Srutiza Mohanty, Founder of Risham Jewellery
Srutiza Mohanty is a founder & creative Director at Risham, a handcrafted jewelery brand, bringing the ancient art of beading into jewelry.
Each piece is created using the beading technique by her all-women team. Srutiza is a vastly experienced IT professional with 15 years of hands-on experience in mobile native/ web applications and enterprise software development management. In July 2019, Srutiza decided to take a full-fledged entrepreneurial leap and established Risham.
Tell us a little about yourself
Srutiza Mohanty: I am a computer science engineer (B.E. in Computer Science) and worked for 15 years in the software engineering profession before embarking on my entrepreneurial journey with Risham. My last job was as a technology manager with a casino gaming company.
Please tell us a little about your entrepreneurial journey
Srutiza Mohanty: I have always been a creative person. When working in the software field, I used to make and sell jewelry at a very lowkey scale.
However, the demand for my designer jewelry craft grew sharply, and I started receiving more requests than I could handle.
Some people would be curious about beaded jewelry as an accessory or beach wear. At the same time, some people used to consider it throwaway and cheap.
However, it was art about which I was passionate, and it wasn’t cheap or beachy. That’s when I decided to create elegant casual jewelry through design and color experiments and contemplated launching a brand.
Around that time, my daughter was born, and I found it an excellent opportunity to step out of the corporate world and launch my venture.
Initially, I participated in popup events to understand entrepreneurship challenges and the art of selling. It was pretty difficult as I was used to working in a well-defined ecosystem and had no skills beyond that.
Even the basic task of talking to customers and networking was novel to me, and so was sales. Making people see the art beyond the fabric and painting was quite tricky.
However, I have been learning steadily. The team is expanding, and there is a much greater demand now.
We have become a proper startup with participation in various events, exhibitions, etc., and great things are in store.
What service(s) or product(s) do you offer at Risham Jewellery?
Srutiza Mohanty: We offer exclusive, hand-crafted bead jewelry created through ancient Indian art known as bead weaving.
What is unique about your label brand?
Srutiza Mohanty: Risham is a unique brand because we do hand-crafted bead jewelry through the age-old practice of bead weaving, unlike other brands’ typical bead jewelry.
Our patterns and designs are original, and we have integrated metal and wood into our designs which is quite unorthodox and trendy. We also keep experimenting with colors.
What made you choose this type of business?
I started learning the art of bead weaving about 12 years ago while working in software. I was very impressed with the beautiful and unique designs, and even the people who saw my work initially were amazed and surprised by the outcome.
They had never seen such art jewelry, and that’s when it ticked most of the boxes. I endeavored to create jewelry that was lightweight, colorful, durable, and could be given contemporary styling. That’s how I chose this business.
What was your mission at the outset?
I aim to empower women to express their personalities while remaining connected to their heritage, culture, and roots.
Our mission is to create jewelry that is unique and can initiate conversations. Further, I wish to provide women with a flexible working environment where they can acquire skills and earn a living with equal opportunity and dignity.
How many employees are in Risham Jewellery?
Srutiza Mohanty: We are a small team with just me and my karigars. One of them has been with me for the last four years.
What are your company’s goals?
Srutiza Mohanty: We aim to create a medium of expression for women to help them define their personalities while connecting with their heritage, culture, and roots.
I have also been endeavoring to provide a good, equal earning opportunity for my women karigars in a flexible work environment.
What have been some of your failures, and what have you learned from them?
Srutiza Mohanty: I was an introvert with no experience beyond the structured environment of the software industry when I started as an entrepreneur.
I found talking to customers, networking, and interacting with strangers quite tricky. However, as time passed, I learned that it is okay to be an introvert, and one can change some habits through persistence at any stage.
Networking and talking to people are essential for business growth, and one must try out new things without fearing failure.
What was the inspiration behind turning into an entrepreneur
Srutiza Mohanty: The inspiration was to create a venture that allowed my bead-weaving art jewelry to be more accessible to women across India.
I also wanted to empower the women who work with me through a good and flexible opportunity to earn a livelihood.
Key things to consider before starting a startup?
Srutiza Mohanty: If you are planning to start up, you need to look at some things very closely. Like what is your business idea and how unique it is. Do you have a USP? Who is your audience?
Do you know how to reach them? How much are you willing to spend if it’s bootstrapped? Are you ready to face the grind?
Entrepreneurship has a lot of ups & downs. Sometimes the only thing keeping you up is passion and an optimistic mindset.
What are some of the biggest mistakes you’ve made?
Srutiza Mohanty: I have made quite a few mistakes in the initial years, though it continues; one gets wiser with time. I have a long list of errors, so I am listing them down –
- Micro-managing everything and not hiring early.
- Not keeping track of costs
- Not being able to say ‘No’ to customer demands which at times are not the best
- Incorrect Product pricing and having low margins
- Getting trapped in the Shiny Object Syndrome many times
Your success tips for young and aspiring entrepreneurs
Srutiza Mohanty: Getting out of your comfort zone and trying new things is essential. Nothing new tried is nothing new gained.
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