When was the last time you got inspired by a women entrepreneur? It is very likely that it wasn’t too long ago. Thanks to the growing number of women hustling to make a mark, and in the process inspiring more women folks to join the force. Today, we have one such woman whose life journey as a go-getter and a contributor to society, started while still in school.
Say hi to Temsusenla Kichu from Nagaland – owner of Fusion store, which houses an eclectic range of homegrown brands. By giving the local brands a platform, it acts as a catalyst of empowerment for the creators of the society.
- Tell us a little bit about yourself
I am from Dimapur Nagaland, and currently nurturing my latest venture ‘Fusion store’, which houses various original creations from homegrown designers and creators. I have always been involved in various society activities, as I love being engaged and helping out wherever I can. It’s my 20th year being a part of the Rotary Club in Dimapur. I joined in the year 1997 as an interactor when I was still in school. It has been an enriching journey, where I even got the opportunity to represent the entire North Eastern states and has served as the president as well.
I also volunteer as the co-ordinator for Ne8X chapter, which aims to help and empower entrepreneurs and startups from the Northeast region (of India).
- How did you start your entrepreneurial journey?
I believe it started right after I finished my 10th standard. I was constantly juggling between my school/college and part time jobs. My high school days were the best training period. I worked part time at a medical wholesale store until I graduated, after which I joined a retail store and worked in different capacities. I finally left after working as the store manager.
Back then when most youngsters were not allowed by their parents to work part time (at least in Nagaland), I had already started working and earning. My first salary was Rs.600. Not a huge sum, but the power and the confidence it gave me was tremendous. It was during these early years that the seeds of my entrepreneurial pursuit was planted, and it finally took flight in 2014, with the launch of Fusion store.
I did not start my store with a big sum of money. But my confidence that came from years of juggling between various roles made it happen. Mentors, sisters and my parents have been my biggest support and the almighty God who has always showed me the right path. I am grateful everyday.
- Tell us more about ‘Fusion’. What was the inspiration behind it?
When I first opened the store, the idea was to bring unique items from all over the country and sell it in the store. But barely a month after launch, I began to notice the work of local independent designers and their wonderfully unique creations. So I got inspired to support their work and help promote their products through my store. I strongly believe that by helping out these enterprising individuals, we would, as a group contribute to the local economy at large.
So if you walk into the store today, you will see an eclectic range of products from homegrown brands. We have apparel brands like ‘Liying’ and ‘Bevura’; traditional accessories from ‘Runway’; handmade jewellery & accessories from ‘D’ana’ and Nungshiba dolls from Precious Me Love (PML). We are constantly adding more brands and it is exciting to see the new additions every single time.
- How has your entrepreneurial journey been so far?
It has been really challenging, because I do not have any real entrepreneurial experience, nor do I come from a business family. But the best part of this journey is that, I get to learn something new everyday. If something works, it’s a new learning and if something doesn’t work, I still learn what not to do. Also the thought that me and my team are doing something different from the rest, keeps us going and motivated – no matter what comes our way.
Let me also add that my entire team comprises of women, and each one an entrepreneur in her own right – as we forge this journey together. We strive to be our very best, as we all support each other in building our passion into a profession we love.
Here in Fusion, we are all about gathering to what the people want rather than pushing (to sell) what we procure. We believe strongly in building a sustainable livelihood out of our passion, hence this motto of ours to create/bring what people love is really important to us.
- What is your take on the lows and highs of running your own business?
We had to overcome multiple challenges and issues over the last 2 years of our journey, but we’ve had many accomplishments and celebrations too. What has remained constant is the immense love and support by our friends and families. Our ever growing pool of well wishers is our biggest gain I would say. Another upside is the celebrity walk-ins :). We’ve had quite a few of them visiting the store like : Neil Zaza (world renowned instrumental rock guitarist) Chef Kunal Kapor (Indian celebrity chef and restaurateur, and judge of the TV series MasterChef India), Khailash Kher and Prashant Tamang.