You take a long leisure walk on a cloudy evening, not quite cold, but there's definitely a chill in the wind. You slow down to absorb all the lush greenery around you and stand mesmerised looking at the endless vastness of the big blue sky…
And then light, cool breeze touches you! It's just a whiff, that leaves you fulfilled, elated even; and you walk ahead with a small spring in your step humming a random, happy tune! Turn that lovely breeze into a person, and that's who Vidhya is!
We met through a common group of friends and a deep love for food. Known as #thehungryzombie popularly, her passion for food is love at its best. She is an all-around natural person, easy to laugh with, easy to talk to, easy to share food with, but wrong, are the people who judge her as the easy to go, girl!
Behind that effortless grace and easy smile is a grit of iron and tenacity of a fresh grass overtaking the storm, and that's why "Tulua" her accessories brand is able to make a unique mark and stand out amongst the zillions of Instagram Accessories sale brands. She sources unique, handcrafted jewellery from across India, and brings it down to the women, who love a healthy dollop of bling in their day-to-day life. I've been a happy customer of her since day 1 (literally, I think) and I can only smile with pride looking at how she and her brand had grown steadily over the past months. I couldn't help but ask her, "How?", "How did this all start?"
And ever the open-book girl quite surprised me with her answer.
"Actually, I used to have a home business since 2011, it was called Spark. Eventually, I got busy and couldn't do it. Then in 2016, I briefly worked on it again where made custom books which eventually died down too. But in Feb 2018, I did it on a small scale. But in July, my dad gave me the much-needed monetary push, and I could really stock up products, there was a little risk involved, but you cannot do business without taking any risk!"
This was her third time, I couldn't imagine, recovering from the first blow, but here she is standing firm in her third try, deftly learning from her previous businesses and moving on and moving big. Didn't I say tenacity? She firmly believes in standing tall and rising, believe it enough to have her brand's tag line as "Raising above Stereotypes!" Coming, to think of it, the name "Tulua" in itself is quite unique and catchy. "How did you come up with that and why this particular line of business, knowing about the heavy competition?" I asked her.
"Yeah, I was very sure my brand will be called something with "rise." I could relate it with myself more than anything. I'm so tired of society telling you're dark, don't wear that... your face is small, this that. Fancy earrings are coming in, and a lot of women absolutely love them. But I see them always thinking twice before buying, what will others tell and all that mind voices howling loads and loads of questions. They're still in the wear-everything-gold era, even though they don't want to be!" I sighed my agreement to that statement. I love big dangling hoops and everything stone, but now that I am married, I must wear gold, insisted by older women of the family, that it would make me look like, well… married! Thanks to zomb, I still relevant to that fantastic part of fashion and occasionally indulge myself in buying a couple of earrings from the exquisite collection she displays! How does she finds such beautiful pieces at such varying price range, Is that the whole idea behind Tulua? I asked her and I could almost see her dashing smile (we were conversing over WhatsApp, I can only imagine, she smiled)
"Hell, yes!" She agreed (and she did confirm she smiled). My idea is only to bring the best from all over India under one brand. I always work towards getting something for everyone and in every range. And I've just been lucky that people like what Tulua has to offer.
I've just started collaborating with designers, and hopefully, someday I could design a line. That's the dream!"
And that's the dream as a customer too! To find everything you need at one place and at a price your purse loves. And Vidhya is ever the Princess Perfect when it comes to customer satisfaction. I remember the first ever time I received kemp necklace set from her! It was the initial days of Tulua; Unfortunately, I had the thread knot of the necklace had cut-off somehow during the courier travel. It was a minor mishap, one that I could quickly fix, so I had sent her a suggestion of giving an extra set of thread in her deliveries in case of such mishaps. I remember her apologising profusely, and the next day, I received a courier with a thread package. Honestly, the packaging and the courier costs more than the thread, but it did leave me with a strong sense of satisfaction and utter trust. "I am still amazed by that gesture," I told her, "what is your mantra for such amazing standards of customer satisfaction?" I asked.
"I take customer service very seriously! The customer is king, and I think that's the rule every business should live by. Sometimes, I just put myself in their place to deal with certain situations, and it's worked great until now" came a simple yet fantastic answer.
At this point, I am quite glad that I am doing this series. Just the second interview and I am amazed, awe-struck, humbled and so damn proud all-at-once. "What message do you have for the women out there?" (And yeah, this would always be my last question)
"If you have a dream, start already. The world is very competitive, so if you have an idea put it to act before someone else does. And don't be let down if others are copying you, that only means you're doing something right", She pinged back.
"That's quite a positive perspective!" I thought to myself as I walked to my balcony to have a glimpse that the unusually cloudy sky, all the while thinking about this enthralling woman and her amazing answers, and just then, a whiff of cool breeze brushed past me ever so lightly… and I smiled.
PS: Checkout Tulua in Instagram: Tulua