The Crazy Ones

We present to you the bold and crazy ones. Individuals who are making waves by foregoing their high flying job to pursue what makes them happy. They are entrepreneurs who have risked their chance by giving up their lucrative jobs. Despite their hardships and the stakes being high, these entrepreneurs have never felt richer in their lives.
Read the tales of how these entrepreneurs are making ground breaking decisions with their out-of-the- box start-ups.

1. Nandini Rao On Making A Style For Every Story with NETelier

Nandini Rao

Creatively bent Nandini Rao is one of the founders of netelier.com, a virtual studio where customers can personalise pieces of clothing. NETelier also collaborates with other brands and artists to create limited edition clothing and accessories. Nandini has always had many interests, from theatre and music, to cooking and writing, but her love for fashion really came into focus when she spent a year in Paris, and then moved to Stockholm. She worked for two years with Swedish shoe brand, Flattered, before moving back to India to start her own company.

“It’s about ability and hard work, of course, both of which are to some extent in our control, but it’s also about timing and a little but of luck, which we have no control over. But if you hone your abilities, and put in the hard work, then your eyes are open to the opportunities that present themselves, and when the time is right, you will be ready to grab them and reach for your goal.”

Nandini says that both cities have been a big influence when it comes to her fashion sense, as well as the scope of what a brand can be. She cites Franco-Japanese fashion label Kitsune, and iconic Parisian store Colette as her biggest inspirations, because they made her realise that a brand needn’t fit into any kind of box. Netelier.com’s digital lifestyle magazine (http://netelier.com/magazine/), which features original and curated content, already touches upon different aspects of creativity, such as music and food, but she dreams of someday making this virtual space a reality, with a clothing store that sports a signature café and encourages live performance art. The groundwork for netelier.com began in March this year, and the website went live in September. It features a drawing board on which customers can play around with different options to create personalised pieces of clothing. Along with co-founder Maithreyi Gangjee, she gives a shout-out to her sisters and brother-in-law who helped get it off the ground.

Nandini realised quite young that she didn’t really have one single calling, and that she was equally drawn to many ways of expressing creativity, so she says that NETelier is, in that sense, a dream come true. She hopes to build a community of artists and customers who can  themselves influence the platform and make it something special.

When asked what she thinks are the most important elements to consider before taking the plunge, she says she always remembers something her father once told her. “It’s about ability and hard work, of course, both of which are to some extent in our control, but it’s also about timing and a little but of luck, which we have no control over. But if you hone your abilities, and put in the hard work, then your eyes are open to the opportunities that present themselves, and when the time is right, you will be ready to grab them and reach for your goal.”

2. Overcoming The Pitfalls and Rising To Be An Entrepreneur – Danny Crasta of JS Furniture

Danny Crasta

When you see a successful entrepreneur, all you know of is the ascendancy and achievements. But Danny Crasta, founder of JS Furniture speaks plainly about what being an entrepreneur is, “I had a dream of being my own boss. It’s exciting, but sometimes frightening and de-motivating. It is also extremely difficult. I first started a cafe with a friend, a very small one. But I lost it due to the lack of right information, common sense; and high expenses. However, I learnt a lot in the process. I lost a bit of money but now I think it’s worth it.”

“I had a dream of being my own boss. It’s exciting, but sometimes frightening and de-motivating. It is also extremely difficult. I first started a cafe with a friend, a very small one. But I lost it due to the lack of right information, common sense; and high expenses. However, I learnt a lot in the process. I lost a bit of money but now I think it’s worth it.”

Successfully running his start-up furniture business for three years now, Danny has experienced the high and lows of being one’s own boss. JS Furniture in Mangalore came about when his father decided to move to India from Dubai; and showed an interest in starting something of his own. Danny seized the opportunity to grow and inculcate what he had learned from his previous venture.

Danny plans to expand and get into distribution of mattresses all over Karnataka, the country and eventually over-seas. But his dreams don’t end there. Sharing a personal desire, he says, “Now I have a dream of opening a full-fledged bar and restaurant with the perfect planning of course!”

With diverse entrepreneurial experience behind him, having suffered failure and enjoyed success, Danny advises, “Always dream big dream. Really big. But when you start, always start small and then you’ll succeed thereafter.”

3. The Tale of a Foodie – Priyanka Shetty On How To Deck Your Sandwiches Right

Priyanka Shetty

All ready from the age of 12, Priyanka Shetty was an entrepreneur in the making. And once she checked the boxes of an undergraduate and postgraduate degree that would be lucrative, she found her “job” calling in Event Management and then after six and a half really awesome years she decided to follow what the 12 year old Priyanka had dreamt of.

Priyanka’s first successful venture is Miss Muffet, though initially it focussed on evening snacks for the working folk and the occasional Mangalorean lunch, now it mainly takes on party orders. Her recent big venture is the Triple Decker Sandwich Shop. With bread as the staple food at home, her love for bread was all the zest she needed to open shop when her partner suggested the idea of a sandwich shop.

“I see Triple Decker becoming an international brand in the next 5 – 8 years. I know which cities I see Triple Decker in, so, I guess I’ve already taken the first step.”

Opening shop and following one’s dream and passion is a romanticised version and is not as charming as it is cut out to be, says Priyanka, who often gave her decisions second thoughts. She says, With only my passion to bank on and no formal training sounds very romantic and brave to people but reality hits hard when on the first of every month your bank account doesn’t look very plum and happy. It took a few sacrifices and a while to get around it ‘cause anytime I felt the urge to give up I had friends telling me how I’ve been an inspiration to them and that kept me going.” Despite all the hesitations, Priyanka is glad that she has the opportunity to pursue what she loves, because not everyone gets a chance.

Despite all the trials and tribulations Priyanka Shetty has already achieved all she planned in her ‘5-year-plan’. She says, “I see Triple Decker becoming an international brand in the next 5 – 8 years. I know which cities I see Triple Decker in, so, I guess I’ve already taken the first step.” She also adds, “I also want to leverage Triple Decker to contribute to society. I believe nobody should have to go hungry.  That’s something I’ve always held close to my heart and I did my bit under the Miss Muffet’s banner. Though she is working out the small details of what’s and how’s, one thing’s for sure, she and her team will be doing more than just a small bit in making people happy.

4. It’s Wafflelacious! – The Story Behind Your Favourite Dessert Shop – Waffle Stories – Divya Jagadesh

Divya Jagadesh

Divya Jagadesh co-founded the extraordinary Waffle Stories with her sister-in-law Pranitha in 2014. Foodies make what foodies love, is what Divya and her partner felt when they set up shop to sell their scrumptious waffles. In just two years Waffle Stories has opened four outlets, the most recent one in a prime location: Jayanagar 4th block, Bangalore.

Speaking of this newest outlet, Divya says, “Along with Waffle Stories, we have launched a new brand – ‘Freeze It’, which serves fresh and instant ice creams frozen right in front of the customer using liquid nitrogen. The customer has the choice to make their own ice cream combining flavours, sweetness, toppings and colour!” She elaborates saying, “For example, a customer can choose to have strawberry ice cream in green colour or vanilla ice cream in pink.” That sounds like fun. We’re headed there right away!

“Happiness starts when you say Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara and take the plunge even when you know it may be hard.”

Before making it big, Waffle Stories encountered several back-breaking hardships. Divya and her partner conceptualised the idea while she was still working full-time at Mercer. They began working on their store within a few months, and while all this was happening Divya was also pregnant. After work, Divya would return home to have dinner, then go run the store past 11 pm, all while she was heavily pregnant. Despite her enthusiasm, Divya says, “There were times when I felt I’m taking this on at a wrong time and shouldn’t be stressing myself; especially when I had a good 9-6 job with a bright career.”

Divya credits her family and partner Pranitha for taking on the load during the hard times when she was completely inactive after the birth of her baby. It’s been a year since Divya quit her 9 to 6 job and has dedicated herself to making Bangaloreans smile sweetly. “Happiness starts”, as Diyva says, “When you say Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara and take the plunge even when you know it may be hard.”

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