I’ve always been inclined towards the creative side of things in life. During my school days, I won a handful of competitions, participated in lot of extra curricular activities related to art and craft, design and so forth. However, after migrating to Canada, my focus was strictly on achieving a solid education. I started my career in the corporate world while working towards my CPA/CMA after graduating from Ryerson Univeristy When I launched my wedding planning business in 2008, I began to embrace my creative side again. I thoroughly enjoyed the designing part of my own wedding and inherently I knew there was a need for it in the South Asian community. I started Design Mantraa as my side gig in 2009. Friends and family who were getting married were my guinea pigs. I was involved in the design, logistics and execution of the whole occasion. As the word spread, I got busier and busier with this side hustle. Once I had my second child in 2015, I decided to take the business seriously. I finally took the leap of faith and resigned from the corporate world completely in August 2016. Since then, our work has been published in acclaimed wedding magazines like Lavish Dulhan, Must Be Kismet and online blogs on Wedluxe. It has been an incredible journey since I dove into my business full time.
What ignited the spark in you to start a new business venture or to make significant changes in an existing business? How did the idea for your business come about?
The idea of being able to create something of my own, without any boundaries or restrictions was what influenced my mind shift towards making it full time. The idea of this business came about after experiencing the need for wedding designers when I was planning my own wedding.
What were the biggest initial hurdles to building your business and how did you overcome them?
I have an accounting background. My asset was in numbers. My challenge was finding the right clients and creating a branded look. I was having a hard time distinguishing myself from other Event Designers in the industry.
What books are you currently reading? And your recommendation for entrepreneurs to read?
I am currently wrapping up Losing my Virginity by Richard Branson. Some of my top recommendations are – Think and Grow Rich by Napolean Hill, Give and Take by Adam Grant and Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi.
Did you ever deal with contention from your family and friends concerning your entrepreneurial pursuits? How did you handle it? What would you do differently in hindsight?
Thankfully my husband and family have been fully supportive of my entrepreneurial pursuits. We made a deal, if things did not work out within the next two years, I would go back to the work force. Thankfully that pressure kept me going and helped me focus on my goals.
What would you say was the single most influential factor in your business success?
Consistency and discipline were the most influential factors in making Design Mantraa a success story. Being consistent in providing excellent customer service, always keeping our clients as our focus, taking care of our team and connecting with our industry peers is of great help.
What do you know today that you wish you would have known when you first got started as an entrepreneur?
Prioritizing. There are million things I can get busy with. However, I have learned that the top 3 things that will help me get closer towards my goal are the first things I need to work on at the start of my day.
What advice would you give to an upcoming entrepreneur locally and internationally?
If you have something in mind, just go for it. You will figure out things as you go through the process. Do keep some reserve when starting up. Meet or follow people that inspire you, read as much as you can. Have a morning routine to focus on yourself – write a gratitude journal, go through your goals and meditate on them for few minutes. You will fall numerous times during the journey and it will feel like it’s not worth it. Stand up anyway and move towards your vision. Never give up!