Running your own business isn’t a walk in the park – but these young entrepreneurs sure make it look like a cinch!
Four young entrepreneurs, four very different businesses, and four equally different approaches to running their ventures. From setting up design studios to retail stores and more, these inspiring youngsters have certainly caught Chennai’s (and our) eye. We sat down with four of Chennai’s fledgling yet successful entrepreneurs and delved deep into how their ventures came to be, while staying ever-resilient through the pandemic.
Text: SIDDHARTH KUMAR
Homer Simpson Would Be Proud!
Drawing inspiration from the accolades she‘d received as a child for her then steadily blossoming interest in baking – Kavya Prasad hasn’t looked back since. She is the creative mind behind D’OH, an Instagram-based home bakes business that now has an almost cult-like following.
Could you tell us a little more about how D’OH came into existence?
As a child, I’ve always enjoyed eating anything sweet. I know all kids did, but I used to overdo it with a twist -I’d always take one chocolate for myself and a few others for all my friends. My mom said I was a kind kid, and she always knew I would be good at making everyone around me happy. Those little treats I used to keep handing out certainly helped! Little did we know that I’d end up being back to who I was, and I’m glad that I did because what I do today continues to make me and everyone around me happy. I started D’OH on December 25th 2020, just before the pandemic hit us. It was initially a bit of a distraction aimed at helping get my mind off things. However, I soon realised it was more than just a distraction and made me feel content and fulfilled. I soon started experimenting with new recipes on my own, watched YouTube videos for inspiration, and took a few online courses. People loved what I made, after which word started spreading, and my orders continued growing. With the initial revenue I’d made, I invested in premium ingredients, better equipment and also got customized boxes made. I even got my first set of business cards made, and that’s a memory I’ll cherish for a long time.
How much of an influence has social media had on your business?
Social media has been my most unique support system. Most of my orders come in via social media, and I love how it encourages small businesses to get creative and grow further. Social media has helped me get my talent and efforts out there for people to appreciate, making me and my business feel very appreciated.
What is a go-to philosophy that you employ in your professional life?
My core philosophy is never to settle. I feel like it is essential to take on new challenges and activities and continue growing regularly. That’s when you’ll be driven to be the best at what you do.
Any key takeaways that you’d like to share with other up-and-coming entrepreneurs?
Always have a solid business plan – I cannot stress this more. Don’t worry about taking a chance by investing in your business – you’ve got to trust yourself. Never hesitate to ask for help – your biggest supporters are always around you and always have a mentor, someone well-versed in what you do and can help you with the best and most honest feedback.
How did you go about creating your versatile menu?
To be perfectly candid, I started with whatever I enjoyed eating and then started making goodies that my friends and family liked. However, as the business grew, I realised what the demands of my customers were. I realised my audience didn’t want anything over complicated. So, even though the base ideas were the same old staples, I added my twist to it. For instance, people love brownies, but I made variations of them with sea salt, caramel, and Nutella – and people seemed to enjoy it!
Managing and overcoming obstacles as an entrepreneur certainly comes with the territory – any particular instances proved a challenge to you?
I faced two challenges, and it is something that every other entrepreneur is bound to face at some point. The first was the matter of initial capital – I was a student at the time and did not have any savings of my own. Luckily, my family was kind enough to support me, and I couldn’t have imagined getting started without their financial assistance. The second challenge I faced and continue to meet at the moment is the ever-growing competition in the home baking space. There are so many great and talented home bakers and in a way, even though they also help me keep getting more and more innovative, staying on top of your game at all times and creating a niche for yourself isn’t that easy.
How has the pandemic affected your business so far, and what steps have you taken to curb the effects it has had on your business?
To be very honest, I have been lucky that my business did well even during the pandemic. Even though restaurants were closed, home deliveries were still functional, and what’s more, people trusted the safety of goods from a home business over something like a chain of restaurants. I believe good food ought to be comforting, and I realised many of my customers felt that way too. This turned out to be especially true during the pandemic, and I am glad I could bring comfort to people through D’OH.