Millennial IN her MID 20's
with already immense wisdom to share.
Shagun's journey started as a Telugu Actress believe it or not! Her idea was to give all her interests a shot to avoid any future regrets. She then became a fashion entrepreneur and her brand Eristona associated itself with the country's leading fashion friendly names. Once her business slowed down she had to consciously make a decision to shut shop and move on.
In this exclusive BeBadass profile, we share her journey through the ups and downs that led her to a new prospect in her life all together. It's an insightful look into the world of all startup leaders with some brilliant points that need to be noted.
Everybody talks about the hustle that ultimately leads to the highs of life Success, money, fame, followers and pride of course.
Sure we love to boost your morale and give you a pep talk to keep up your tempo in this insanely competitive world, but these sassy quotes and uplifting words will not get you through the much dreaded but often inevitable falls.
What happens when your dream doesn’t work out and you ultimately need to give up? How do you cope up with the internal struggle and decide you need to call it quits? More importantly how do you dream again and learn to move on from the ashes of your beloved?
To set an example and answer the questions, we thought it best to chat with a boss lady Shagun Kaur Chadha, the former founder and CEO of Eristona, a fashion jewellery & accessory label who has been through it all. She started Eristona in early 2014 because at the time she believed India lacked the availability of Affordable Artificial Jewelry (Affordable being the Keyword in the sentence). Within 3 years her business was booming with a team of 8 people working directly and closely with and under Shagun. She recalls her proudest moment "When our Limited Edition Eristona Golden Cross Earrings were worn by Depika Padukone. I literally couldn’t stop jumping around!"
She claims that "running your own business is harder than it looks", something that most entrepreneurs would agree with. From the day to day obstacles that are a part and parcel of a start up, Shagun managed to learn a few things which are noteworthy :
You don’t know who is going to be helpful one day, you must maintain healthy relationships with abosultely EVERYONE you come across in your respective Industry
"When our Limited Edition Eristona Golden Cross Earrings were worn by Deepika Padukone. I literally couldn’t stop jumping around!"
Whether it’s with your supplier or buyer, don’t hesitate to negotiate, there’s almost ALWAYS wiggle room.
Healthy Work Environment is KEY
Making sure my team was always happy & laughing was really important to me. I quickly understood that I wanted to work with the Team as if I was one of them & not one above them. I would often involve them in big business decisions, even if it wasn’t something from their respective field of work. I believe that the more they feel valued, the more value they will add to your business. Your work team is your second family!
Having worked with names like Koovs, Lulu & Sky and Ajio, the brand began slowing down in 2017. It was an onset of the whole GST mess and the fact that there was too much low priced, low quality competition in the market with some heavy backing that was impossible to compete with. Being a true perfectionist, she actually did not even want to try to compete because that meant lowering her quality standards which was something that she had made sure her brand stood for. She concluded to shut down in late 2017 keeping her team in mind, because she did not want to lead them into an oblivion of risk that was the sustenance of her beloved brand. She felt responsible for everybody in her team and fulfilled her internal obligation to be honest and fair to her supportive and hardworking team mates. When she finally disclosed the heartbreaking news to them their feelings pretty much mirrored her own she says, "The team was disappointed. Both for themselves & for the Brand. We all really believed that Eristona had the power to really go places.". She then took it upon herself to get them interviews and find suitable jobs so that none of their incomes and livelihoods would be affected.
When asked about her own disappointment, she shares how difficult it was initially, "I found it hard to go to the office once I had mentally made the decision. Eventually, I convinced myself that if one door has closed, there is definitely another waiting to be opened. I am a true believer in Karma. I do believe that if you do good, good will come to you."
What goes up must come down right? The only difference is that for some it's sooner than later. For those the down comes sooner, how do they actually manage to rise up if at all?
For Shagun, once Eristona was a done deal she made it a point to evaluate herself everyday. She tried to factor in the things that made her happy, her strengths, her weaknesses, her USPs and so on. This radical approach to her quarter life crisis helped her learn about herself with a fresh angle. Her age long obsession (read addiction!) with makeup lead her to pursue the goal of stepping straight into the Beauty industry. "I knew that I loved doing makeup on both myself & other people. The only thing I lacked was knowledge, so I thought, well why don’t I just learn and brush up my skills and see what happens."
After completing her training as a Professional Makeup Artist, Shagun ended partnering up with a renowned Indian Makeup mogul. She took her keen interest in beauty and clubbed it with her knack for business and is ultimately now managing the business aspect with and for her partner.
Considering this is her second business venture we asked her if her past failure scared her, to which she responded
"Yes & No.
Yes because I put my heart & soul into Eristona & it’s sad to see it come to an end. I had a lot of faith in the brand so I guess it scary when so many years of hard work don’t go your way.
And No, because I truly believe the kind of Knowledge that I gained from running Eristona has changed me as a Person.
From developing a business, building it, seeing it rise & seeing it close; I’ve lived through it all. You will never learn these things in books or from a college degree, the real education lies here, in doing it yourself. The “failure” has only made me stronger & more cautious."
Skepticism is inevitable when beginning anything new no matter how much research and hard work you give it. Shagun however seems to have none at all, for her Makeup is a hobby and will always remain so. The thought of it nurturing into a fruitful business is definitely present, but till that happens "I’m busy working on something that makes me happy. How can I be skeptical about being happy?", she says.
Regardless of her long term goals, her short term ones remain simple and achievable at the moment - "To quite simply be busy doing something that brings me immense joy"
Shagun's journey so far, is not a story produced in a mill to be published in a rather futile self help book. It's an inspiration anecdote from a millennial who has been there done that. The out take from this might be different for different beings, but the most productive, practical and non philosophical one that we would like to point out is -
Always have a hobby (or more!). You never know when you will need it to save your ass!