inexperienced when it came to business. But, in time experience and smart clients taught us how to manage the business. As time passed, we managed the business front more efficiently and gradually got better clients and projects,” says Rishita.

Since then, they have been designing high-end luxury residences, retail and commercial spaces as well as taking up styling and visual merchandising projects. After designing Foxymoron, their first commercial space, the duo went on to design their first retail store, Shantanu and Nikhil in Mumbai and Hyderabad.”We have always had something to work on, be it small or big, since the day we began this venture,” express the happy designers. “We can see ourselves doing this for the next 30-40 years.”

Success Mantra: Rishita- Work hard and be nice to people

Rushda- Dedication and pursuit to find solutions for design hurdles, faith in our client base, family and God.

Aeiman Jarwala: a.k.a bespoke

In 2010, the creative synergies of 21-year-old Aeiman Jarwala, and her friends, Karan and Ateev, who studied with her at design school resulted in the launch of a.k.a. bespoke, an accessories brand for men, women and kids of the 21st century. In 2008, she secured a diploma in fashion technology from Raheja College in Worli. In 2009, she completed her MA in Philosophy (Indian and Western Aesthetics), simultaneously honing her design skills working for Meera Mahadevia and exhibiting a sell-out handbag collection at the KalaGhoda Festival under her own label ‘i discover`. Having already worked for two and half years, she had saved a substantial amount to contribute to their joint venture. The minimal financial aid she had received from her family was repaid within a year.

Having a greater affinity for accessories than clothes, the three of them went ahead to pursue their individual interests after earning their diplomas. While Karan and Ateev learned to handcraft footwear at the Cordwainers College, London College of Fashion, U.K, Aeiman pursued her interest in custom made, high end bags and accessories. Their success is apparent in their partnerships with several designers and their creative collections of accessories for runway presentations at the Lakme Fashion Week. Pushing the boundaries of design, they have created stunning footwear and bags for the Karan Johar-Varun Bahl (Spring 2012), Anand Kabra l(Fall 2012 collection), as well as for Priyadarshini Rao, Ritu Kumar, Kalol Data, Rahul Mishra, Kiran Uttam Ghosh and others.

Aieman believes that their real achievement is a happy customer. “We have clients who want customized pieces as well as others with foot ailments caused by polio or accidents. Comprehending a pair of shoes and designing footwear that allows them the liberty to move comfortably, gives us immense satisfaction and joy,” gushes Aieman.

Success Mantra- Rules are necessary because they guide you to achieve technical perfection, but the challenge is in bending the rules to create new definitions of success.

Picture of Tripti Bhatia Gandhi