Zooki: Re-inventing designer jewellery
A platform for curated designs
Charu (39 years) began her entrepreneurial ventures in jewellery and fashion in 2008. She is an alumnus of Sri Venkateshwara College in Delhi University and Shri Ram College of Commerce. She acquired expertise in this field by studying jewellery design at the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) in London. Family commitments kept her occupied between 2010 and 2015. Charu is back to business now and is taking the next steps to fulfill her vision and commitment. Zooki is a platform for carefully curated eclectic designs in women’s designs in women’s clothing, jewellery and accessories.
The shepreneur from Delhi opens up in an invigorating tete e tete with Baishali Mukherjee. Read on!
I used to work in Human Resources for Reliance Info comm. Joining them as a management trainee straight after finishing my post-graduation, I had a wonderful two-and-a-half-year stint with them before realizing that my passion lay elsewhere.
The idea of Zooki was festering in my mind for six-seven years before I could give it a shape. But the first step was taken on September 28, 2015 when I sat down in my brother's empty cabin in my father’s office and started articulating what was in my head onto paper.
I wanted a name that was associated with nature
Zooki, my store's name means 'female parrot' in Sanskrit. I had asked a friend to think of interesting names for me and my mandate to them was simple - I wanted a name that was associated with nature (peacocks and parrots remain my favourite motifs) and one that had a short and snazzy pronunciation. I loved Zooki because although it's deeply connected with my own culture and environment, yet its appeal isn't lost even on people from other countries.
Promoting culture and inclusion
Essentially, we're a platform for carefully curated, eclectic designs. The product range focuses on dovetailing India’s rich heritage of textiles and embroideries with contemporary, innovative silhouettes and global trends. We take care to display the work of fresh, young talent alongside the established runway labels.
We cater to the well-informed, globe-trotting, fashion-forward and image-conscious women who are influenced by international icons but equally appreciate India’s intrinsic strengths in design and fashion
I trust myself and just go with the flow
The most daunting challenge is of course, trusting your own gut. Believing in me and taking the plunge into the unknown was my first battle. After that everything seemed do-able albeit difficult! Apart from all the obvious challenges of a new business, arranging funding, putting together the right team etc. were the other concerns. As with most women with children, there is another constant challenge. That's the challenge of pursuing new goals whilst at the same time continuing to handle the previous ones of being a home manager and mother
My formula to deal with challenges is quite simple. I trust myself and just go with the flow. I have a simple goal - just do the absolute best you can and then allow things to take their own course. Although I'm still on a learning curve - two mantras have emerged as very reliable strategies - Time management and delegation. I always plan my day in advance and trust my team to take on as many of the responsibilities as they feel they can.
I don't think anyone is prepared to completely face the uncertainty that different turns in our life brings. But yes, having had a disciplined childhood, I am no stranger to hard work. The other thing is that I'm a veritable sponge! Every day, everywhere I'm learning new things and picking up tricks of the trade from the people around me! Whether it's in my interaction with my designers, with my own team or even salesmen at stores when I'm sourcing fabrics or materials - I soak in what I can and store it away in some deep recesses of my brain.
My faith in god and emotional and mental support from my family and close friends really helps me. I'm also exercising regularly to better cope with the increased levels of stress in my life. Regular rest and sleep during the week is essential for me but during the weekends I want nothing more than to close my mind to work and just relax and have fun.
Honestly, I'm still a trainee myself so it's too early to start dispensing advice. But if I were to give pointers they would be these -
Detailed planning and research is absolutely essential before starting a new venture. Don't take shortcuts.
Be very patient with yourself. There will be many frustrations along the way but you have to look past them and stay focused on the big picture.
And finally, even if you make some mistakes- it is really ok.
Would you be interesting in investing into curated, designer jewellery business? Do share your views.