A woman, a mother and a strong individual. We present to you an exclusive interview of Sweta Jaiswal, the founder of the label "Cross Street".
1.How would you describe yourself in a sentenc?
“The question isn’t who’s going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me.” – Ayn Rand
2.Tell us about your education and work journey so far? When did you start working?
I have completed my schooling from Pratt Memorial School. I went on to graduate in Microbiology from Scottish Church College. After which I took a break for a year, contemplating what to do with my life because research & lab were definitely not my personality; this after I acquired the highest in my college in Part 2 examinations!
Just to pass time I took up a one year course in multimedia & taught a couple of students. Again, I realised I lacked patience required in teaching (but when it comes to my own baby, I don’t know where I get all my restraint!!). All this while under parental pressure I took up management coaching & sat for a few exams. Finally after a year I got back to full time studies again with a PG Diploma course in Management with specialisation in PR, Advertising & Communications from ISB&M, Kolkata.
Campus Placement got me through an event management company based in Kolkata. But soon I realised I was not cut out for a 9 to 5 job. Itching to start something of my own, I started my own event management company in 2010. Since then I have had the opportunity to work with a lot of people. Currently named Out Of the Box, my company undertakes children related events & workshops etc.
Since I was all too complacent with my work as an event planner, I needed something more exciting & ME
This gave birth to my current venture, an online fashion store for women by the brand name- CROSS STREET.
3.What motivated you to start your brand Cross Street? Which product categories do you sell?
The idea to start Cross Street came from the fact that I wanted to see a place where I can shop with my heart’s content all the things needed to create a complete look. Cross Street’s name also came from almost the same idea, that it’s a place where one can get contemporary fashion at reasonable price, versatile items which can be easily mixed & matched to create several looks! Currently we have footwear, fashion jewellery, bags, clutches & apparels.
4.Whose support did you get in your family to start and run your business?
I have been very lucky as my parents have been extremely supportive & open to all my decisions, even the time when I chose to drop out for a year. Frankly it’s not easy to convince people to start something new being a girl. My family has been a constant source of encouragement both financially & mentally. They have always believed that with hard work &self-belief anyone can achieve her dreams. Always encouraging & pushing me to do better. Going ahead I have been again lucky to marry an equally supportive husband & with the best in-laws I could ever ask for. Today I can, without any fear, pursue my dreams because at the back of my mind I know I have very strong pillars to help me do so.
5.How do you manage work and family responsibilities? Is it very difficult?
I won’t say it is easy but it is certainly not impossible. Sometimes the 24 hours in a day is not enough but what matters is that at the end of the day I should be happy with whatever I have done. I have my in-laws & parents who look after Nuwan in my absence or whenever I am travelling for meetings & all. I need 3-4 productive hours to complete all my store related work, which I generally schedule in the afternoon when Nuwan is resting & there is essentially no home chores to bother me. With everything I get time to rest after 6, & I try to sleep early as my mornings start from 5:30 am.
6.What are your plans to grow your business?
I feel proud that people like my work- both events & online store. For events I now take projects which come to me through reference or friends. I have stopped undertaking corporate events as I want to concentrate more on Cross Street now.
Up until now I was doing everything on my own, with help from family members. Presently am talking with a few young designers to partner me in curating my collection. This is how I want to see Cross Street- have Indian essence with a touch of modernity. Cross Street is completely online with its presence on Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp& a couple of shopping portals. I want it to create its own niche & do a lot of focus on customer interaction & satisfaction.
We have a few marketing promotions lined up & in a month or so, I shall be launching my fresh collection too. We are also planning to participate in a few exhibitions to reach out to a larger customer base.
7.What makes you happy?
I know this will sound clichéd but it’s definitely being with my 19 months old son- Nuwan. I just love his innocence, playfulness, fearless nature & the curiosity he is always brimming with. Ofcourse all the valuable feedback that I get on my work encourages me to continue, even though sometimes the going gets tough! I am a natural optimistic, so I keep all negativity far away as possible, this helps a lot since being happy is an intrinsic feature & doing things that make you happy should never be compromised with. I like to travel a lot, read, blog, working out- all the things that just let me be with myself at peace make me happy
8.Which area of your work do you enjoy the most?
This journey has been quite interesting till now & I wish it continues to be so. But if I had to choose one aspect of it all it is definitely selecting & finalising items for the store, be it apparels, footwear, accessories or bags & clutches! I think this is an inherent characteristic with the female of the species. Being surrounded by fashionable stuff is every woman’s dream job.
9.Any suggestion or words of advice for fellow business women?
Never ever think less of yourself & never get into the act of comparing yourself or your circumstances with anyone. One’s strength lies within so keep innovating yourself
10.Women face so many challenges in society. If you had the power, which problem would you like to fix?
We are in a society which is changing & that too for the better. We couldn’t think of travelling or working late nights a few years back, but today we have societal support. The only thing I want to fix is to successfully instil in my son that all human are equal. Shouldn’t it start from home?
11.If someone wants to check out your products, how can they contact you?
Anyone can visit our store here and do not forget to ask for 10% flat discount on all Cross Street Products for Glad2baWoman members!
Whatsapp/ direct message/ calls: 08443933111
For more details write to us: firstname.lastname@example.org