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A generation hustles, student entrepreneurs on the rise

| Updated: August 14, 2021 11:25

The ongoing Coronavirus pandemic has had one unlikely side effect: some enterprising young people have taken advantage of this unique situation to turn themselves into successful entrepreneurs. 

Take 22-year-old Nidhi Arora, a student of Fashion Design, who started her own jewellery business. Her handmade, one-of-a-kind designs are sold via her social media page, @berserkbiwi.shop. Arora explains, “I decided to make jewellery which resembles food packets. I wanted it to be sustainable, so I used cardboard and paper instead of plastic to get the desired effect.” Her range includes tiny packet earrings that resemble Maggi, Lays, Gems and many more. 

Nidhi Arora

Arora started her store with minimal investment. She says, “I was always into jewellery and used to collect each bead that I came across, which I now use to make jewellery.” She has increased her reach to 1,073 followers by constantly engaging and defining her niche since her April 2020 debut.

Like Arora, 17-year-old Usha Marella and 19-year-old David Ebishawn have also succeeded in establishing a business during the pandemic. They sell Polaroid prints, via @theperfectpolars, and set up shop in October 2020. The duo explains, “We always discussed having a business of their own, but never had enough time. The lockdown was a blessing in disguise as we found ourselves with extra time on our hands.” 

Usha, who was in high school at the time, came up with the idea of Polaroid prints when she was struck by the nostalgia on her social media timeline. The duo now makes Rs 14,000 per day on average and also offer customers products such as posters, lights, etc. They even have an employee – a teenage social media manager.

Pune-based Rishika Shah used her talent for sewing to set up her own business. She started sewing by hand using YouTube videos in her extra time. Looking at her passion, her parents gifted her a sewing machine on her birthday which led to the creation of @recherche.atelier.

Rishika Shah

Now, Shah makes bucket hats using thick fabrics with longer rims and new patterns and also sews scrunchies. Shah is also unique in using male models to display certain products: She explains, “I did not want to market my products to just women; I wanted to promote gender-neutral fashion.”

She credits the lockdown for her sales, saying that because people were bored and stuck at home, she received more orders than anticipated. Shah increased her revenue by 35 per cent over six months and has hired two employees as well. She has recently launched a new clothes collection: Slice of Lemon. Shah also plans to expand her business and study fashion. 

Another aspiring entrepreneur is Shubham Jain, a 20-year-old from Ujjain. His venture, @baskingbooks, started as an attempt to share books from his own shelves.

Shubham Jain

Jain, a student of English Literature from Hindu College in Delhi, started selling books when he went back home during the lockdown and found a stash of unread tomes. He decided to sell them, creating a niche by focusing only on literature curated and selected by him. Jain says, “We do not use the word second-hand, but pre-loved as the books have markings and names; they have been loved by someone before.”

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