Ahmedabad based ‘The W Trunk’ promoting women entrepreneurship

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Entrepreneurship is a celebrated word among the millennial, more so if one stays in Gujarat. Corporate executives have left high paying jobs to pursue their passion and step in the shoes of entrepreneurship. Students have started start-ups immediately after the college. Women have started their home business in jewellery, home decor, fashion or baking after their career breaks.

Each one, be it corporate executive or a student or a woman entrepreneur, looks for a broader audience for their business but only few manage to tap the pulse. What if someone managed all the visibility hassles for you while you focused on developing the product?

Dream come true right?

Well.. ‘The W Trunk’ is one such e-commerce portal based out of Ahmedabad, started by three friends – Priyadarshini Rathore, Vishwa Bhatt Weir and Dipit Kochar. They act as a catalyst for women entrepreneurs and help them by showcasing their products in front of a global audience. It is an online destination for those women who dream of fulfilling their desire to start up something of their own. They curate and showcase new talent on their portal – www.wtrunk.com

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Ahead of their upcoming exhibition named ‘The W trunk ‘17’ , Team Ciceroni got in touch with the founders to get an insight about their portal, their journey and future plans.

Read on the excerpts from the conversation…

Share the story with us about inception of The W-Trunk?

The W Trunk began its journey in 2015 with an aim to create a platform for women where they can transform their dreams into a tangible reality and turn them into businesses that make good money. To do this, we are increasing their reach to their potential clients through our networking and e-commerce platform.

In March 2016, we launched our online portal http://www.thewtrunk.com which is aimed at forming a community of women entrepreneurs who lead small/medium scale businesses and to provide them with a platform to sell their products online. Over the last one year, we have reached out to over 150 women entrepreneurs through our website and our on-ground event.

What were the challenges that you faced when you started ‘The W-Trunk’?

We are a team of three at ‘The W Trunk’.  We all share our passion for fostering women entrepreneurship and that got us together to create this platform.  Yes, we did face challenges while setting up ‘The W Trunk’. Primary challenge was to change the thought process of people and make them go online. It was a task to source such women entrepreneurs who would want to take the next step and go online.

Most of these talented women entrepreneurs offer customised products; therefore the longevity of their products on the website depends on a number of unique pieces they create. They work on a small scale therefore at times they do not realise the power of good photography and presentation.

We had to explain them the benefits of going digital and presenting the product in an aesthetic format.

How has ‘The W-Trunk’ evolved since 2015?

Since its inception, The W- Trunk has brought to town two on-ground exhibitions which saw the participation of over 150 women entrepreneurs. Both these events gave us an opportunity to offer them participation on our online platform.  By way of these two platforms – online line visibility and on ground events, we have been able to bring to the forefront many talented first time entrepreneurs.

Why should people visit the ‘The W-Trunk’ exhibit when there are already so many other exhibitions in the city?

‘The W Trunk’ is essentially a platform for enabling and fostering women entrepreneurs. We work on subscription basis model with women entrepreneurs while offering them hassle free front end and back end management.  We do not charge any commission on their sales. Our curation is our forte.

Our exhibitions around Women’s Day focus not only on promoting women entrepreneurs but also on creating awareness around women’s issues. We aim to be an ecosystem that promotes creative dialogues and business opportunities centred around women.

Out of all the labels that you have been associated with, which are your personal favourite?

It is difficult to pick and choose! All these labels are outstanding in their own way, but to name a few Atrangi, Nauka Shah, R – Clothing, Design Yogi, Hygiene and you are some of the brands we follow.

Are there any criteria that you look forward while selecting labels for your curation?

We mainly look at the uniqueness of the products, the entrepreneur’s zeal to take the brand forward and their creativity.

How do you support women entrepreneurs in their promoting their business?

Our online platform offers these women an opportunity to display their products digitally at no hidden costs. We do not charge commission on their sales and we offer them an opportunity to sell products for free till they achieve a sale of Rs. 5000 on the website.

Subsequently, they are free to choose a half yearly/yearly subscription option where we offer different services to them.

By doing this, we are removing the first barrier of how and why of digital presence for these entrepreneurs. Most of them are home based entrepreneurs who are not very well versed with technology. ‘The W Trunk’ helps them gain a broader customer base across country and increase the brand credibility.

The W Trunk did two shows so far, both in the year 2016. Their first event ‘The W Trunk’ was a 3 days’ exhibition around the women’s day weekend in 2016 and the latter one ‘Navmelo’ was an event focused on the most-loved festival of Gujarat i.e. Navratri.

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Their upcoming show “The W-Trunk Edition III” is scheduled from 3rd to 5th March 2017 and once again they are bringing to Ahmedabad a lot of good labels, lots of activities and lots of fun!

“No decision should be made on an empty shopping bag, so what are you for? Go shop now!”  says the team ‘The W trunk’. In case you too have exciting products to showcase, get in touch with them at www.wtrunk.com

And do Meet us at ‘The W trunk’ exhibit at Ahmedabad Haat from 3rd – 5th March, download our application, login and get a chance to win exciting prizes from Ciceroni.

( This article was originally published in Ciceroni – a mobile app that guides for city centric shopping, events and deals)

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Real women Achiever’s – Mamta Mamta

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“Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears.”

– Les Brown

It was 3.5 years back when I had taken a sabbatical to think, explore and contemplate on what I wanted to really do. I am true to my zodiac sign Gemini and change is what makes me the Happiest. Curiosity to explore made me venture into Fashion and retail segment. Coming from a humble service class background, it was a big jump for me to start a start-up of my own. But I did that. Little did I know then that it was perceived to be a courageous and risky take. I am happy I did that. I have learnt a lot in last 3.5 years of my entrepreneurial journey. So it really impresses me a lot when I meet such inspiring women from across the country who did similar things.

I always have been very fascinated by how women can multitask and carry jobs so efficiently.To deal with the work world and at the same time strike a balance between family duties is what amazes me. With the whole idea of emphasising and highlighting such women, I started this blog series of Real women and street style. We took you through some stylish women in this series. This is a separate extension of the real women series which focuses more on entrepreneurial spirit and achievements. So we call it “Real women achievers” series.

I met Mamta Mamta through the same virtual platform and I am glad I interacted with her. Miles away , through telecommunication also you could feel the enthusiasm and positivity bursting from her. She is a retailer , designer , entrepreneur , mentor and a fabulously positive person. So let me take you through her life journey

Name : Mamta Mamta

Profession : Entrepreneur, retailer, designer . ( She also acts as a mentor, consultant to various women entrepreneurs )

Brief summary of education :She studied in South Delhi Polytechnic majoring in textile design and interiors in 1982.

While in the 2nd year of her college , she met Ms. Usha Raghunathan who showed her a 1mt Mangalgiri cotton fabric. She saw the potential in it to be developed as a fabric for fashion usage and started developing the first range of stitched sulwar kameez in 1984 under the brand name ” Kutir”. She did exhibition then and no wonder the entire college and teachers all bunked together to have a look at this exhibit done by Mamta.

From 1985 to 2003 she was actively managing Kutir as a proprietor handling all the aspects of business. Then 2003 saw the birth of “Mamta Kheror Design Studio”. She designed and manufactured embroidered apparel and sent to clientele in UAE, Canada, South Africa and UK. In 2006 she co-founded ” Tribal route” in Mumbai . She was involved in designing, merchandising and retail operations of the store. All this while she used to have health issues but her never give up spirit kept her going .

For all those who have done entrepreneurship would know how are the starting years like. Having put your complete energy, focus and finances into it, what if the venture can’t survive the economic scenario ? Mamta went through 3 start-ups and winded them. I personally feel it requires immense courage and motivation from within to start-up afresh every time you fall down.That is when this quote by Richard Branson acts as motivation :“Business opportunities are like buses, there’s always another one coming.”

Mamta proved time and again that she was a woman of strong mettle and enthusiasm. She started Bluelotus in 2010 under which Buzzaria, multi-label retail store was incepted in 2011, her 4th start-up .So anyone who is from Delhi and is interested in kitsch stuff must have visited this showroom in Lado sarai. This store houses around 60 brands in fashion, lifestyle and retail category. The basic idea being able to provide a holistic shopping experience to a modern consumer.  NGO’s,Social Enterprises,Fair trade organizations,entrepreneurs and designers are the associates for them .From young college girls to home makers to illiterate women who could craft well, she provides a medium of earning for one n all. ( A dream which I have for the longest period of time, to support and provide living for women in whatever possible way I can )

She also got invited to do a Buzzaria on the move at The Ink Conference at Jaipur Dec 2011. They function under the label ” Blue Lotus ” which has 8 brands under it like Buzzaria, Mimathyma, Blupear, IamRa being few of them.

She runs ” The entrepreneur Alchemist” within which she mentors people for business , ideas, networking, social media and functioning. She has mentored, provided solutions created entrepreneurs for about 50 people in the past. She has trained about more than 500 rural/under educated people in embroidery, tailoring, cutting, designing and retailing.

I loved her concept of taking Buzzaria on the move which is called BuzzouQ. So they hold monthly exhibits in the neighbourhood so that the entire neighbourhood can come n check and buy things at ease. It has all things to keep customers glued – tarot, tambola, and our very favorite golgappas. I think it creates a brilliant opportunity for networking.

Passions: She is passionate about creating. Anything that catches her eye , she always thinks about how to retail it and market it. She has designed a complete 1900 sq feet studio space wherein a godown was converted into store. She totally loves to work. She has attended various networking events and conducts them herself . She breathes textiles, art  and fashion. She is also very spiritual and learnt Reiki and about crystals. That led to birth of IamRa  ( Told you, she keeps converting her hobbies into businessShe blogs as well .

Style quotient : She dresses according to the occasions and is always colorful. Being a textile person herself, she is more inclined to Indian wear . It usually is in cottons and with a contemporary twist to it. A loyalist to her brand Blupear , she wears only her brands footwear which are handcrafted by artisans from Rajasthan and Maharashtra.

For those of you who wish to get connected to her , you can check up these links :

http://bluelotus-diary.blogspot.in/

http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=1066406&locale=en_US&trk=tyah

https://www.facebook.com/Buzzaria

While I sit here in my cabin wondering how do some people have such energy to keep striving for more, a smile spreads across my face. I can relate to her , her want for MORE. I live life with the motto what did I do in the day that added to my skills , to my experience , to my fun quotient and to my story telling skills 🙂 I am sure many of you reading this also want such experiences in life, that’s when i remember this quote :

“Many of our fears are tissue-paper-thin, and a single courageous step would carry us clear through them.”

Take a step further, Do it now, Live it up today . Its better to make mistakes and learn rather than have regrets of not having tried and done.

So if you liked this post on women entrepreneurship, feel FREE to share and spread the word 🙂

Till then,

Keep it stylish.