Nikita Goel is a gold medal design graduate from NIFT Mumbai. She is on a mission to create an impact in society through her work.
Her love for art and craft made her work and her knowledge made her combine Indian art with contemporary designs.
Payal and Nikita Goel, the mother-daughter duo, together built “The Indian Rose” from scratch and are creating an impact through their work in the lives of people around her.
IcyTales is in conversation with Nikita Goel about his experience as an entrepreneur so far.
Q) Can you tell us about your journey as an entrepreneur in the home decor industry? What inspired you to start your own business?
Nikita Goel: I graduated from NIFT Bombay in 2019 with a gold medal. I also landed a Pre-Placement Offer with a top corporate in my industry. I started working and learned a lot and it was a great experience.
After COVID hit, I was working from home. I remember thinking one day about how is my work impacting the people around me. I always wanted to do something which could impact society and people.
Days later I traveled to Jaipur to visit a friend. I saw so much culture and art around me and it inspired me a lot.
That is when it struck me that this is something I want to do. It was at that moment that I knew that I wanted to work and create.
That’s where the Indian rose was born. I wanted to work with the artisans in India. I wanted to incorporate my design skills with their years of experience and create something beautiful.
During COVID-19, the artisans were hit by the pandemic, they left their art which had been practiced for years and they started putting up small stalls on the streets. I realized this and decided to start from here.
I have cofounded this with my mom. She has experience in e-commerce platforms. We both came together to build this. It was a really good combination for us.
Q) How do you differentiate your home decor products from your competitors in the market?
Nikita Goel: Whenever you start something you do competition and market research. Even if I am doing an impact business, I still need to sell to pay my artisans.
So I did competitor research. I found that the designs that were in the market were not contemporary. I also realized that some of the designs and aesthetics were way too traditional and some were way too modern which had lost the essence of the craft.
So that is where we come in. We combine both. We keep the design modern but we also keep the intrinsic property of the craft alive.
Secondly, we always tell a story with our product. We always want to educate our buyers about the artisans and crafts and their history.
We always send a handwritten note with the product, so it gives a handicraft touch to it.
I think it is very important to create awareness about our craft be it about the product you are buying or the person who has made it. I think it is very important to educate buyers on that.
We want to get as many home decor products under us and as many buyers under us as possible. We bring modern designs, we keep the intrinsic property of craft and we tell the story of our product. I think this makes us different.
Q) How do you identify your target audience for your home decor products?
Nikita Goel: That is a constant process of having a hypothesis, running a hypothesis getting the data, and then working on it. I work with a certain set of data, which is like knowing who the people buying such products are.
It is best done offline because we can see our customers and their reactions, opinions, etc. We set up pop-ups and then we created our hypothesis and kept adding data to it. This is how it is usually done.
Moreover, Technology is really helpful for collecting such data. There are different apps such as Google Console pages and Amazon pages, that provide us the detailed data analysis. So we try to keep up with the Tech and rely on it heavily.
Q) Could you share an example of a challenge you faced while establishing your home decor business and how you overcame it?
Nikita Goel: We are working in an unorganized sector, which does not involve factories or heavy machinery.
It is completely human skill dependent. Initially, we found clusters around us so that we could visit them frequently.
Initially, we were just learning about the process like how much time the supply chain takes place, the manufacturing takes place and to communicate our designs to the artisans.
It was also important to find artisans who were willing to incorporate new ideas and designs into their craft.
Also, we have to forecast our demand since our handmade products take time to be made. We can not compete with factories made products.
Therefore, it was important to understand our supply chain process and how we could optimize it.
Q)How do you find a work-life balance while running your own home decor business?
Nikita Goel: I think when we are initially starting our own business, work-life balance can take a toll. However, it is very important to realize that if we do not value our mental health and space, the business will also be affected.
Our body can only work to a certain limit, so it is very important to take a break. If you do not, your body will show signs such as your mind and body will get slow.
I love to take breaks for myself, and I do things that I like such as meeting my friends, doing art at home, reading a book, etc. I understand that if I do not take a break I can not run my business.
Q) What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs who are interested in starting their home decor businesses?
Nikita Goel: Do not wait to create a perfect product, a perfect design, or a perfect business model. There is no such thing as “perfect”.
When I started I wanted things to happen perfectly and to follow specific guidelines but I realized that one can not wait for the “perfect” to happen.
You should just start, and have a dynamic thought process. You should not wait for perfect and you will eventually start doing better.
Do not compare yourself to other people’s journeys. Everyone has a different back story and everyone’s journey is going to be unique.
You will only feel low if you try to do that. It will not help you or your business. You should just try to get better.
Try to attend as many fairs, trade shows, and events happening around you in the home decor segment.
There is so much you can understand through a laptop. You should go out, understand customers, step out in the market and try to learn.
Q) Can you share a memorable customer interaction or feedback that made a significant impact on you?
Nikita Goel: I remember this lady had bought a lot of stuff from our one-day pop-up. Since it was very heavy, she left the order with us at our store.
However she never came back to pick it up, and we did not have any contact information about her.
We waited for a lot of days for her but she did not get back to us. We were not okay with it and we could not keep the products.
We figured out her contact number and contacted her to take care order from us. She was very grateful since we kept her stuff for such a long time as it was and kept trying to reach her instead of letting it go.
Since then she has been our regular customer and is one of our biggest supporters.
Q) What are your long-term goals as an entrepreneur?
Nikita Goel: My long-term goals are to expand our verticals and include more designs and more artisans under us. We want to explore textile, apparel, and jewelry crafts too.
We want to make Indian Rose, a one-stop destination for all home-made and authentic products.
Nikita Goel, an inspiring entrepreneur lives by the mantra to “just show up. She believes that even if the work is hard or seems impossible, one should always show up and just by showing up, ninety percent of the work is done.