TC will be featuring the stories of up and coming startups by Tamil entrepreneurs regularly. Please contact us at [email protected] if you would like to share your story with our readers.
Banuja and Nirthiha discuss the launch of their startup Your Sarista.
Before walking into the Uniform Final Evaluation (UFE) – a 3 day exam towards attaining our CPA/CA accounting designation- we made a pact that if we both passed this near-impossible exam, we would do something useful with our designation. Not the typical public accounting job where we manage other peoples millions but rather create something different and something we can call our own. Two months later we got the exciting news that we both passed and with much relief we celebrated! We were still fresh out of university and new to the full-time work lifestyle and so we were very busy with our own lives. Then things took a turn. Despite the challenging work environment and the long hours we both put in to our full-time jobs, there was still a lingering feeling to do something more, something exciting, something new and challenging! We were familiar with tackling business issues and case scenarios on paper, but how about something out in the real world? So we decided to call our own shots, take some risks and began our very own entrepreneurial journey.
The idea sparked when we started receiving a number of invitations to our friends/relatives weddings. We love weddings, along with everyone else, but as young ladies we also realize the effort that goes into attending South Asian events. We need new sarees! We definitely cannot be caught wearing the same saree that was worn to another event. This is increasingly difficult since we all want to share pictures of the outfit we worked so hard on putting together on social media right away, and even if we don’t want to, someone will post a picture and tag you. Through conversations with our friends and family we understood that the ladies all loved adorning new sarees to events but they shared the same frustrations. Hefty prices for a saree they were only likely to wear once and a lack of transparency and consistency in prices, since stores would quote different prices when you walk in with friends vs. your bargaining grandma.
So we founded Your Sarista, an online saree retailer focused on providing solutions and options to saree lovers who want to be draped in extravagant sarees without having to incur the sky high costs. Your Sarista is the first online saree rental business in all of Canada that allows you to browse through collections online from the convenience of your own home and have your outfit shipped to your front door in time for your event. Customers have the flexibility to buy new sarees or rent sarees without having to worry about dry cleaning (we’ll handle that!) based on their needs and preferences.
Being young females of Tamil descent, the idea of starting our own business was well received by our fellow colleagues but more cautioned by our own friends and family. Like any other entrepreneur, we had many setbacks before we were able to bring this project to life, because of the stigma in our community relating to the rental of sarees. Your Sarista’s saree rentals is a brand new concept, and we found that the younger generation was more welcoming of the idea as it made financial sense compared to the older generation. It was a little heartbreaking to realize that the older generation was also not so encouraging of our entrepreneurial journey as we constantly heard comments such as “Stick to your job that will give you a solid paycheck” and others even questioned our parents- “Your daughter completed her CPA/CA designation and she’s going to sell sarees?” We found it a little difficult to convince people in our community that we were two young ladies with an idea that we wanted to put to action…so we decided to stop convincing through words and just show them. As entrepreneurs, we quickly learned that during the early stages you must learn to take on all roles of the business, from being the accountants, marketers, photographers, models, to the website designers. It feels great to see all our hard work as a finished product and to have been able to actually take what we learned in our educational careers as well as our professional work experiences to build our own dream of being the ideal Sarista – Your Sarista.
Check out and join Your Sarista for their launch event on Thursday July 31, 2014. Details here.