Tjori’s boardroom is made up of glass walls. These are also the makeshift white boards with thousands of details regarding how the brand goes about their everyday business. Mansi Gupta, the Founder sits in her chair, while going about handling a consignment that has just been sent in, a photoshoot for their latest collection and briefing her team in midst of a very buzzing office in Sultanpur, Delhi.
“I was a rebel. I grew up in a close-nit,joint family that travelled a lot,” says Mansi. Born and brought up in Jammu, her love for local produce and products can be seen in how the brand has shaped itself. “While everyone else would go to malls, I would prefer eating local food, going to small markets and buying stuff you wouldn’t find in big cities.”
So when Mansi decided to go to Pune to complete her graduation, her joint family had too many questions. After this, she worked and decided to go for higher education and opted for Cardiff Business School to complete her MBA. Post which, she worked with IBM India, handling their corporate sales. A sabbatical from work landed her in an Executive Programme at the Wharton Business school. This is where Tjori came to life.
“The brand was conceptualised, planned and modelled here at the entrepreneur club,” says Mansi recalling how even her non-Indian batchmates recognised her sense of style.
Tjori is one of the foremost brands presenting ethnic collection in the country today. With a wide internet audience, they have created their niche, selling products that are homegrown yet strikes a chord with your everyday necessities.
“I was always very clear that the brand was going to be for everyone and has to be relevant as well. Homegrown brands had hit their ceiling at that time and I wanted to go beyond salwar suits. Relatable everyday wear that people could wear to office or even to a party,” says Mansi.
When she initially started Tjori, the brand’s social media was loaded with queries from India. While in the USA, people would first pay and then get the product, in India, the rule was vice-versa. “E-commerce was exciting in the country then. But at the same time, an overall awakening happened all across the world where people were drawn towards making sustainable choices. That is why it made more sense to launch Tjori,” says Mansi.
What the young CEO also realised was that people in all corners of India still lacked access to each other’s products. Tjori was a successful venture in the US, catering to Indians and non-Indians. But a test run in her home country made Mansi recognise Tjori’s potential.
Obviously, fresh challenges were knocking on the door. “Our first test run in India and we had to shut marketing down in 15 days. There were 7-8 of us in the team and everybody was packing, nothing new was going online and we had to ship 50 orders!” says Mansi.
India was yet to see a brand offering artisanal products from clothes, wellness, home to child care products. And obviously, Mansi saw the opportunity here.
Coming from a business family, Mansi did have an eye for identifying a problem that needed solutions. And when you combine your fondness with business, the results are bound to be great.
Though the boldness of a CEO, she gets from her grandmother, “Everyone in the family does actually! I wouldn’t accept eve teasing at any point. Once, my cousin was teased by two men, I went and bashed them up.”
According to Mansi, god has given women the power to take generations forward. So what can anyone else do to empower them?
Though running a venture like Tjori, which is growing one internet click at a time, does take a bit of balancing to do. “When you have a setup like this, work is life and life is work. So there’s no real difference in either. No morning is a morning without looking at the dashboard,” says Mansi.
To maintain a rhythm with work and life, Mansi designed her child’s nursery at home and at the office. “My child has been here since day 1. Tjori is like my first baby. I cannot do one at the cost of another. I’m very hands on with anything I do and especially with my kid. I want to be around him at all times,” she says.
But we do know that it takes a village to raise a child and Mansi agrees, “To strike a balance, you need support from everyone around.”
And for this, she believes that it is necessary for women to make the right choices in life. “Educate yourself so that you become an intelligent individual to make those right choices. It’s very important to be confident from within. That just changes you as a person, and everything else follows. When you’re confident, you take the lead and then people follow you. Don’t let anybody colour or overpower you,” she says.