1. How would you describe your business?
My name is Vaijayanti Baldua. I am the owner and founder of VAMA Designs. My business is my passion. I design and sell Indian Bridal and party wear outfits for men and women.
2. How long did you operate your business?
I opened my business 9 years ago in 2009.
3. What products do you sell?
I sell Indian outfits.
About you1. Why did you decide to go into business?
I have my MBA degree in Computer Information Systems. I worked in the industry for 18 years. I took early retirement to pursue my passion. I wanted to design the dream outfits for the brides, grooms, families and friends.
2. Was being a business owner a lifelong dream or something that has grown to you? (any specific reasoning or story)
This passion is my lifelong dream. I converted my passion into Fashion business.
3. How has your perspective in owning a business changed after becoming an owner of a business yourself?
I always had a vision about my business in mind. After I started VAMA Designs, I did come across some challenges in implementing my vision.
4. How would you characterize yourself? Which one do you think helped you the most to have a successful business? Why?
In my mind, the most important quality which helped me to the path of success is my knowledge and easy nature. I believe in high quality at the best affordable prices.
5. What motivated you to run your own business?
I saw the challenges for the South asian community weddings and lately fusion weddings, had trouble in finding the latest, high quality outfits. This need makes me think about quitting my Corporate Job and opening of the Fashion boutique to help them fulfill their dream.
Your experience as an entrepreneur
1. How did you get started in this business?
I saw the challenges for the South asian community weddings and lately fusion weddings, had trouble in finding the latest, high quality outfits. This need make me think in quitting my Corporate Job and opening of the Fashion boutique to help them fulfill there dream.
2. What were some challenges you faced when establishing your business? How were they overcome? (any specific event that occurred)
The most important challenge was to make people aware of the business. Getting the business name out and giving complete trust was very challenging. I did 14 Fashion Shows in my first year in different cities in the Bay area, Sacramento, Fresno, Forida. This helped me establish my brand.
3. Have you had to change the way you run your business due to the ever-changing environments? (Example - changing the way one advertise their product because of the evolution of technology)
One has to always be on top of technology. Luckily, I had my MBA in Computer information system so I could develop my Social Media brand awareness. I have close to 30000 Instagram Followers, 9000 Facebook, 141000 Tiktok followers. We have close to 200 Yelp 5 star reviews. I felt the need of having VAMA Designs presence in Digital Media to keep with the technology.
4. What do you do to market/advertise your products?
We have a solid social media presence. I have close to 30000 Instagram Followers, 9000 Facebook, 141000 Tiktok followers. We have close to 200 Yelp 5 star reviews. This all I had to start to keep with the technology. We market VAMA Designs on Yelp, Google! We have repeat customers and recommendations.
5. What are some challenges you have faced as a business owner? How did you solve them? (any specific event that occurred)
During the pandemic, our supply team in India was shut down. As a result, lots of our orders from India were stuck. We had to work with different teams during our entire night just to complete our commitments to our customers.
6. What is the most important part of your job? Why?
Customer service is the most important part in our business.
7. What is the most difficult part of your job? Why?
Depending on all the sources in India. Due to distance, cannot travel all the time to India. So we are dependent on most of our work through video calls. That becomes very hectic and slow.
8. What is something you would have liked to known before deciding to run a business?
Every day I am learning something new. I knew lots of things about the business earlier on but each day is different and comes with different sets of challenges.
1. How would you define success?
Success comes with a lot of trust and happiness. When we see a bride or her mom so happy and when they tell you, I have helped them by taking their responsibilities on my shoulder and how relaxed they feel after talking to me.
2. What are some characteristics an entrepreneur should have to be successful?
Hard working, honest, very good customer service, humble, respectful and ready to accept challenges without losing the temper.
3. Does location matter depending on what the business is about?
Yes, location plays a very big role in terms of getting more visits by your customers.
4. Is having a good image important to having a successful business? If yes, how does one maintain a good image?
Assuring the customers your services and products are the best to decide the best image about your business. Business goodwill comes with a solid reputation. And this is very challenging as we communicate with so many different people. If we cannot satisfy our customers then someone else will. So assurance and trust plays a very important role in the success of business.
5. What are some tricks to solving problems one may face when owning a business?
The most important trick is having open and honest communication. This helps solve even the most complex issues.
6. What is some advice you would give to anyone who is thinking about being an entrepreneur?
My most important advice to all the youngsters thinking about becoming an entrepreneur is never give up. You should always work towards completing at least a Bachelor's degree. Education comes first. It will give you an edge over others in terms of understanding the business. I have 2 Master's degrees from India and an MBA from the US. This all education gave me a complete perspective of how to run my business and make it profitable.