Tjori – An Online Shop for Indian Handicrafts

Tjori – An Online Shop for Indian Handicrafts

Tjori by Mansi Gupta,  is an E-commerce platform which caters to shoppers who are constantly in hunt for handicrafts ranging from apparel to accessories to footwear and jewellery. India is a huge market for handicrafts and Tjori aims to tap that category of buyers.

Mansi spoke to about her journey and her experience as an entrepreneur

Tell us about your journey of becoming an entrepreneur. What was the reaction of the society, were your parents skeptical ? And how did you overcome them?

Born and brought up in Jammu, I was passionate about travelling. In fact,  I come from a family of travel enthusiasts who are globetrotters and souvenirs addicts at the same time. So, This exposure to travel and handicrafts from a young age triggered my love for handicrafts. After my post graduate degree from Cardiff University Wales, UK, I joined the Wharton Program for Working Professionals, and while at Wharton, I realized that there was a huge demand for hand-crafted Indian products abroad.

Since the Indian handicraft industry is growing like never before,  this got me thinking about handicrafts,  I realized that there is a ready market in North America, but by the time the handicrafts reaches the consumers, it becomes very expensive due to the traditional supply chain. That’s what we aim to address. We wanted to deliver exclusive hand crafted products straight from the traditional  Indian craftsmen, weavers and artisans at affordable rates. Tjori works on the limited period sales model so there is only limited time period available for people to buy these items, creating an instant urge to shop.

 You took a bold decision to take the risk of quitting an easy living life to being what you are today, what challenges did you face?

The decision was bold enough, especially to think of being an entrepreneur. At the time we started, Tjori was just a team of two people but slowly and stealthily,  we managed to build a team of  20 young and enthusiastic people. Planning, team alignment and then executing are three important factors for any business and its important to have immense energy in a start-up eco-system to stay motivated at all times.

“If you are clear about where is it that you want the venture to be and what will it take to take it there, this is more than enough to stay driven and motivated” Sonia says

How important is family support in this journey? How well has your husband and father supported you? Give a piece of advice to other fathers, brothers and husbands.

Well, my husband is a co-founder of Tjori and he has always been my inspiration and a source of guiding light for me. In the Indian Society, the support of your husband is of vital importance. Even if your husband or fathers don’t support your venture now, show them the output and let the results speak out your capability, so that they have no reason not to support you. With changing times, men have become more understanding, but still this narrow male mindset needs a boost now and then understand that women are more than just good home makers.

 Do you realize that you have broken a number of social taboos? For instance, “Ambitious women are not good mothers” etc. What do you have to say about people believing in such things?

The Indian society is limited by certain set of conventions and boundaries which limit women from experiencing the true sense of achievement. The social taboo of Ambitious women not being good mothers, has been a great barrier as a mind block in many situations. Even though, Im not a mother yet, I see my sisters and other women in the family struggling to defy this statement each and every day. Their responsibility towards their families is always ranked higher to their responsibility towards their work. I feel the new generation is on the right track and it will bring a wave of change to make women feel more secure with their career choices.

What sacrifices have you made in your personal life to be a successful womenpreneur ?

This tumultuous journey has probably transformed me as a person and changed  my perspective towards life. If I think about my tough days, one can say that I have been very anti-social but that doesn’t bother me much.The fear of missing out does not exist when you know you are on to better things. The results are enough to give me a sense of fulfilment which is more than anything I would want from my life.

How have challenges been an  important factor in shaping you as a person ?

Challenges shape you as a person and your business as well . There are times when we all come across the most unpredictable challenges. A Startup is everything about taking up new challenges and addressing them with unique approaches. If there are no challenges, then you are probably doing something wrong. A challenge is like a risk you take to create something bigger and that’s what counts. Eventually, you want to make it big and taking up a difficult challenge just creates an opportunity.

Your startup could be the biggest learning experience for you so don’t worry about the money and the effort initially. If you are scared to put in your all, don’t expect it to grow or expand.

Please do give a small piece of advice for future women entrepreneurs.

This journey has truly been a life changer for me. I have not only mastered the art of handling people but also the strategy to get out of tough situations. This has made me tougher and adventurous at the same time. For the women out there, I would want to say that “Always love your work and work what you love the most”. 


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