Roshni Singh, rediscovering creativity with “Felt Fetish”

By Sonia Motwani in Starting Up 17/03/2016

Roshni Singh was a creative child and as she grew up, she learnt the art of sewing and knitting from her mother. At a very early age, she developed a knack for turning something ordinary into something special and creating beautiful things. “I never quite thought of making it my career and life goal”, says Roshni.  After studying English Literature from LSR, Roshni was hoping to either become a published author herself or work in the publishing industry. But life moved her in unexpected directions and she ended up joining Star India Pvt Ltd as a producer and started working in TV programming.

 

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But after 4 years, I figured out that I wasn’t where I wanted to be

 

It all started with Roshni stumbling across the material Felt. She once used to make herself a phone case. “My measurements were off and it did not fit my phone. Still, it was too pretty to dispose so I kept it in my bag as an extra pouch and one day I just put my sanitary napkin in it,” she says. It was a eureka moment for her. The pouch was discreet, unique and hygienic and so practical!

 

And that is where the whole concept of Felt Fetish came from with the Sanitary Napkin Holders as our flagship product, says the founder.

 

When she started up, Roshni’s dad was skeptical because nobody in the family knew what running a business entails. “But he let me do my thing because he believed in me,” she says. When she finally took the plunge,  her friends were relieved the most. “They knew how much I loved doing it and always said I was very good at what I do ,” says Roshni.

 

Overall the process of starting it off was the easy part. It was what came afterwards that is still a daily battle

 

The biggest risk of quitting a job and starting off your own venture is the financial aspect. What does one do when there is no paycheque at the end of every month? . For Roshni, this was a problem since she was living in Mumbai, a city with a very high cost of living. “In the first few months after I moved to Mumbai, I lived with my cousin which helped me save on rent. This gave me some financial security to while I was starting up Felt Fetish”, says Roshini.

 

I consciously chose not to dwell too much on the risk factor and focus on making it work one way or another.

 

Being a small business, one has to do everything themselves and since the work is labour intensive, it takes a lot of time. “On busy days I have pulled up-to 16 hour shifts. When my back starts protesting and my body wants to shut down I remind myself that this is all for me,” she says. Roshni believes that knowing her family is with her has just pushed her to work harder.

 

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Having to work long hours, obsessing over every detail and handling the complete business by herself,  is what a lot of entrepreneurs do while starting up. Roshni has gone through the same phase with Felt Fetish. And this has led to disconnect with her friends and family. “Sometimes, I don’t even realise what day of the week it is,” adds Roshni.

 

Now, around 8 months into the business, Felt Fetish is facing some challenges. Since, they are producing products which are unseen and unheard of in the country, the team faced problems right from finding the correct raw material suppliers to finding skilled workers. Selling handmade products requires individual attention, which is why Roshni and her team are finding out ways to scale it up.

 

We are still in the process of figuring out our market and our sales strategy because the customer is also discovering us slowly.

 

It’s has been a humbling and tough journey for Roshni. “I have had to develop a thick skin and learn to take criticisms better,” she says. As an advice to future womepreneurs, she says, “Hard work will be inescapable but always remember to have fun. And most definitely exercise. Keeping your body physically fit will take you a long way in increasing the work hours you put into your startup!”

Website Link: www.feltfetish.com

 

Sonia Motwani
A full time business analyst and a passionate writer, she is hopelessly attracted to the passionate struggle story that every women entrepreneur has lived today! We possibly couldn’t have had someone better than her to write about women achieving new heights in the startup sector!

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