Feature

24-Year-Old Finds Online Business Niche With Just $10

Her business has bloomed as many people now opt for customised and beautifully crafted greeting cards through her social media pages named “Just Say It”.
03 Oct 2021 10:04
24-Year-Old Finds Online Business Niche With Just $10
Darshika Raj with her designed cards.

An aspiring entrepreneur, Darshika Raj, has created an online business during the COVID-19 pandemic that is starting to create waves.

Her business has bloomed as many people now opt for customised and beautifully crafted greeting cards through her social media pages named “Just Say It”.

The 24-year-old came up with the idea after she lost her job in the pandemic.

“I didn’t know what to do. I kept applying for jobs, but the rejections started taking its toll on my mental health,” she said.

“I began suffering from depression and anxiety.

“I removed myself from everyone and would just spend hours and hours browsing memes and looking at funny videos on my phone to keep myself distracted from my problems,” Ms Raj said.

“The idea of creating humor meme based customised greeting cards came to me when I was struggling to sleep one night.

“I was so excited that I got out of bed at 2am in the morning, turned my laptop on, and created about four designs.

“I didn’t know how well this would work, but I was willing to try it anyway because let’s face it – I didn’t have anything else to do.

“The next day after getting my idea, I created more designs and started looking for places to print.”

Start-up

She went around Suva to various printing places with her USB to get samples and compare the quality and prices of various places.

Ms Raj said she knew that if she was going to launch her business, she must associate it with quality from the very start.

She said after a week of running around and research, she finally launched the business on Facebook and Instagram.

“I had a lot of designs pre-made for my launch for my customers to choose from,” Ms Raj said.

“I did receive a bit of negativity when I started.

“Not a lot of people believed in me and thought this wouldn’t work but I believed in myself, ignored what everyone else had to say, and just kept going. It was keeping me busy, productive and I was using that as an escape from my problems.”

Ms Raj said that she started her business with $10.

“Most people wouldn’t believe it but it’s true, all I needed was a laptop, an internet connection, my skills, and a designing software lent to me by my friend, Rakin Wahed from Cheap Games Fiji.

“I was still applying for jobs around that time, and I thought if I could make this work, it could be a good side income, but little did I know, it would become everything.

“I made a target to sell at least one card per week in the first month.

“I got three orders in the first week which felt like an achievement.

“One was ordered by my friend, another by my cousin, and third was one of my followers on Instagram.

“Through the reviews from these three customers, I began getting more orders and by the end of the first month I had sold over 30 cards which was a huge win for me,” Ms Raj added.

She said by the second month, the COVID-19 second wave hit and suddenly printing places were closed.

Staying positive

However, this did not deter her spirits as she kept reminding herself to stay positive.

Ms Raj said her family had been a huge support throughout her life, and she knew they would always be there for her.

“I know how hard my parents work on our farms in Labasa and I don’t like taking any money from them because I know what it takes to earn it,” she said.

“Since I began my business, I have been independent once again.

“I am also very thankful to the Fijian Government for providing their unemployment benefits through FNPF, it really helped me survive in Suva and I used those funds to further invest in my business.

“I cut off all distractions and unnecessary expenses out of my life and just focused on building my brand these last six months.

“The support from my customers has been amazing and I appreciate every one of them. Sometimes I am up, working late nights, making cards and sorting out orders but the hustle becomes worth it when I get to hear how my creations made someone’s day,” Ms Raj said.

“Financial stress can really affect one’s mental health,” Ms Raj said.

“I’ve been there, I know the struggle the best advice one can give would be to stay positive, learn some new skills so that when you get back out there, you have more to offer.

“Keeping yourself busy removes negativity in your life.

“There’s a lot of things which I have planned for my business and will announce in due time,” she added.

Edited by Ranoba Baoa

Feedback: ashna.kumar@fijisun.com.fj



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