‘Women Need To Be Financially Independent’: A Conversation with Amritha Sasikumar, Founder of House of Jhumkas, Women’s Day Special Coverage
When women are financially independent, they feel extremely powerful and bold in society. Women do have professional dreams that make them feel independent. Perhaps, women do visualize themselves as owning their business. Building a business enhances women’s confidence to challenge hindrances on their way both professionally and personally. Regardless of the type of business you are into, you are the face of it. We have one such successful woman who runs an online business, Amritha Sasikumar, the Founder of House of Jhumkas for our Women’s Day coverage. She is no new person among Instagrammers. House of Jhumkas, is a one-woman show which was established in 2017 by Amritha Sasikumar. We have had a quick conversation with her and read on to know her aspiring answers to our questions.
Snippets from the interview:
We don’t get to see who Amritha is on your Instagram page. Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Sure, the main reason for that is, I like to have my privacy. As much as I would like to be the face of the brand, I like to separate the brand from me and I want my products to speak for themselves. I feel that this works better for me.
I did B Sc. Electronic Media from MOP Vasihnav college and I was interested in arts and media. I felt more inclined towards starting my own business and working for myself than under anyone else. And that’s what lead to House of Jhumkas.
House of Jhumkas is one of the first few e-commerce Instagram profiles, how did you decide and go ahead with the platform?
I think I have been very lucky with the timing, 2017 was when e-commerce on Instagram started. Now the platform is very saturated for small businesses. I and other small businesses that started during that time had a great push from the platform and we were able to get that momentum with regard to followers and engagement. Also, we didn’t have much competition for quality imitation jewellery. That’s how I started with House of Jhumkas on Instagram.
Can you tell us a little bit about your business model?
I didn’t come from a business background, but I got married into a big business family. My husband gave me a lot of tips and that gave me the confidence for venturing into new things. During 2017 was when people started getting curious about small-scale online businesses but they were still sceptical about how it works. My main motto was to provide quality products and to give my customers the freedom and choice that would get by choosing from a website.
So, I created a website for House of Jhumkas. I think this is one of the main reasons that differentiated me from the rest of the businesses back then. The website made me more credible. And gaining this credibility worked as a great business model for me.
Are you a solo preneur or do you have a team?
I am a one-woman show. I source the designs, do product photoshoots, manage the Instagram page, also maintain the website. But over the years, the one person I have relied on is my mother. She helps me completely with logistics. I don’t have to worry about that department and she completely handles it on her own.
All the jewellery pieces look beautiful and curated. How do you choose the pieces?
I choose the jewellery pieces which I would wear or I would gift to my loved ones. One would choose the best designs if they have these criteria in mind instead of what would sell well, and what would move fast. So, this adds a personal touch to my products. And I try not to follow the trend and stand out with my products. At the end of the day I like to stand out as a classic jewellery business instead of a fast-moving trending business, there’s nothing wrong with either of the choices but I choose the former option as it relates more to me.
I try to keep adding new pieces every 7-10 days.
We launch new collections, especially during Onam, Navarathri and Diwali. We also customize jewellery collections for our customers. We have our in-house Karigars who are based in Jaipur.
You have bold and classic designs that not many other pages offer. From where do you source your collections?
Most of the jewellery is manufactured in Rajasthan, Jaipur, and Mumbai. And these bold, classic, timeless designs are exactly what makes House of Jhumkas stand out from the rest. There are many customers of mine who still wear the designs that they bought in 2017. I try to provide designs that are vintage, versatile and timeless.
What does your weekly routine look like?
I really like my work to be flexible. The only stationary work that I have to do is photoshoots, other than that I can manage my Instagram page and website from anywhere. And my mother takes care of shipping, so my daily schedule will start around 11 am, and I respond to the enquiries. We ship from Monday to Friday, by 4 pm we dispatch our products and by 6 we tend to wrap the shipping for that day. We do the photoshoots on Saturday and Sunday.
But when it comes to an online business we tend to work 24/7 and it is very difficult to stick to the 9-5 time schedule. Since my business is on my phone, it is very hard to not check for enquiries, Instagram or analytics. That’s a struggle for all online business owners but am working on it.
What do you think is the biggest reason for your success?
There are a few values that I try to keep with my brand. I don’t do bulk-paid sponsorships or give out freebies to influencers. There’s nothing wrong if some businesses do that, I don’t follow that as a personal choice. I tend to work with very selective sponsorships with influencers who agree with the ethics of my brand. I value my customers and their hard-earned money. And I want to get that as organic as possible.
I try to let my brand and my product speak for themselves. And I think once you put quality products, people refer it to their friends and family and that acts as the biggest marketing value for your brand.
Was your brand affected by Covid and how did you manage through it?
I took a break from the business when I was pregnant as I wanted to focus more on my mental and physical health. I wanted to stay away from stress as much as possible and I wanted to have a peaceful environment for myself.
My business took a slight hit and that’s when the e-commerce business had its boom and there were so many businesses in the market.
I gained a new power after having my baby and I wanted to get back into the business and relaunch it. So I relaunched my business just before the Covid. And there was an algorithm shift in Instagram and reels were introduced which helped a lot with the growth of my business. And with fresh ideas and energy, my business was back on its feet in no time.
Do you have any plans for a physical store?
It’s one of my dreams to open a store. Right now, it’s in the dream stage and I hope we get to open it in the future. I am manifesting hard for that.
What would you say your sense of style is?
My sense of style is timeless. I always tend to lean towards vintage and classy.
What are your top 3 most favourite pieces of jewellery?
The first one would be Kemp Flower Hasli, this is one of my favourite designs and it also blew up on my Instagram and on my website. It is one of my bestselling pieces.
The second one would be Big Jhumkas. I am addicted to bold, and big jhumkas. We have light weighted oversized Jhumkas.
The last one would be Brass Kundan jewellery. Unlike gold and silver, brass jewellery is quite inexpensive but it has the quality to last you for years. Brass jewellery can be polished so it can also be passed down to generations if maintained well.
Check out her Instagram handle: https://www.instagram.com/house_ofjhumkas/
What would be your advice to anyone who wants to start a small-scale business?
It would be to stay confident, it’s something that I tell myself all the time. Don’t fall for the competition around you, competition comes and goes. You should believe in what you are creating and you should create your brand’s ethics and morals and follow that. As long as you set these and have goals for your brand, you will be on the right path.
What would be your piece of advice for young girls or women in general?
The most important piece of advice I can say is to be financially independent. When we are kids we are taught how to study, and how to behave, but we are not usually taught how to be financially independent. There are so many girls who study extremely well and work in high-paying jobs yet they are not financially independent. They don’t have power over the money that they make, it usually is the men in their life who make the decisions for them.
It makes me sad, and I want girls to take back their power and be financially independent. That can really remove a lot of hurdles that women face in their lives. It is extremely important for girls to have complete independence in their income no matter how much they earn. There’s nothing more powerful than a woman who is hard-working and financially independent. It’s a completely different power that all woman in this world needs to have.
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