Many-a-times you get carried away with the opportunities that lie in front of you instead of taking the path that you’ve always wanted. Pursuing your passion as an entrepreneur comes with great risk but with the right knowledge, skills and business exposure, you will be able to lead a successful entrepreneurial journey.
Our SP Jain alumnus, Shubham Kedia, from the BBA ’14 batch, is an example of a passionate entrepreneur who turned down two major corporate roles and chose to start a business of his own. Read on to know more about his journey.
1. How has learning at SP Jain shaped your professional career?
The learning at SP Jain has challenged my values and adaptability in almost every professional environment. I was able to understand business concepts and use them in a more practical manner than I would have learnt in a traditional university where you studied at just one location. Moving around three countries and soaking in the culture also played a big role in shaping me as an individual. The preconceived notions and cultural stereotypes about people soon felt like immature behaviours of the past. The idea of respect, trust and growth in a workplace is something I stand by and to a greater extent, it's been imbibed through my education at SP Jain.
2. Was it easy turning down 2 huge roles?
Every role has its time to quit. One should know when they've hit a glass ceiling or when the opportunities to grow and excel become slim. That's the time to move on or turn to a different path and build something on their own. In my case, it was the latter. I could see a brighter future in the making; something which was tangible and had my name attached to it. I had worked for over 10 companies during my time with SP Jain. Each company taught me what I should take with me or what I should leave behind with reference to values, culture, and the company's vision.
3. Since when did you decide that the entrepreneurial journey is for you? Did you always wish to start something of your own?
When I packed my bags in Sydney and left for India, I knew I wasn't working for anybody else. I knew this was the leap of faith I had to take as I had given myself no choice. So when you have no choice or a backup, you need to go headstrong in one direction. The idea for my company did not come to me immediately. I did wish to start something of my own, but like every 20-year-old, I had no idea what that would be. I learnt that you can break your head thinking about ideas and tunnelling them down with research or sometimes you can jump in the deep end and hope to learn how to swim.
4. How would you expect your story to empower the youth of today?
Your brand is a reflection of you. It is pretty much visible to the audience. No matter what you sell, if you have the courage to start it, people will buy it. I suggest, go ahead, believe in yourself and take your chances!
5. Tell us about your company and how you plan on expanding it.
I was inspired by my SP Jain friends before starting ‘What’s Down?’. We were 8 friends that lived in two apartments and had two things in common, our love for football and ugly boxer shorts. I came back to India and noticed a niche in the fashion industry with a lack of comfy, quirky and cool prints on boxers.
What’s Down? was founded in this niche - we changed the perspective of eliminating the boring striped or checked prints for men. We wanted them to feel good about themselves with prints than what is already available. I mean, why are our socks quirky but the underwear we wear every day is not? We used such questions to challenge ourselves and build on the brand.
Working for a sustainable fashion company in the past, I knew that What’s Down? had to be responsible for the damage on the environment. Thus, we made sure that our approach was as sustainable as possible right from the beginning. We introduced limited designs, kept our production cycles to twice a year. Our packaging was plastic-free, we upcycled our waste fabric into face masks, we used the least harmful printing techniques and had complete control of the supply chain.
What’s Down? is expanding itself by creating a presence in online marketplaces. In the last two years, we have on-boarded ourselves to over 20 marketplaces. We have also expanded our presence in Australia and are now able to sell globally. We plan on expanding our product range and providing the most comfortable, quirky and cool innovations that the Indian fashion market has yet to offer.
6. How did SP Jain help you in leading a business of your own? What real-world problems did you deal with effectively due to the skills taught by SPJ?
SP Jain taught me that anything is possible if you have the persistence to make it happen. It gave me access to a bunch of resources including professors, mentors, and online learning material and helped build my network with global friends. I always went with the mind-set that your network builds your net worth and that's what SP Jain helped me to do. It gave me access to friends (now family) from over 40 countries which led to more internal connections over the years and opened further doors in countries over the world.
I was able to use my branding, marketing and supply chain lectures very effectively while founding my company. The lectures and notes taken during my classes are still useful in guiding me to the correct path whenever I am at a crossroad today.
Seeing Shubham’s experience and how he was able to implement all his learnings at SP Jain to create his own fast-growing business is sure to inspire many budding entrepreneurs. We’re proud to house students with courage and vision!