Life is all about the next step

Social media is a big platform in today’s world. We see so many influencers and content creators and are always amazed by how beautiful their profiles are and automatically interpret that their lives would be equally amazing. I have always wanted to get a close picture of their journey and experiences.

When I thought of sharing a social media influencer’s story, my school friend Mansii Arora popped to my mind. Initially I was too hesitant to ask her to share her story for my blog as we hadn’t been much in touch after school and were just social media friends. But thinking the worse that could happen was she saying a blunt no to the idea, I messaged her, told her what I was planning to do but she informed me that she doesn’t do social media influencing much now and is about to launch her own brand, Kocoon, a range of Luxury Ayurvedic Cosmetics. Even more curious as to what made her change her direction, I insisted I would still love to hear her journey and she happily agreed!

Mansii started by sharing her journey from the scratch. She told that her mind was pretty clear after school that she wanted to go for the Beauty Pageants and would do her graduation side by side. I asked if her parents were supportive about this decision of hers to which she replied that her parents have always been supportive in all her decisions of life and she herself believed that letting kids fly and chase dreams on their own terms is a wonderful aspect.

I asked her how the Beauty pageant journey was to which she said that she lost an enormous amount of weight just after schooling, worked hard on toning her body and groomed herself thoroughly on every aspect to participate as a strong contender. Unfortunately she couldn’t make it. And the next obvious question I asked was how she handled the rejection to which Mansii replied with utmost honesty that it wasn’t very easy to see her dreams fall apart and she was extremely heartbroken. However, she gave a beautiful reply (and I quote) “I have learnt the most important lesson that life will defeat you end number of times but you must not be defeated. Rejections are a part of life and every kid must be taught how to deal with failures, right from a very early age.”

When asked if she could suggest something to people trying for beauty pageants, Mansii suggested that one should be confident but not overconfident. And that it’s wiser to prepare yourself while being affiliated to some pageant school or coaching.

What happened next? Refusing to give up, she decided to go to Mumbai for a Diploma in Fashion Designing and to try her hands at modelling. I asked her how she found the city of dreams to which she replied that her one year in Mumbai was the most challenging year of her life. She had to consistently follow her daily routine, juggled between the two careers and alongside faced unnecessary harsh environment which made her surroundings not very peaceful.

I asked her to share more about her modelling experience. Mansii told that it wasn’t easy. Sometimes you get rejected by the agencies and sometimes you don’t even get a response. Sometimes things don’t work out no matter how hard you try. When asked what advice she would give to people thinking of pursuing modelling, Mansii advised that networking is the most important. That’s only how you can go ahead in a career like modelling, you need to know people and people need to know you. She added that the industry is not easy and “metoo” is not a myth. One needs to keep their dignity high and themselves protected.

After a year full of hardships, she decided to come back and since she was quite passionate about fashion and styling, she started making fashion videos or vlogs. She told she was amazed by the kind of content influencers were making and thought she too could probably contribute and earn a living out of it.

The videos were appreciated and slowly and steadily she knitted a family of about 20-21,000 followers. She worked with a few brands, created fashion and styling videos for them. However there was always a delay in payments, sometimes the payments were not honoured and she was paid less than promised. These instances broke her bubble and made her realize that social media influencers lived a superficial life. She concluded that this could not be a mainstream career and eventually stopped creating content.

Was she a victim of hate and mean comments? Did they affect her? The answer was a big yes and to my surprise, most of them were girls. She said that some of them didn’t like her choice of styling, some didn’t like her face and some men didn’t like her bold choice of clothing. But what she answered next amused me, (and I quote) “It used to affect me for some time but then I would get normal because someone’s hate is a clear sign of how unhappy they are with themselves and their life, it has nothing to do with you.”

Mansii concluded by saying that the road has been quite bumpy and the journey has been challenging but she has learnt a lot over the years, the most important one of those being discipline. She told that her only support system were her parents and her friend Tejas on whom she truly counted upon.

It takes courage and a lot of strength to keep on trying even when things don’t go in your favour. From trying for the beauty pageant to modelling to being a social media influencer and now to finally step onto the path of entrepreneurship, Mansii got success in some and learned a lot from the ones in which she didn’t and that’s why it’s rightly said, life is all about the next step!

Link to Mansii’s instagram account : https://www.instagram.com/mansiiarora/

Young minds at work #1

I have always been amazed by people around my age thinking of their own business ideas, planning them and working real hard to make them a success. One of those is Ambika Chhabra, a 21 year old, currently pursuing her MBA from Amity Global Business School, Chandigarh and alongside managing her business The Tuck Shop India (TTSI). Sharing her story through my blog so that it inspires people who are thinking of starting their own business (because you never know where motivation comes from!)

Clipping of TTSI featured in Hindustan Times

Ambika starts sharing her journey by telling that like everybody, she expected 2020 to be the year to accomplish her goals and started The Tuck Shop India in February. It’s an online business which sells trendy, quirky and fashionable stationery pan-India at reasonable prices and quality of which I can assure you since I myself am a frequent buyer. She tells that the word “Tuck” in TTSI means to make combos/hampers and hence the online business also makes customized combos.

When asked about how she came up with the idea, she tells that it was a completely random plan which she was inclined to do since she herself was a big fan of the unicorn and fancy stationery. She shares that she expected the products would be bought by young girls of around 5-6 years. However, the response she received slowly and steadily was neither from a particular age group nor from a particular gender.

Curiously I asked her how her family reacted when she told them about it. She told that her parents were the happiest and have been the biggest pillars of support all throughout her journey. And as can be expected from any sibling, her brother mocked her in the beginning but he too has been a support and has helped her in managing the finances. She also talked about her friends who accompanied her in the process and boosted her to keep going.

Did she face any difficulty in the starting? She replied it was a really tough journey where she learnt a lot. Funnily sharing her anecdotes, she said she expected shipping the products would just mean to send them by courier but she gradually learnt all the know-hows of it. She shared her naive experience of how unaware she was of the terms that she couldn’t figure out the “PP” (Purchase Price) commented by one of her customers on an Instagram posts.

I asked her if Covid-19 acted as a setback to her business but she happily told that since the business was online, it wasn’t affected majorly. Infact, spread of Coronavirus gave her a break from her daily college routine and she could actually focus on the business and grow it.

She told that her bestselling products till now have been the unicorn headphones, storage trunks (which I personally love too!), customized necklaces and sippers and many other combos.

Did she have to deal with hate/ rude customer behavior? She answered that most of her customers have been full of warmth and love and there hasn’t been much room for hate, they were mostly just concerned about their orders reaching them in time without much delay. Infact, she shared one happy experience, where she received a cake from one of her customers when TTSI gained 5,000 followers on Instagram. Isn’t that adorable? TTSI customers becoming TTSI family!

I concluded my extensive questioning asking if she has any set targets in her mind for the future to which she replied that she wishes to make a proper website in 2021. Ambika also showed keen interest in displaying her products at various exhibitions, which couldn’t be materialized as of now because of the pandemic.

When asked to share a tip to the budding business enthusiasts, she suggested that they should convert their passion into their business, keep their spirits high and face all the ups and downs but never give up and create on their own instead of copying somebody else’s hard work.

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The Tuck Shop India currently accepts orders from it’s Instagram page and it’s Whatsapp. Same day delivery available in Tri-city (Chandigarh, Panchkula, Mohali) area.

Have a look at TTSI’s products on it’s Instagram page : https://www.instagram.com/thetuckshopindia/

Have your heart on any particular product? Use coupon “TTSIxSS10” and get a 10% off on all orders above Rs 499. Offer valid till 16th of September,2020. HURRY!!!