Mavenchic aims to be India’s first platform to provide Image Makeover services through digital media, to women from all lifestyles – from corporate to business women to homemakers to college going students – for every woman who wants to flaunt their image with confidence and stand out in a crowd.
Naaree.com caught up with Co-Founder, Priya Wagh Of MavenChic to learn her secrets of success.
• What is MavenChic about? What products or services do you offer?
We introduced the services of image makeover packages online where women can just login to their website and opt for image makeover packages at an extremely affordable price to transform themselves into the authentic and attractive persona they would love to portray.
We tied up with pan India Image Consultants, who are certified both nationally and internationally. We also have offline detailed packages like personal shopping, wardrobe management, bridal services.
We had this great idea to educate women on fashion and how to wear the right clothes on the right occasion, how to wear clothes that flaunt their body shape instead of being conscious about it.
We also teach women how to wear colors that reinforce their personal colors and make them look the most impressive, attractive and, most importantly, authentic, how to wear correct makeup, as per their personal colors, and how to create a perfect hairdo in less time.
Mavenchic is also an Ecommerce Fashion cum Advisory website which also specializes in selling Jackets, Coats, Blazers i.e. third layer of clothing online only for women which are recommended as per their customers personalized body type, personal coloring, personal style, occasion and latest fashion trends.
For personalized jacket selections, the client has to answer 4 to 5 questions, such as the occasion for which she wants to wear the jacket, her body shape, her eyes, skin and hair colors and her height, after which we have beautiful jackets to suit her, thrown up by the algorithm. This is a scientific approach and we have designed an algorithm that works perfectly for every woman.
We believe that women should understand that they don’t have figure “problems” but figure “variations” and if they wear the right clothes as per body shape and personal colors they are bound to look wonderful and attractive. Mavenchic have developed an algorithm to offer jackets or third layer ‘personalized and customized’ for the individual.
• What inspired to become an entrepreneur? Did you always love it or was it something you got into?
Having done my Engineering in Electronics and MBA in Finance, I landed up in a job which was in a different industry like most of us.
It was exciting and thrilling since it was my first job and campus recruits are always paid good enough to lure the employees. Though I was doing good numbers and was a star performer in my organization, the expected growth didn’t happen to me for a long time.
I was in a Sales and Marketing job for 6 years and sticking to achieving my targets everyday and building up strategies for myself and my team to excel had become a habit.
Though my job didn’t motivate me to stay there for long, but it helped me develop 3 most important skills – perseverance, aggression and passion. I understood my target audience exactly and knew how to market a product in whatever industry I am put into.
While I was working and leading a team, I somehow felt that being the best doesn’t help unless you’re passionate about the work you’re doing. I used to always wonder, somewhere down in my heart whether I was putting the zeal and passion I have in the right place.
I felt somewhere that I have to do something different and unique. And I finally I got this opportunity to discover my true inner sense when I took a sabbatical for my pregnancy.
During my long career break of 2 years, I thought that I can take up some course or do something part-time instead of just sitting idle. And great opportunities always come your way, you just have to keep your eyes open. That was my first step towards becoming an entrepreneur.
My business cum life partner, my husband, Bhalchandra, showed me an article on image management, by a leading institute, ICBI, in the Times of India, and suggested that I take it up as a business opportunity.
I was more than excited to take up the course as it was a business partnership course. That was my first step towards becoming an entrepreneur and first step towards entering the world of fashion. For the first time I had taken up something by MY CHOICE and I was so happy and thrilled about it.
• When do you know that it is no longer just an idea in your mind, and that you can really turn it into a lucrative business?
As I was taking up this full time course, I used to constantly think what next after finishing this course. What ICBI was offering as a business partnership was that they take consultants as trainers in their institute. And secondly consultants can also start their personal ventures where they can start their own 1 to 1 consultations and trainings with individuals and corporate.
By this time I was convinced that the scope is huge, and business opportunities are unlimited. But the market created by these consultants is niche, as image consultants charge very high rates. So it would not be affordable for the masses to use the service and feel the image makeover difference.
That made me think again that I had to do something different and unique. Something which would reach the masses, become convenient and economical for today’s women who is continuously on the go and multi tasking, managing home, family and work.
I always believed that I have to take up something related to woman empowerment and change the way woman perceive themselves. I always wanted to help a woman who is conscious about herself transform into the confident and beautiful looking person she is.
And the idea of Mavenchic developed when I was just in my 5th session of training. I started thinking of getting this image makeover concept online and reach every women of today who thinks she is different and unique and needs to look that way.
I have always believed that “a woman should not work hard to look good. She should look good in whatever she wears.” Every woman has the right to look her best all the times and carrying the right image creates the first ever-lasting beautiful impression that you are simply gorgeous!
So as I was pursuing my certification, I was also working on my website. And this was possible because of the constant support and motivation of my husband. We started Mavenchic – an expert who knows everything about fashion.
With online shopping growing in leaps and bounds, we believe that shopping has to be convenient and also value added. A woman should be happy about what she has bought and come back for further purchases.
It’s easier to convince consumer to buy discounted stuff, but with so many options it becomes difficult to buy the right thing. We want to be leaders in this industry and drive consumers to make every purchase thoughtfully and rightly only through Mavenchic.
I felt that if I tap into this niche market, it is definitely going to be lucrative, as we can stand out completely from our competitors. We are not just selling fashion, but we are also tapping into the emotions that trigger a woman to buy a product and look unique.
• What inspired you to start out on your own or with your partners? What learning lessons can you share from your startup experience?
The initial work along with the idea conceptualizing the setup and creating the name and registering the company was done by me, under the support and guidance of my husband, Bhalchandra Wagh.
He was working at a senior level in a prestigious organization at that point of time. But he was continuously on board with me with this idea, as he believed in this idea and my efforts and passion to make it big.
Adept at designing strategic solutions to drive sustainable value and create competitive advantage, Bhalchandra is a Mechanical Engineer and MBA (Operations) from Mumbai University. His interests include his love of cricket, food, travel, and Pilates.
After the initial platform was laid, we wanted to take it to next level. To market it aggressively and create a brand. And that’s where he realized that he would have to leave his job to do justice with Mavenchic.
Having worked with giants like IBM, Bayer Crop Science, Unilever, Lenovo and Sanofi Aventis and handling the global team, leaving his full time job which he was passionate about and joining hands with Mavenchic was the toughest decision for him.
But his belief in the concept and his drive to take fashion to a new level has really helped Mavenchic get a headstart. He has been a constant support and inspiration for me.
As business partners, we have different opinions and loads of arguments. But we are glad because our diversity of experience has helped us get better things on the table.
And at the end of day, with a lot of arguments, we have more options to consider and reconsider and take whatever is best for our organizational goal.
• What are some challenges that you faced initially when you started out? Do you have some examples to share and advice to women entrepreneurs on overcoming them?
The most challenging part of being an entrepreneur is to think even in your dreams of how to make your product perfect. To come out of your comfort zone and work for more than 16 hrs. To manage everything yourself right from idea creation to getting your first repeat customer.
It is sometimes stressful as you are investing your own money, time, passion, creativity in short everything. Also I have a small kid named Renisha. She is 4 years old. And the most challenging thing for me is to bring up two babies together: Renisha and Mavenchic.
It’s the most difficult task as both need my time and care equally. Getting support and advice from family helps, especially in looking after kids; the Indian joint family system has some advantages here. Your family believes in your dreams, so trust them, and let them look after your kid when you are not around.
The biggest challenge is finding the right talent to join Mavenchic, people who are equally crazy and passionate like you, who would love to work with you the way you do and who want to see organizational growth happening along with their personal growth.
It’s difficult to be dependent on a third person every time or get things outsourced. We are on a continuous hunt to bridge this gap and develop an in-house creative team and scale up our business.
We have developed an algorithm which was the most difficult aspect. It is a very unique concept of system showing you the right third layer as per your body shape, personal color, occasion and personal style. Developing this technology was challenging.
Women are good in multi-tasking, creativity and communication, but business success needs attention also to finance, legal and operations as well. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or hire other experts, because as an entrepreneur you have to learn about all these things and know to how manage them. Reach out to mentors, coaches and fellow women entrepreneurs.
Customer acquisition is also challenging as getting the word out about your business and having people pay for your service which is a niche a new concept in market in a scalable way is a bit challenging. Believe in your product and your gut feel. Take pride in yourself that you have developed a unique product, and this will make your product work in the longrun with the right reach.
This is what I would like to tell my fellow women entrepreneurs: Follow your dreams and work passionately, stay motivated, don’t get upset with failures, do better with every failure, work, work and only work.
Create your milestones and be your own competition. There is nothing such as overnight success. Stay focused and don’t give up. And also create a right balance between your work and family…. and of course, have your mentor or your husband always with you in strategizing your thoughts.
• What are all the things that a woman entrepreneur needs to keep in mind? I.e. apart from your great idea, what do you need to be armed with?
Success is not easy; most people have this false perception that when they fail they should take a different path. Everyone wants to be successful, and everyone’s definition of success is different.
Regardless of the definition, the goal is to go from where you are to where you want to be. Obstacles are bound to happen, but don’t get discouraged and lose your enthusiasm.
A woman is blessed with the most important quality of being patient all the time irrespective of whatever obstacle comes: just tackle it. Use this quality as a sword and follow your dream without losing your enthusiasm.
We need to surround ourselves with positive people who are going to help us and guide us. Like for me I had always been motivated by my inspiration, my mentors: my family who never let me down and discouraged my decision. Motivation matters especially when you are in the middle of a career which is a risky proposition altogether.
But she should also remember that it’s her baby, and her decisions matter the most in making it success. Stick to your own decisions as you are the best judge of your company.
There are going to be arguments, clashes with your partner, your family on a particular decision, but stay focused and stick like glue to your decisions. Follow your instincts and it will work wonders for you.
We need to understand that “Success is neither a destination nor an end point; it’s the constant accumulation of the development of you.” And today when I think back I am so overwhelmed by the fact that I have grown so much.
I understand business and how to run it. When you continue to work on yourself and your mindset, you will start to attract better things into your life at every level.
Constantly work on your work ethics, work habits, work timings, work attitude… as everything revolves round work… the harder you work… the better are the chances of you turning into a successful entrepreneur.
You need to be armed with self belief, ambition, passion and confidence that you are going to succeed, come what may.
• Do women entrepreneurs find it tougher to get funding for businesses? If yes, why do you think that is?
It’s a fact. Women do have a harder time getting funding than men. Like I said, there are challenges. Thankfully, though, there are also solutions.
Women have true leadership qualities when it comes to creating revenue and marketing opportunities and taking their ideas have a product and market fit. They have it all – qualities of leadership: teambuilding, partnership building, thoughtful management, and are market savvy.
Much of business involves emotionally connecting with your audience. That’s why women build ideas that emotionally connect with consumers: They are extremely good in professional relation management and create long lasting professional relations with their vendors, suppliers, partners and most importantly consumers.
But despite these facts sometimes it is difficult for a woman to raise funds from VC for few negligent reasons like:
– The “audience” when you’re raising a round of VC funding is, well, men. Women can’t possibly emotionally connect with men as well as other men can.
– VC’S prefer more risk taking companies that can make it or break it in 4 years. They do believe in go big or go home. But women are actually risk averse. They believe that everything works if you sell it in an authentic way and you are bound to succeed by taking slow and steady steps.
– Women get emotionally caught up, and sometimes have difficulty in taking tough decisions. You have to be quick in making dramatic business changes that could impact your employees. Women are emotional and nurturing and for them taking instant decisions of hiring or firing someone is a little tough.
– Work-life balance is important for them as they have to simultaneously run their families and their company. “There are ways to balance your time, but the perception is that you could be more effective running your business if you didn’t have to deal with kids.”
For these reasons, it is little difficult for women to pitch in for funding. But with strong determination, confidence, and belief to leave no stone unturned, a women can rise to any challenge and make it successful.
• Is it beneficial to have a mentor when you’re starting out on your own? What does a mentor bring to the table?
Don’t be afraid to ask for help or hire other experts, because as an entrepreneur you have to learn about all these things and know to how manage them. Reach out to mentors, coaches and fellow women entrepreneurs.
Mentoring is not only giving advice, it’s more of a commitment of time and attention that adds value to your organization. It’s difficult to find the right mentor pertaining to your industry. And if you find such a mentor, nothing like it.
As an entrepreneur you are constantly learning, and a mentor can guide you with all the things that take to reach there. They should be on same level of energy and understanding about your product, dreams and aspirations.
Fortunately for me, my brother, Prashant Kirtane, has been a mentor for me. He is a B.E. from VJTI. Having worked as a Director with Yahoo.com, he left that prestigious company just to start his own venture, TRAVELMOB – a Singapore based travel company which is the first Indian company to get acquired by Homeaway (largest US-based travel company) in a span of 6 months.
This is truly an inspiration and I am proud to be mentored by him from time to time.
• How did you recruit your first team? How difficult was it to get people on board during the initial stages?
We have launched our company just two months back. And currently we are a team of two co founders and have two team members. Firstly, to handle hiring right talent is the most difficult task and once you find it, there’s nothing like it.
It was difficult for us to take interviews as we had a small office space which was like a co-working space with other entrepreneurs. And convincing the guy you are going to hire to think big, as we want to make it big, was not easy for us.
But fortunately we had the right expertise from our corporate experience of handling big teams, which helped us. Also we had a unique concept to sell with a leveraging technology.
We interviewed almost 20 guys in order to hire our technology team member, but are happy that hard work pays off in every detail that you take care of.
• What are 3 key things that you have learned as an entrepreneur?
Identify your target audience and connect with them in whatever way you can, making everyone you meet believe in your concept, out of box thinking 24×7. Even in your dreams.
• What would you describe as your biggest moments of success in your business?
Success for me is that when my client would say that this service has really made a difference in her life. We are creating a new way of looking at fashion. And for me fashion is about ‘standing out in a crowd, by whatever you wear with confidence’.
It’s not only what you wear, but how you wear it. It’s all in the wearing!
You can visit Priya’s website at http://www.mavenchic.in
Contact her on her toll free number at 18002700285