Five lessons I've learnt building a bag business

Hello there!

I’ve been a solid A+ worker bee from the start and the last 13 years of my career have largely involved design and production for Indian brands, and subsequently founding VITASTA in late 2011, and building it from the ground up. It’s been an experience unlike any other. Everything I’ve learnt has been consciously done with a hands –on approach. No task has been too small or a challenge too overwhelming (although it often feels like that) to shy away from. And what I’ve realized through my own experiences is:

The more you know, the less you know.

I'd like to share five lessons, which have been important during my journey, which I'll be writing more on, in future posts.

1. A VISION is the best starting point.

John Cage once said, “Start Anywhere” Id tweak that a little, and say, start with a vision. What is it really about? What can you potentially envision from the corners of your mind and the depths of your imagination? A vision, however grand or modest must be articulated. Write it down, mind-map it if you want to. But be bold in your voice. It'll set the tone and clarity for the rest of your business.

2. Brands (heart emoji) Relationships

Brands are about relationships. In the fashion industry, more than most, so much word-of-mouth promotion happens on a daily basis, especially for startup handbag brand. Your friends, colleagues and customers are all your brand ambassadors. Social media is now amplifying that 10x. Develop and nurture your relationships and ask for help to build your brand organically. Paid promotion is expensive and will continue to be that way. 

Your relationships with people: your team, collaborators, employees and customers can be intangible and complex and exhausting, but often the most rewarding part of your business.

3. Love what you create, even the ugly stuff. 

Design is incremental. Evolution is part of the process whether trying to achieve an aesthetic vision or a usable concept. Accept it and become a brand thrives on it. In fact its much more fun!

4. Cash are King and Queen and everything in between! (How poetic!)

Running a business requires a fundamental grasp of cash flow. Some people get it naturally and some (like me) need to spend time with numbers. You need cash to operate and grow, daily, month to month, year on year. It also helps you keep track of how on point you are, what the future looks like funding wise, and eases the stress of having money for payments to suppliers, vendors, staff and basically to keep the lights on! Live to fight another day!

5. Marketing is everything and everything is marketing!

Enough said. Read a great article on creative marketing here

I hope some or all of these ideas have resonated with other business owners or brands. Let me know your comments and feedback. More to come soon!

Have a great week ahead!