As a child, you know you are born different…but you don’t figure what is the difference…
My journey starts from a small town, a small school and a big joint family. I was always a reason for raised eyebrows and an uncanny look. I knew I was not like others…I had dreams, I had different views but I didn’t know how to unfold them…understand them. Finally an opportunity to study fashion in Delhi came my way…which was always my vision and my passion, but it wasn’t structured. I was a simple girl with deep values struggling to survive alone learning to manage things on my own. This life taught me a lot of skill management.
My only support was the value and the trust I got from my parents, my right attitude and obviously my long distance committed boyfriend who is now my husband. Learning fashion brought my unclear mind to a clearer goal in life. I enjoyed the feel of fabric, the control of creativity, the sense of beauty and perfection, the colors, the weaves and the patterns. They were so magical. I was sure, I wanted to be a fashion designer. I now knew, any kind of creativity was magical and I had found my magic wand. By now I had started my own small production unit after finishing my studies.
Then came the usual crossroads in life… It was time for me to get married and start a new chapter. But I was happy to marry the man I loved.
I sometimes laugh how my parents reacted when they got to know that I was managing a florist. Poor them… florist for them meant a guy sitting outside the temple with some loose flowers in the baskets.
Anyway, we got married, now the question was to follow fashion or to be a florist. As expected out of me to always to pick a not done before kind of zeal…to travel the untraveled path, the hunger for knowledge and experiment, I chose to be a florist. Somewhere, I wanted to stay close to my husband all the time, this was one more reason to work with him.
As my destiny calling…initial days were of learning and struggling. There was no business school model to run a high end florist business. As my husband says, we have studied in the school of struggles. Every day was a new challenge, managing perishable flowers, managing to keep up to the expectation every time, going to the flower market at 4:00 am in the morning , roughing it out in the world of men in the flower market and a look that said…hey you don’t belong here. Constant visit for years to the market and my morning affair with the flowers, the excitement of handpicking flowers gave me immense pleasure.
Then work started scaling up from one shop to 10..20…40 and numbers started doubling up along with the work load and challenges…Then there were also new entrants in the family- my kids.
My husband’s experiments with the work always kept me on my toes. I didn’t know what surprise each morning will bring. From florist to growing up flowers to supply chain to weddings and events to human resources to food to banquet halls.
By default, I learnt every aspect of the business. From a florist to a wedding designer to a finance controller to an operational head to a production head. I still get amused with the word ‘truss’. I didn’t know what a truss was. I still remember, learning accounting and balance sheets and taxation.
Anyways, I used to get bored very easily. Every third year of my working life I knew, it was the time to move on. I have learnt and I have contributed…there is nothing much for me now. Looking back I knew that this was my biggest strength to learn so much in a span of 20 years. So I got bored…now what?
After certain achievements and success, you feel little restricted. Also, one has to take care of the position of directorship also. The feeling of hierarchy started bothering me. I wanted to fly, I wanted to be a young free soul again, rather than looking into business plan and balance sheets.
What new, we had a flagship store which was always affiliated with big designers. Since I was bored, I was offered to make that my office as it would have best suited my profile, my position and my creativity.
But could one’s own sense of design and creativity would have merged with another designer. I kept myself out of it. I had to do something new and challenging. As always it was time to sit back and think. I knew that I have been used to drive a heavy duty life of almost 15 hours of working everyday.
I wanted to do something fulfilling yet not to be roughing it out every day for such long hours.
Since I never used to have time for myself, one year on Rakhi I thought…enough of struggling to shop Rakhi and gifts…let me send it online. I searched and searched and couldn’t find a single website offering a good Rakhi gift…and my mind started working in that direction. After doing a lot of research and homework, I started gift section on our existing and established portal www.fnp.com as it was way too challenging for me to enter into unknown…technical wizard zone. Then in a very short period I realized gifting website is in itself such a vast field that fitting it into a florist website is just not the way it should move forward.
E-commerce was a foreign field to me. I hated computers. My satisfaction of work couldn’t be complete without papers and pens.
There came a need to start a new gift portal. Search for names was giving me sleepless nights. Then my husband convinced me to start with my own name, Again a very scary and challenging responsibility of starting something I didn’t know with my own name. Destiny calling I guess, and Gifts By Meeta started.
Then doing just a gifting website was not fulfilling my 12 hours of work satisfaction. So I needed to complete my portfolio, I was again offered to take over the long losing proposition of the Flagship store which had been affiliated with designers. I was ready to take up another challenge. So the new journey of being a florist, an event stylist and a gift expert started. All these aspects complimented each other. The search for success and the craving of creating a niche in the industry started. At 43, I started being an enthusiastic child again with a new challenge, a new passion and a new journey again.
My mantra is to always travel an untraveled path. Life is too short to sit and look back, count your life by smiles, be crazily different.