Tell us a little about you and your lovely brand little west street.
I grew up in New Delhi in a family of designers – so designing, colors; manufacturing etc. is something I grew up learning. I moved to Singapore for college where I graduated with a degree in computer engineering. Before starting Little West Street, I did my MBA in the US and worked in strategy consulting for several years. Today, I live with my husband and 2 young kids in New York. I believe all my diverse experiences and learnings over the years have connected together to enable me to start Little West Street.
Little West Street is an e-retail store providing stylish kids’ bedding and essentials. Our focus is on creating world-class designs, ensuring top-notch quality, along with making sure our products are practical and safe for children. We worry about every little detail so moms don’t have to worry about it!
What was your inspiration to start little west street? Can u give us a timeline how it started?
When I had my son (4 years ago), I moved back from the US to India for about 2 years, and struggled to find beautiful, high quality bedding and other products, which were considered essentials in the US (such as a muslin swaddles, sleep sacks). Many of the beautiful products sold around the world are made by the highly skilled, top-notch artisans of India – so it was ironic to me that we didn’t have access to such products in the Indian market.
When I returned to New York, I started working on this idea – researching the market, talking to mothers, and designing furnishings for little babies. By 2015, I had created a small team in New York, and designed several product lines. We started the manufacturing process in early 2015 – and launched the online store in Sept 2015! When I started out, I had no idea it would be what it is now, and that it would get all this love and appreciation from mothers around the world! It has been a very fulfilling journey so far, and am looking forward to the next phase of it.
Your style designing is amazing! Who designs it
Thank you for the kind words! Majority of the concepts are first created by me. Being a mother helps a lot as I can see firsthand what excites a child. I also find inspiration in everyday things – it could be a wall art, a toy, a party invitation, a story I read to my son or a cake at a b’day party! Our team of designers work together and brainstorm on each of the concepts – we think of what kids would love, what mothers would love and whether it would work based on the countries we sell it in. We brainstorm the details of the design and create mood boards for each collection. At each stage, ideas keep getting filtered out, until we are left with the ones we absolutely love. After that, we each pick the design we feel most passionate about and take it to completion.
What personal qualities do you think you need to make the business a success?
Three qualities that have helped me:
- Positive attitude: This is the single most important criteria for success (and happiness!) – Positive thinking. I strongly believe that your thoughts shape your life. Once you have done your research, created the product and done the hard work – have belief and faith, and think of only success. As an entrepreneur, you will always have doubts, but just charge along with faith – one step at a time.
- Do it now: Be organized, ruthlessly prioritize, and whatever is important, do it now.
- Be open to feedback and change: There is a learning process when you start something new. You will definitely make mistakes along the way (so take that as a given), you will be required to change things – it is necessary to be open to any feedback you can get and take it as an opportunity to improve.
Where can we buy your beautiful products?
Our entire collection is available online at www.littleweststreet.com, and we currently offer free delivery across India. We are also available on several e-retailers such as The House of Things and Elitify.
We are available in select boutique stores (and expanding to more in the next few months):
Manan, Shop No 6, 1st floor, Khan Market, New Delhi- 110003 (Tel No: +91-11-41757701.)
Curious Village, JMD Kohinoor Mall, Ground Floor, Greater Kailash 2, New Delhi – 110048
AA Living, 9 Nepean Sea Road, Teen Batti, Malabar Hills, Mumbai – 400006 (Tel No. +91-22-2368 3985)
What is a day in a life of you like?
Since we only officially launched 6 months back, my work day is still constantly evolving as I strive to find balance between motherhood and this new venture. I oversee every process myself to ensure we remain true to the vision of the brand.
I start work at about 5am, when I reply to emails and have meetings with my team in India to ensure the everyday process is running smoothly. Then I get my kids ready for school, and once they leave, I try to complete the priority work before they get back home – this could be connecting with our stockists or new partners, discussing manufacturing processes to managing incoming customer orders. I spend quality time with my kids in the afternoon when they return from school, and then continue my work later into the evening, where you could find me buried in excel sheets doing accounting, or on social media planning our marketing campaigns or doodling on paper designing our new collections.
How do you balance work and motherhood? Was there any point where you considered walking away from the business?
Balancing work and motherhood is one of the greatest challenges! I am a hands-on mother, and it’s very important to me to be able spend quality time with my kids – one of the key reasons why I decided to leave my job and start my own business – so I have time and flexibility to be there especially in the early formative years.
It has taken some time to create a balance – when you start a new business, it is all encompassing. I have now divided up my day up to synch with my kids’ schedule. I end up working at odd hours but I switch off at certain times of the day, for instance, when my son returns from school. I believe it’s the quality of time that matters – and it’s important to be there during certain important moments in the day. I have learnt that I need to segregate the time as much as possible, and have a realistic expectation from myself – I love this quote which is very apt for momprenuers: “You can do anything, but not everything.”
As for walking away from the business, I haven’t considered it at all. It’s like my third baby so walking away it not an option 🙂 There are difficult days and sleepless nights – but then it’s also extremely fun and fulfilling.
Please provide one marketing tip that can really help a mom business owner?
Once you have a good product or service, the key is to get the word out there – make sure your customers know about you! The first step is to create brand awareness so grab every opportunity to get the name of your brand out there. Sales will come later, but first it’s important that people know about your brand.
There are lots of ways to market (without spending too much money) – get help from family and friends – send them a personal note on your new business and request them to forward the information to their circles. Send emails to your broad circle of friends requesting feedback and ideas, send out sample of your products to potential customers in your circle, and make full use of social media – such as Instagram and Facebook (e.g. groups). You have to really keep at it to get the word out there – you can’t do it for some time, and then give a big gap. Create a weekly process on how you will market your business and make sure to set aside the time to do it consistently.
Suggest an idea or a trick that has made your parenting easier 🙂
I am always on the lookout for simple, engaging toddler activities, which I keep in the back of my mind. Whenever my son starts to get upset or is about to throw a tantrum, I “surprise” him with this new activity idea to channel his energy onto that instead. These activities could be writing a short letter to a friend across the country, or designing a heart-shaped card or planning a project where he can learn about different topics such as a country, or the space! These activities take 10-15mins to complete but calm him down easily, thus making it a lot easier for me!