Entrepreneur: Samay Sanghvi
Business Name: Faceless Clothing
Welcome to Entrepreneurs of India #startupstories episode 142
Heated debates on different social issues are a common sight on television and political sphere. Ever wondered how a youngster looks at the pressing problems that happen around him? Meet Samay Sanghvi, a fifteen year old highschool student from Mumbai. He found an offbeat and creative way to support different causes & activist movements across the globe – Fashion!
Samay founded Faceless Clothing, an online apparel company that focuses on designs that are considered activist or catering to a social justice theme. The uniquely themed apparel from Faceless gives voice to the voiceless, in a powerful yet creative way.
“Our ultimate goal is to spread awareness using our designs because we believe that the ultimate way to solve each and every problem is awareness! It’s mainly targeted towards Gen-Z,” says Samay. Let’s unveil his complete entrepreneurial journey in this episode of startup stories.
1) How did you get your idea for this business?
One of my friends had approached me with the idea of launching a clothing brand. We had no clue what we were going to make the clothing about. So after many brainstorming sessions, I had my ‘aha’ moment, I kept seeing gen-z reposting activist and social justice-related content on their Instagram stories regularly. I took this idea up as it is something I personally care about and could see there is a demand for.
2) Why is “now” a good time for this idea to exist?
This is because there is no one fulfilling the demand for such clothing, especially in India. Abroad, there are some competitors but none that I know of in India. And I feel in 2020 that a lot of acts of activism have occurred, the Black Lives Matter movement instantly comes to mind.
3) What was the reaction from your family when you first decided to become an entrepreneur?
My family has been supportive of me. They have also provided the initial funding for me to get the website up and to get the prints of the T-shirts.
4) What was your biggest mistake in business and what did you learn from it?
My biggest mistake would be that I thought that once I create products and boost an Instagram post, sales would start flooding in. I was wrong!. I learned that Facebook and Instagram ads aren’t as simple as they seem and that to convince someone to make a purchase the product usually needs to be of tactical use to them( like a hard drive) but something creative like clothing needs to connect with them emotionally. We have since launched more and better designs, and I am learning about how to actually do Facebook ads.
5) What is your biggest obstacle in the next 12 months and how will you overcome it
It would be to not reach a plateau. Currently, we are in the process and stage of increasing the demand but I’m sure soon enough we will be successful in our efforts and I’m afraid of a plateau due to reaching maximum scalability as I’m still in school.
6) What habits contribute to your success?
I would say my persistence. A five-year-old’s curiosity and (not sure if this is a habit) entrepreneurial fire which pushes me to constantly work on me and my business and put in long hours without a second thought. I think my curiosity and persistence work hand in hand because I try to improve myself every single day by learning,which is fueled by my curiosity, and when combined with persistence, I turn out wiser than I was the day before!
7) If you had the opportunity to start this business again what would you do differently?
I would not have hired others because I doubted my ability to create the designs after my designers left due to some issues. I was forced to make the designs and the few I have made are the ones people have shown the most interest in!
As an entrepreneur, I would also learn more about Facebook ads before beginning to spend because when I started without knowing much I pretty much flushed the money down the toilet
8) What is your favourite inspirational quote?
I don’t think it’s a quote but I had heard Barbara Corcoran once say that she was too busy building her business that she didn’t have time to worry about failure, which is something I always find motivating.
9) Where do you find inspiration?
My inspiration usually comes from internet sources such as Pinterest. From time-to-time, I read or watch something online which really motivates and inspires me such as alux.com and Ryan Serhant on YouTube.
10) What is your favourite book?
It’s ‘Sell it like Serhant’ by Ryan Serhant which is about sales. Some may say it’s targeted towards real estate but I find it helpful in my business and it’s fun to read- which is not the case with most business books.
11) What advice would you give to someone starting out?
The only way to learn something is by doing it. Don’t sit around thinking that you wanna do something. Do it! What’s the worst that can happen? After experimenting you will know whether to continue with that or try a different tactic.
Entrepreneurship is indeed a risky domain. A less-taken path. But Samay, despite being a highschool student, decided to pursue it. He redefined the way we perceive fashion and used it as a creative tool to support various causes and social activist movements. Maybe someday, Faceless, his small bootstrapped fashion startup, would be the face of revolutionary fashion! Because every idea was small before it became a big, smart idea!