Name: Abinaya Chandran
Business: Ibhaa Studios Pvt Ltd
Location: Coimbatore, India
Industry: Apparel & Accessories
Reason for starting? I’ve been creative and imaginative since my childhood. Once I grew up, I always regretted that I hadn’t fuelled my energy into a proper creative channel. After working with a few corporations, I still felt like I was a fish inside a water tank. How much could I swim if I’d always remain working for someone else’s dream? That gave me all the fire I needed to find an identity for myself. Thus, I’d say it’s a combination of passion plus entrepreneurial drive that has helped me reach this place.
How do you define success? When you hit bed every night with no regrets. When Monday mornings make you excited, instead of scaring you. When your financial needs are sufficiently attended. I would define that as success.
Biggest success: I began working at the age of 18, when most of my friends got admitted into college. By the time my friends had finished college and were awaiting their job offers, I already owned a couple cars. Because I started working earlier, I feel like I’ve achieved a lot of success by the age of 25.
What is your top challenge and how you have addressed it? My top challenge is handling the business as a woman. This would sound silly to anyone who is not a woman. Regardless of how established and professional you are, your network will always include some sexist attitudes. My staff was often very lethargic because they were reporting to a woman. At times, they threw tantrums, which is evidence of their ego. They find working for a woman or reporting to one as a challenge to their ego. This has happened with suppliers too. Initially I took help from my husband, because they were happy to listen to a man. Later, I decided to firmly stand up for what and how I want the work to be. I chose words and spoke very little. I retained only those employees who can work beyond gender difference.
Who is your most important role model? I’m finding this question a very difficult one. I take inspiration from anyone and everyone. I’m very much open to change and adapt with time. My role models include Ms. Jayalalitha, former chief minister, for her courage to question and articulative nature, Mr. Kamalhassan for his dynamism, and the efforts he take for his personal growth and few more I see in everyday life. So inspiration can always be unlimited. We take good and bad examples from everything we see.
Edited by The Story Exchange