How have you all been? I hope you enjoyed reading about the last mompreneur, the babywearing expert, Prachi Pendurkar. We all love shopping for kids. Why not? They have the cutest prints. But most of the times, Kids outgrow the clothes. Spending a fortune on kids wear is not what we want, isn’t it? That’s where our Mompreneur, Abinaya takes a stand. She is the co-founder of an affordable kidswear brand called Dinoskidswear.
Firstly, tell us a little bit about yourself and your family.
I am a proper Chennai ponnu, questions everything, a sucker for stationery, manga design & cute things, a music lover, animal lover, FRIENDS addict, love to eat, love to host, love to meet new people and make new friends every day & cannot stop talking.
Life revolves around my family and a tiny circle of friends. Hub, bub, and in-laws! Mom dad sis and my tho stay a street away and are my most significant support & support system. Cant go through one week without going out and meeting friends.
How did the idea of Dinoskidswear come up? What inspired you to be an entrepreneur?
Priya (a close friend turned partner) and I have been long contemplating this idea of starting an Indian label of comfort wear for kids. Being in manufacturing for decades and supplying to retail chains & exports, we did not have the urge to do this. But all it needed was one shopping experience to get us started- post motherhood! When we saw our own products being sold at 10 times the original price, we got a little furious.
That’s when we decided, we need to reach out to parents like us who look out for good quality daily wear for kids at affordable rates. And more so to introduce a homegrown brand. I feel a lot of mompreneur brands have that touch of bringing better quality and sensible product line which we realize is necessary for our market, after becoming a mom. It’s so easy to relate to other moms.
If not the founder of Dinoskidswear, what and where would we see you as?
Ha! That’s something I don’t want to think about
In one decade, I had juggled a lot of roles, favorite being tv production & advertising, where I sustained long enough. The deadline, the mad rush, back to back shoots, building brands, learning new things every day is all that kept me going. But when I knew there was a little hooman coming soon, I did not think twice to quit (still do not know where I got the guts from) since I did not want to put the baby through all that stress, I think people from ad agency background will totally get me!
I am still consulting for few brands as a marketing consultant, worked part-time as a consultant to a leading Tamil magazine & keep giving my advice whether needed or not to my friend entrepreneurs! So, definitely, I would have been up to something good!
How tough or easy was it for you to decide to be an entrepreneur?
Actually, it was the bit of both!
- I was really pepped about the whole thing because finally, I got to own a brand. Being in advertising, I had always been on the other side of the game of imagining the client brand to be mine and do everything in my capacity to market it in the best way possible. But now it was like I have my own baby, and I can bring it up the way I want it and unleash the little knowledge I had gathered through the years.
- There were too many odds to beat. When we started, my daughter was around 2 months, and Priya`s son was 1 year old. It was very tough to manage everything, as a new mother that too. So not just emotionally and physically we had to be strong, we had a lot of people questioning us, and we had to be prepared to give our best here and there.
- This aspect made us go back and forth on the decision. Whether we will be able to make it. As a business model, we weren’t sure if we will be received well, as an online store, which we knew was just going to be a small phase, but that would be the first step, and we did not want to get disappointed. We aimed to reach out to the parents directly, talk to them get their feedback, know their likes dislikes, what works best. So unlike other brands, our first stop was not to go directly to the shops but to make our brand a known name in the online medium.
How has your journey been? What did you enjoy the most being an entrepreneur?
Oh! It’s been terrific. Two kids to keep me on toes, one is my daughter, the other is Dinos.
We are learning a lot. Every mother who buys from us is unique, and when you know every customer and cater to them and their needs, its even more satisfying I would say.
Lot of things I enjoy being an entrepreneur (still not used to this term) I get to talk to a lot of people, which is what I love the most in life, I get to cater to little human beings and what more can I ask for? The best is when I spot a kid whom I have never seen, wearing Dinos
You are an entrepreneur and a mom, how do you juggle between these duties?
Sometimes it gets overwhelming! But mostly I have people who help me out. Not that I have a complete backup, There are days when I just avoid looking at my house due to work and my husband has been an angel and helps me out a lot. He is my most excellent support. He is the best dad my girl could get. I do try to keep work minimal for him. The next is my parents, who have been my support from Day 1 of everything! The only people who my daughter spends hours together in my absence are my parents. So I comfortably leave her with them in case I have meetings or other work.
As a mom, I am always there for her and with her. The beauty of being a mompreneur is, I can plan everything around her and her timings. There are days when I have no option but to schedule an 8-hour stretch without her, but I see to that she be with her second fav bunch of people and come home the second she starts to miss me.
What is your morning routine? What is the first thing you do in the morning?
Ok! Please don’t think I am a fitness freak or a clean eater sort of person, but I start my day with yoga! That was my new year resolution.
I start my day at 5 am. I come back from yoga class and make tea, and sit with a hot cup of tea and run over the things to do for that day, including how efficiently & quickly I can finish the cooking part. I finish cooking and put the little one to nap (god bless naps) and complete all my work before she wakes up so I can spend time with her. So ideally, once she goes to sleep in the night around 9, I spend a solid 3-4 hours connecting with mommies and plan what next.
Do you get time for yourself? What is your mantra to relax and unwind?
I need the alone time in the morning with my tea and my tab! Other than that I try to go out once in a while with my closest friend.
I love driving! Some good music and a good drive give the high that I need! It need not be a long drive. A small trip to someplace close by is enough. Nowadays I am enjoying driving along with the little, where she keeps singing along (10 little monkeys mostly )
What is that one thing/person that continues to motivate?
Ok! Right now the one thing that keeps me motivated is the fear of getting back to 10-hour job. Not that I did not enjoy that. But I guess I have outgrown that lol thanks to Dinos!
Do you have meltdowns? How do you handle such situations?
All the time. I take a break. Usually for few hours. Either I play some music and just sit there for a while/ go for a drive or just watch a movie or some alone time with bub and hub.
I mostly try to keep everything organized, so I don’t miss out on anything. Meltdowns mostly happen when there is too much to handle, and I haven’t planned things properly. I cannot survive without a planner. A planner that only works for me
Whom do you attribute your success to?why?
This is going to be an award function. Everyone I have met has inspired me in some way or the other. I am a kind of person who observes everything and learn from others mistakes. So, I attribute this journey to everyone who gave me a chance, who have been demanding on me, who have and are standing by me motivating & encouraging me. Those who have been there with me at the most testing times, who has molded me to what I am today, every mother I meet through Dinos, every encouraging feedback and every feedback that helps us to improvise and serve better.
And, few are the most important of that: my parents & my dearest sister, my husband, my partner Priya who stands by my decisions and crazy things I put her through. My nanban (friend) Shyam, who has the significant role in molding me to the person I am today and definitely my daughter Mithara and my little munchkin Sooraj (Priya’s son) who are the reason behind Dinos.
What are your goals for 2018?
Personally, I have too many goals to catch up.
And as for Dinos, our goal is to reach out to more parents and to get some shelf space among other brands. 2018 has been all about that, and I am delighted to announce here that we are available in one of the top destinations for shopping in Tamilnadu, The Chennai Silks (That’s the surprise ) And slowly we will be available in other shops across India, hopefully! Fingers crossed!
What is your advice to people who want to be entrepreneurs?
Just believe and work towards the goal. It’s not going be easy! There are going to be hard times. But what is a success if you cannot talk about times when you had to struggle? If you do what you love, it’s totally worth it!
If you have something in mind, don’t postpone it. Always do it immediately, the very second, because you never know how things will work out. I have learned it the hard way. Everybody is willing to help. Unless you ask you won’t get it. Crying child only gets the milk. So whatever it is that you want to do, start somewhere. If you fail, you can use that learning the next time you try!
Thank you, everyone, for being with me in this series and I hope you have all been enjoying reading the series.
Until next time,