In a capitalist society, running a business that puts ethics and sustainability in its core is challenging for entrepreneurs. But for Akshya Shree, founder director of Tad Udyog Pvt Ltd, this is the core of her business and philosophy. She hopes to bring about change by advocating for sustainable lifestyle habits and equitable production process and supply chain.
Let's dive in to learn about Akshya's business in producing bamboo products and what drives her as an entrepreneur!
An entrepreneur in the making from a young age
Akshya Shree had a dream since she was young: to be an astronaut. However, in her 8th grade, her less than ideal grades in math and physics made her rethink her decision. Akshya knew she needed to pick something as a career where her aptitude matched her interest.
"I realized that it will be way too difficult for me to be an astronaut, so I chose to pursue the path of entrepreneurship," quipped Akshya. "My father always encouraged my sisters and I to read magazines and articles and that's when I came across coverage of emerging entrepreneurs, which led me to explore the idea of entrepreneurship."
"So whenever someone asked me what will I do, I would always answer - 'I will do something of my own!' ".
Akshya had a supportive family, which helped her pave her way to becoming an entrepreneur. Being the second child within a family with three daughters, Akshya learnt a lot from her family. They were her pillar of strength as she started building her business.
The birth of Tad Udyog Pvt Ltd
Akshya started Tad Udyog in 2016, producing and selling products made from bamboo. Her products are sold via her website under the label Silpakarman.
"My company name comes from the initials of us three sisters. T from Taru, A from Akshya, and D from Dhwani and that makes TAD," explained Akshya. Today, Akshya continues to run her business with her sisters.
Innovation is at the heart of Tad Udyog. The team strives to offer a wide range of products made with different type of sustainable materials. Having raised seed funds for their business recently, Akshya is on a journey to develop a strong brand identity for her business.
"Our product has a lot of demand, but we need the right brand messaging and targeting," said Akshya, as she addressed the challenge of reaching out to customers. On top of that, given the continuous design development and production, her team of artisans would need to go through training whenever there are new designs to be produced, which requires consistent funding.
Lessons and inspirations as an entrepreneur
Being an entrepreneur for the past few years, Akshya sees this as a role that she can never give up.
"Entrepreneurship teaches you a lot, takes away a lot, and gives you a lot more. Being an entrepreneur is tough, and challenging but at the same time, it empowers you, strengthens you, and enables you to realize your full potential."
Purpose is a key driver for Akshya. "When your work is fulfilling the purpose which led you to start in the first place, it makes the journey worth it." On top of that, having patience and persistence has brought Akshya and her team to where they are today.
Looking back at her entrepreneurship journey, Akshya advices all aspiring entrepreneurs to plan before they start. From her experience, entrepreneurship has changed a lot over the years. Therefore, one must plan their finances, personal and professional obligations, and all aspects of their business in depth before they begin. Given the demanding nature of entrepreneurship, planning helps one to achieve the rewarding outcomes of it.
Akshya also emphasized the importance of user research. It is simply asking potential customers about the product or service that one plans to innovate and build on their response. "Your customers can be your first users and can provide deep insights into things you haven't considered yet," explained Akshya.
Onward and upward
The journey may have just began for Tad Udyog, but Akshya has achieved many goals she has set out for herself. She recalls a heartwarming encounter she had with a customer.
"Recently, an aged client of ours ordered a product. After that, she reached out to me to let me know that the products are beautiful and sent her regards to the artisans as well. This is exactly how we had intended to bridge the gap between customers and artisans. With this, I believe we have achieved it," said Akshya.
Looking back, Akshya learnt the importance of having more confidence in pursuing her ideas and passion. "We must always own ourselves, our work and our knowledge. If you can think it through, then you can do it as well!"
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