Many small business owners talk about how they launched, expanded, and grew their business without any physical store or exhibitions
“Ashwini’s Creativity is now a known name locally, nationally, and internationally and this was possible only after I started posting my products on social media,” gushes Ashwini Pai Dukle, a young entrepreneur who specializes in creative handmade artifacts, gifts, and party hampers.
As is the case globally, with the stringent challenges thrown by the Covid-19 pandemic, social media emerged as one of the biggest means for businesses – both small and big. Women in Goa have taken up reselling, consultancy, treatment, stitching, art and craft as independent entrepreneurial ventures as an added means of income.
For Sunetra Kamat Tarcar, who is known for her rich Aari work and embroidery for tops and home linen, social media played a pivotal role in helping launch and grow her venture KalaaNetra.
Social media helped with marketing and sale of products during the pandemic as people found themselves locked at homes. Aparna NP of Artcravings (handmade jewellery) and Veda Soap Supplies (handmade soaps and materials) says that 90% of her sales have been through social media. She reached her target buyers without a physical store or exhibitions.
Sana Khan of Sana’s Boutique, an online store for clothing and accessories, states that social media has helped a lot to sell her products across the state and country. “I could connect with people globally and conduct classes on how to make ‘Goencho Pao’ via Zoom to keep the tradition of pao (Goan Bread) alive,” tells Alison Jane Lobo, known for her lip-smacking sourdough bread. Similarly, Ashwini sold her cloth masks across states in India.
These women entrepreneurs use Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp to sell their products. Facebook groups such as GoWomania and Sheshyns were created to help all women entrepreneurs connect with one another and also invite customers to check out locally produced items.
Chart: Number of Participants part of Facebook Groups
Siya Shaik, one of the administrators of GoWomania, says: “I started the group to cultivate an entrepreneurial spirit in women and inspire the next generation. We aim to encourage, guide, and build a support system for women entrepreneurs.”
“Sheshyns is all about women, as a homemaker and entrepreneur. It was launched to help women prosper in their entrepreneurial ventures. We want all women to work collectively to fix each other’s crowns rather than snatching them away,” Gouri Joshi, the administrator of Sheshyns, mentions.
Describing her experience as a member of these groups, Ashwini articulates, “GoWomania” played a significant role. I won the Best Emerging Entrepreneur Award. Likewise, with Sheshyns, I could market my products well and increase customer base.” “Facebook groups help to connect with a larger group of customers. It is amazing when people beyond your circle of acquaintances approach me for products, especially when those living outside Goa and India connect for customized embroidery work,” Sunetra opines.
“More than 50% of my sales have been through Facebook groups as you can connect with a greater target of purchasers,” says Aparna NP.
Ventures by women entrepreneurs have grown positively, traversing a journey from zero to now big income generators. And, social media – once the bane of the millennial population – has played a key role.
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