Entrepreneur: Akshaya Dhanaraj
Business Name: Oh Wow Store
Welcome to Entrepreneurs of India #startupstories episode 149
Akshaya Dhanaraj was blown away by the idea of dreamcatchers. She was fascinated at the thought of how a tiny hoop decorated with feathers and beads could protect people from nightmares. She began making dreamcatchers to kill time and as a stress-busting activity. But what started as a hobby soon turned into a business. The quality of her dreamcatchers fetched a lot of customers from across the country.
While many of the businesses bore the brunt of lockdown in the wake of covid, Akshaya’s could successfully 10X her sale. How did she make it happen? We catch up with Akshaya for a conversation.
1) How did you get your idea for this business?
Failures in my academics led me to have a year out from my engineering tenure. It was the toughest phase of my life where I received a lot of stick from my family and friends. So to take my mind off of all the negativities, I indulged in making some handmade products. And to showcase my creations I started an Instagram account. And that’s where I received my first order to make a dreamcatcher. That’s when I realized that this had a money making potential. So I put my head down and worked hard for it. Soon my part time hobby turned into a full time business.
2) Why is “now” a good time for this idea to exist?
Last year the lockdown proved to be a huge issue for most businesses. But that wasn’t the case for me. Due to people spending more time away from work and more on social media, the traffic on my pages grew 10 folds.
I received a lot of orders. So for me personally it was a good year of business. Even after the lockdown was removed, people now spend a lot of time at their homes and they are loving to redecorate their homes, so this is the best time and way to provide their needs.
3) What was the reaction from your family when you first decided to become an entrepreneur?
I was never discouraged by my parents. They have always encouraged me to be on my own and even my dad is a business person so they have always supported me and had my back.
4) What was your biggest mistake in business and what did you learn from it?
I was depending on one platform that was my biggest mistake and now i have started to enlarge my business and move out to all other platforms
5) What is your biggest obstacle in the next 12 months and how will you overcome it?
Until now, it’s only been me working on my business. But the orders are fast coming in and it is too much to handle on my own. I surely do need to expand and add more manpower. So, scaling my business is gonna be the biggest task.
6) What habits contribute to your success?
My best quality would be my perseverance. If I want to get something done, I would get it done no matter what. And of course, my work requires a lot of patience. I’m normally very impatient, but when I get into work I become super-patient.
7) If you had the opportunity to start this business again what would you do differently?
I am grateful for how this business has turned out. I wouldn’t really want to do anything different.
8) What is your favourite inspirational quote?
Dream it … do it and live your dream
9) Where do you find inspiration?
From nature. Nature is my biggest inspiration.
10) What is your favourite book?
I’m sorry I’m not much into books. I’ve read a few fiction books. That’s it. Not really a fan of self-help or biographies.
11) What advice would you give to someone starting out?
Just do things. Don’t wait for the right opportunity. Opportunities do come when you do things. And you can always correct yourself on your way.
To be a successful entrepreneur, you have to put your heart and soul into what you love. For Akshaya, it was all about turning her passion into a well-structured business. She found a business opportunity in her hobby and worked hard to scale it. As an entrepreneur, she showed us how you could turn the worst situation into your favour by scaling her business in the time of the pandemic. We wish her all the best!