Thank you for all the love and replies to our last email. Each & every reply is a motivation to write more and write often.
This email isn't about food but more about life and people who make it interesting i.e. add spice.
Last week, I met one of my friends from my very first job and we got chatting about how our careers have shaped over the last 8 years. Our respective journeys have been very different and during our conversation, we touched upon the importance of mentors and the role they play in our lives.
In today’s letter, I would like to talk about a select few people who have played an extremely important role in my life and career.
Before we dig in, I’d like to say that - A mentor can have a significant impact on your life and if you are fortunate enough to get a great mentor, that can be life-changing. At least, that is how it has been for me :)
So, here we go -
1. Deepak Arora: Back in the day, when I joined EY, as a fresh graduate, I was scared, & nervous and didn’t really know what I would be doing, I met Deepak, who was my senior on the very first assignment. He was an assistant manager (by designation) and for him to be working with a first-year associate, wasn’t the norm. In my early interactions with him, he bit my head off stating freshers don’t know anything about work and he made me feel quite useless. However, as we started working together, I started realizing that he wanted me to succeed and he was a little strict in the beginning so that I get up to speed early on. Working alongside him was quite fun because he would give insights into how things function at the senior level and what will it take for me to succeed in this environment. When I expressed a few months down the line that I want to move on and learn how to build a business from the ground up, his words were - “I don’t want you to leave but I really want you to build something exciting and don’t want you to have any regrets. I regret not being able to take that risk early on in my life and I wish I had the courage to do so. Go out and make me proud.”
2. Uday Lakkar: I met this guy in a coffee shop, a meeting arranged by another friend and he was in the process of starting up CoHo, a co-living start-up. A few mins into the conversation, I thought this guy was way too casual in the way he speaks and I’m not sure if he is serious about this venture. However, as the conversation progressed, I got a sense of his vision & his business acumen and I was sold. Then & there, I knew, I found my next mentor. Uday was a great mentor who taught the basics of building a fundamentally strong business and how people skills are extremely important when it comes to building a company. Forever indebted for his learnings. One of his favorite statements is - “Keep building and hustling until you figure out how to build & scale.
3. Shalabh Gupta: One fine day, Shalabh walked into the office of Coho, and ever since then, my life hasn’t been the same. He had a large vision to build a disruptive CPG brand and I had no clue about this sector. Multiple conversations later, I was convinced that I want to learn and first-hand experience how to go about building a CPG brand. During my 3 years at Akiva, I learned a lot - think about brand building, scale operations, design go-to-market strategy, develop products, sell the dream, etc. He is also the reason why I fell in love with consumer brands. A few key learnings while working alongside Shalabh were -
- Great things take time, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Be patient.
- It’s very important to understand what is working and why and what isn’t working and why not. The reality check is critical.
- Your team makes or breaks things and hence, important to carefully hire the right set of people on the journey.
And Shalabh would often say, either you are all in or not. There is no middle ground when you are doing your life’s work.
Considering I don’t want to make this letter too long, I’ve talked about some of the early mentors in my life. There are quite a few more mentors who continue to guide and support me and I’ll talk about them soon :)
A few quick updates -
- Last week, we released a video on Instagram where we shared what has been our journey of building Perfora. This video has received a lot of love from our community on Instagram and if you would like to watch it, here is the link - https://www.instagram.com/p/CcVU1y0Dcsv/. The video features Tushar and Me and finally, you get to see the faces behind the letter that you read on Sundays. Believe me, this is a must-watch :)
- On popular demand, we have introduced Oral Care Quiz on our website. The idea behind this is that we wanted to make it very easy for our website visitors to decide on the right set of products for them, based on the problems they want to address. So take the quiz today and share your feedback. We have just made the beta version live and your feedback will mean a lot. Click here.
- After a successful campaign last month, we have partnered once again with another personal care brand named Sanfe. We know skincare is the rage and most of us are highly invested in it. Hence we want to take care of all your face care essentials. If you buy products worth INR 999 on our website, you get a Free Facewash and Sunscreen. This is a limited-time offer, only ~200 units left, so hurry up and grab it now.
- This month, our brand will be featured as a part of Emerging Brands on Amazon India, 28th-29th April. This is a big feat for a young brand like ours and without your support, this wouldn’t have been possible.
If you guys have any questions or feedback, please feel free to share them with me directly. I promise I’ll respond quickly without any delays.
We are a very young brand and your support & feedback go a long long way.