started out as as an experimental capsule of 10 earrings that 22 year old Gursakhi created herself using scraps of various Indian textiles. The idea was to create accessories that have an eclectic personality of their own. Her DIY project in 2015 went on to become a proper business idea due to the encouraging response. By 2017, the brand had an army of craftsmen and their very own studio. In 2018 the brand launched its website and was awarded the fastest growing Indian Instagram brand by Economic Times.
Gursakhi has done a brilliant job of not only creating a niche label but also becoming synonymous with the identity of her brand. One look at her Instagram and you will realise that she is ‘NakhreWaali’.
From a branding perspective what she has achieved is absolutely badass! In this interview she shares what she’s learnt from her mistakes, tips on successful branding and much more.
What were a few hurdles you faced when you started NakhreWaali?
Well I don’t have any formal fashion or design education and nor do I belong from a family where anybody is remotely related to the fashion/entertainment world. So while at my corporate job, I decided that I want to give a more professional channel to my creativity and start my own brand, It was anything but easy. From trying to find a team, a channel to sell, to convince my parents that the 22 year old me wants to quit her job and follow her passion.
Describe the NakhreWaali customer.
The NakhreWaali customer is somebody who is not shy to be herself. Whether she be an 18 year old school going girl who is often called a “brat” to a 50 year old independent lady dressed in a crisp saree heading to a corporate office.
They are not afraid of where they come from and are very well connected to their roots.
What’s the most important thing to keep in mind when building a team?
I think the most important point to keep in mind is the “vibe”. I have had some really talented folks coming as part of the team, but with the wrong attitude. While building a team, you want to be surrounded by people who share a genuine love for the brand and aren’t afraid to think out of the box.
Your tip to being a successful leader?
Stop trying to create replicas of yourself; because there is only one you. Lead the team by trusting them and their individuality. Focus on your goal and take care of the people who are helping you build your dream. Also, don’t forget to be grateful.
How do you deal with self-doubt?
I have a very silly way of giving myself validation on the days I feel low (which happens pretty often). I go back to my previous work that has got me some accolades and satisfied my creative soul. Just looking at it, validates me. It works!!
You’ve built a personal brand by being the face of NakhreWaali. Do you think personal branding is as important as your startup’s branding?
I think it has been the other way round for me. My personal brand has helped NakhreWaali gain more recognition.
When you start off with a new brand, personal branding is as important as creating an individualistic identity for your brand. People know you, they don’t know your brand yet. So you need to use your credibility to create a brand name and credibility for something which is an extension of you.
If you could change one thing about the first year of your startup, what would it be?
I would hire an accountant from day one. That’s one thing I regret looking back. Because I was so emotionally and creatively invested in my brand, during the initial stages I took a few bad financial decisions. It’s very important to weigh the numbers and budgets since day one.
How do you balance the creative and non-creative sides of work?
That is one of the biggest challenges. I try budgeting my time every week for the creative things and the non-creative things. Because both of them need to go hand in hand.
Do you think it’s difficult being a female founder in India? If yes, how so?
Yes it is.
As much as I hate to admit, but the truth around people not taking women seriously in a professional set up still exists. I have had vendors making remarks like, “You can take the stuff but let your husband/father do the negotiation with us.” Another classic that I have gotten during the initial days of the brand, “Are you single handedly managing the show? You would need a man at some point to back you up.”
And it’s so much fun to prove these idiots wrong!
How did you deal with knockoff and competition?
Don’t worry about people stealing your design work. Worry about the day they stop.
What is the most valuable lesson you have learned as a creative entrepreneur?
Don’t ruin your creative abilities in the process of trying to create a balance between artsy and commercial. Do and create what satisfies you and eventually people will fall in love with it!
Define a Badass woman
A badass woman is someone who’s a true NakhreWaali.
She is bold yet shy, she is feminine yet aggressive, she is proud of her imperfections.
Name a few Badass Women who inspire you
Every NakhreWaali customer who flaunts their true badass side inspire me.
Your advice to anyone who is too scared to take the startup plunge due to lack of a certain education/training?
Don’t be scared of being scared.
If something that you’re going to start is not giving you sleepless nights then it is anyway not worth