“Luxury bags make your life more pleasant, make you dream, give you confidence, and show your neighbors you are doing well.” – Karl Lagerfeld.
While Karl Lagerfeld (Creative Director for Chanel and Fendi) has a lot of quotes to his credit, this one perhaps struck a chord with Swati Panchadhar, Founder of ‘Zizelle.’ What is Zizelle, you ask? In their own words, “Zizelle is the Dernier-cri in the world of bag fashion!” Simply put, Zizelle offers a collection of statement bags, that provide the much needed ‘ZiZ’ in your life.
“I honestly believe that a bag, completes the look for any woman – it could be the work look, a dinner look, or an airport look. Accessorizing with the right handbag adds all the ZiZ.” says Swati. Being a fashion enthusiast herself, she saw the opportunity in this space and started Zizelle in April 2015.
Zizelle is a marketplace for statement handbags from across the world. Swati and her team scouts for unique designers and niche manufacturers, thus ensuring her customers have a one-of-a-kind selection to choose from. The business is three tiered:
- eCommerce. The simple transaction of buying handbags from the Zizelle catalogue..
- Services: Zizelle offers Wedding services by pairing all of your wedding outfits with matching handbags. This is exciting stuff, because they’ll also match the outfits of everybody in your trousseau. Taking this service one step back, Zizelle does customised bags for your bridal shower!
- The third aspect is the B2B, where niche designers can sell their products directly on Zizelle’s website.
At the moment, Zizelle is bootstrapped and being funded by Swati. She will however reach out for investment when the business shows the right traction and sales. You can look at their catalog on their Facebook page, Amazon India and Flipkart. Their very own website will be live in a couple of weeks.
When she’s not donning her ‘ZiZ’ cape and saving women in Hyderabad from hand bag disasters, Swati is a Sales Director for IT BFSI & Professional Services at HCL Technologies. There is however one other role that trumps all of the above. Being a super mom to a toddler! Swati juggles it all. Her secret? Working that ZiZ with the bag on her arm!
Startup Hyderabad wishes Swati and her team at Zizelle good luck. Women entrepreneurs for the win.
“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose …Read More 7 years ago Sameeksha Bansal
A couple of days ago, Twitter formally announced what rumour mills had been anticipating for a little while now: An extension to their 140 Character limit! Woot! Woot!
But before you get very excited, there are certain provisos to this grand announcement. The 140 character limit still stays, but the following are no longer part of that limit: Twitter Handles while replying. This is a big one, when you reply to a tweet, the handle of the original poster will not be counted toward the 140 character count. For me, this makes my tweet life a lot simpler. I dislike cutting words short, like using ‘b4 for before’ – I’m just old school that way. Attachments: Basically, photos, videos, and quote tweets will also be exempt from the 140-Character count. Twitter will also allow you to re-tweet yourself by enabling the retweet button for your own tweets.
This update will roll out in the next few weeks, making your tweeting experience a lot more rewarding. There have been countless times, I’ve had to edit and re-edit my tweets in order for them to fit!
Interestingly, I had read a article a little while ago analysing the existing services being offered by Twitter and the author had made a few very interesting recommendations. Among other things, the author suggested Twitter do away with the @handles counting towards the character limit! Well, the writer got what they wished for! You can read the article here.
How does this change your twitter experience, comment below and let us know!
1) StartUp Catalyst When: Saturday, May 28, 2016, 4:00 PM Where: Events Room, CIE, IIITH Gachibowli, Hyderabad Join the interactive panel discussion with key players in the startup ecosystem this Saturday at IIIT Hyderabad. Hosted …Read More 7 years ago Sameeksha Bansal
We are a social species. Which means, among other things, that we need to be meeting and getting along with people from all walks of life. And this applies not just to the personal sphere. Your work life is no different, meeting people and making contacts are a very important part of the professional culture. One common and popular way to make this happen is ‘networking’. It’s a familiar concept. If I had to guess, I’d say you’ve come across this word at least three times already in the day so far! Today, building a network comes a close second if not at the same level as building a business or a product. A good network can catapult your efforts in making your idea come to life. The catch? Building the said Network. The bare truth is, that building a worthwhile network is not easy. It’s time consuming and involves a lot of hard work. More so if you’re not very comfortable doing it. Networking at business events and meets is very un-nerving for introverts, even for people who claim to be comfortable working a crowd. Here are some pointers that should make your next event experience easy and worth your while in making contacts.
1. Arrive Early. This is for those who are starting out with the whole networking exercise and for those who are not very comfortable talking in large crowds. Arriving early to events, has a two-fold advantage. One, it allows you to get comfortable with the surroundings and gently eases you into networking with the few people available then. Arriving later can put you out of your element when small groups have already formed and you don’t know who to join. Two, because of the thin crowd in the beginning, you get the opportunity to build stronger contacts. You can spend 5-10 minutes with each person, allowing you to leave a long lasting impression.
2. Have an agenda. Take some time to figure out the kind of people to expect at the meet up. Use this information to see how some of these people can benefit you. Have answers to questions like “How can I help you?” ready. When you are presented with the chance to answer this question, don’t blank out. In the same context, ask open ended questions. Questions like ‘Why, Who, How, When” etc are good examples of open ended questions. These questions invite long answers and thus provide a good opportunity for a conversation starter. You want to avoid questions that can be answered with a mere Yes or No.
3. Business Card. Always have a business card handy. At the end of an event, people most likely collect a lot of business cards, for which they may not have the patience to remember. One tip is to make your card catchy and interesting – something that invites a second glance right when you hand the card. A tip for students: At a meet up for all things gaming, I met a design student who had a neat little trick up his sleeve: His business card read “ You met me at _______” and he had filled out the name of the event. Days later when I came across his card, I remembered him. But do remember: catchy does not mean flashy. Your business card should reflect the business you’re in.
4. Dress Well. Nobody is going to tell you this, but I will. Take the extra minute or two to evaluate how you look for an event. It’s not about showing off, it’s about making an impression. A clean and tidy t-shirt makes a better one than a stained and crumpled shirt.
5. Take a Friend. This is not so much of a tip than a suggestion. If going to these meetup’s alone is scary, take a friend. That way you already know one person there. It’ll do wonders for your confidence level. Make the event a contest with your friend: who can speak to more people.
6. Listen & Follow-Up. The urge for talking about yourself and your work while networking is strong, try and keep it curbed. Why? Listening is also a major networking tool. You want the other person to know you are genuinely interested in what they do. Always remember to follow up. The general thumb rule is to reach out via email within 48 hours of networking. Here, instead of a simple ‘Hello”, you could talk about a mutual interest that was discussed at the event. This improves your chances greatly in getting a reply.
7. Same Boat. Lastly, always remember that as much as half the people at any event are in the same boat as you. They are also nervous and unsure on how to network.
“Don’t think you are. Know you are.” This quote by Morpheus from The Matrix has always stayed with me and I find it apt for this post on owning and managing your digital being. For us today, simply existing in the real world is not enough. We also need to have an online presence that resonates with who we really are. These days, many people will look you up online before they meet you in person. It is this digital profile that creates people’s perceptions and expectations before actually meeting you in person. From business associates, clients, potential employers to investors, founders, and incubators, everybody makes sure to take a look at your social profile before forming an opinion. And it’s not like there is anything you can do practically to avoid this. Unless you are literally living under a rock, you will invariably have a digital presence. Then why not take control of what it reflects?
As a simple exercise, do a quick search with your name and see what pops up. Do you like everything you see? Do you believe it stands for an accurate representation of you? You can begin to build your brand from there. Keep in mind these basic guidelines:
Personal or Business. It can get a little hard to maintain the difference between personal accomplishments to business networking. But this is important. A good place to start is to keep these tools separate. For example, LinkedIn is a social network for professional contacts. What you share there should be strictly business. Engage in knowledgeable conversations and post work related updates. Twitter is another good example. Sharing a witty update here is actually quite alright. Of course, there might be a situation that, although is personal, the accomplishment is worth sharing everywhere. For example, if you’ve done a vigorous and challenging trek – you could share it on your professional network.
Consistency. You’ll probably hear a lot of this word. And that’s good, because this is a very important aspect of managing your digital presence. Whatever you choose to post, consistency is the key. Consistency across all your profiles in the digital world acts as a positive signal for anyone who looks you up.
Promote Yourself. There is no shame in a little self promotion. I’d even go as far as saying it’s healthy for you. What this means is capitalise on any opportunity to promote yourself. If you’ve written an article or are speaking at a conference – no matter how small or big. Find out if you can get the video clip of your session. Use this. If you have a little (or big) award from somewhere, a letter of appreciation from someone important, don’t hide it away. Feel free to let others know about your accomplishments.
Keep your profile information up to date. It is very easy to forget about the endless profiles you have and never update them. This should be avoided. Either have a very limited set of social media profiles or make sure they are all linked to be updated simultaneously. It does not bode well to see a twitter profile that was last active 5 months ago. Always make sure that your current work information is up-to-date. Professional networks like LinkedIn or Behance need to be current. Be aware of what is written about you. Set up alerts for any mention of your name in the digital world. You should know what your profile goes into and if you approve of it.
Blogging. Having and maintaining a blog is a whole category to itself. A blog is an extremely powerful tool to have for your personal brand. A well maintained blog gives the reader a very positive insight about the author. That said, a blog is not for everybody. Don’t have one for the sake of having one. A poorly written blog can do more harm than not having one.
A key tip to remember is not to project a certain personality that you like onto your digital presence. Try and keep it as close as you can to your real self.
Achtung! The Startup fever is high and they are on the lookout for talented people to join their team. Let’s broadly classify the start-up folks into two categories. On one hand you have people founding start-ups and on the other, you have people wanting to work in said start-ups. This post is addressed to the second category: the one’s wanting to work in a start-up.
Working in a startup might sound tun and just what you think you’re looking for, but remember that the startup life is not for everybody. Consider some of these points to assess for yourself if working in one is your cup of tea.
Change is the only constant. This age old saying rings true in the case of startups. Whatever else you might have expected, expect this. Since a startup is constantly evolving and figuring out what works best for itself, everybody associated with the startup also needs to evolve. From simpler aspects like office space, to more prominent ones like project direction and scope are all part of the evolution process. Working in such a climate requires you to be able to go with the flow.
That’s not part of my job description. This phase does not exist in a startup. Were you hired to drive marketing efforts, but find yourself often doing so many other things? This fluidity in your work profile is a classic example of how a startup works. If you can cope with multitasking, this is actually quite a boon. You get to learn so much. You get a front row perspective on how a startup works. No job is too small in a startup, be that getting coffee, taking out the trash or locking up.
Expecting a big fat pay check: This one is rather important. Startup life has been significantly glorified. When you interview for a startup, chances are that what you currently make is way beyond their budget or just about within. Let’s not pin our hopes on a huge pay increase from what you’re currently making. Most startups can at best match that number, if even that. What they can offer you though is perhaps equity or stock options. At the very beginning, this means nothing and it may always mean nothing, but if you’ve joined a startup that goes on to become a Facebook, then it means a whole lot. This is a risk you’re taking; assessing this risk is your responsibility. It’s up to you to keep up with news and happenings around the world in the business you are in. That said, if the startup clicks, the payoff can be quite huge!
Work-Life Balance? What’s that? While a start-up offers you flexible timings, you will be spending a lot more time at work. Long days, late nights, all-nighters are all very common. In fact, this is what qualifies as a significant part of team bonding. Long hours usually mean free food and beverages. Know this before you start working for one, if you prefer a nine to five job with evenings free to do your own thing, you’re not in the right place. Having said that, founders recognise the threat of a burn out and various measures are taken to avoid such a situation.
Growth. As a startup grows, the policies will evolve. For example, if you were given free food as a perk, this may no longer be practical with a bigger team. Usually when smaller perks are taken, they give way to long term and more promising perks, like Provident Fund, Insurance, or Bonus. When the company starts to do well, or has raised a round of funding, the founders see this as a good time to bring in someone senior and more experienced for specific roles. As a core team member, you should welcome such talent and not view it as a threat. They are there to teach you and take the start-up forward.
While this list is not exhaustive, it would give you a clear idea on what to expect. Keeping these arguments in mind, make an informed decision on whether the startup life is meant for you or not. If you decide that this is the life for you, prepare to enjoy the amazing experience, but also be prepared for a bit of a roller coaster ride. Good luck!