Womenlines take pleasure to share a guest post by Swadha Shubham, Director Fashionista Factory Events, India. In this post, Swadha is sharing about the First Virtual Flea Concept Initiation to support the local business in Pune, India-
The coronavirus outbreak has changed the world in ways that none of us could have ever predicted.The pandemic was taking a toll on every possible source of livelihood leaving many people jobless. But there were many angels who took that extra mile to help people in need in such desperate times. Entrepreneurs like Swadha Shubham Goel took the first big step of organizing an online virtual flea market/exhibition, giving a platform to entrepreneurs to earn dignified earnings.
Owner of Fashionista Factory Events (FFE) & Facebook Community Leader/Influencer Swadha Goel says how exhibitions have made an impact online , post lockdown and benefitting many entrepreneurs.
After successfully completing exhibitions & events of 2019, where FFE had supported more than 12 NGOs, Social Enterprises and Self-Help Groups, who work with local farmers and artisans at the Big Shopping Diwali and New Year Festival; they were all set for the schedule of 2020 events.
Swadha Shubham Goel, Founder Pune Entrepreneurs –Made in India facebook group –a group for all aspiring entrepreneurs all over India-, had started her year on a high note with many exciting events planned and had geared up to take her company to the next level. She says, “The pandemic struck all of us really hard, shattering all our plans. Having no clue about how to go further and what to do next, I started chalking an alternative business plan for the company and the 7000+ entrepreneurs all across India, associated and registered with us.”
She further says, “I have been receiving calls from my vendors all over India asking about when would events be starting as they were facing very difficult times since March 2020 when 1st Lockdown was announced in the country. After a lot of brainstorming, I decided to initiate a new methodology to give them a way to earn. Hence, to help alleviate the hardships that the local business owners had faced due to the pandemic, I decided to host the Online Virtual Flea Market. I had created a Facebook group, (PE-MII) -Pune Entrepreneurs -Made in India, with a vision to provide a digital platform to all aspiring women entrepreneurs and mompreneurs, which now has more than 50,000 members all across India.”
During this pandemic, the initiation of digital flea markets by PE-Made in India in association with FFE had allowed shoppers to browse goods from more than 500 registered small local vendors and independent retailers, all at the same place. In a span of the initial 2 months of the pandemic, she has successfully conducted more than 175 live shows showcasing an amazing line-up of vendors and the count is increasing with passing days.
Sharing the happiness about how entrepreneurs started gaining confidence, she informs, “This initiative has given plenty of opportunities to the entrepreneurs to sustain their business without leaving their house. Since not all of these business owners were tech-savvy and were apprehensive about going live on Facebook, I also trained and guided them (mostly the elderly women entrepreneurs) with all the required information.” She says “I am happy that other groups too started these live sessions after watching our success story.”
Sharing with us how the Facebook live session works, Swadha informed us that the vendors who have available stock at home get a stipulated time for going live in the group and showcase their products to the audience which gives them a real shopping experience. She says, “I am personally available for all the sessions to guide the entrepreneurs as it’s a new concept for all of them. Post the session I also check with them about the response and to my astonishment many local business owners have got 3000 to 25000 worth orders from just one live session.
Along with the Digital Flea Market, she ensures to engage everyone with multiple activities and contests on her Facebook group. She also tries to help members stay positive and healthy during the pandemic with the PE Learning Zone section where experts take a session on various topics like life during the pandemic, mental health issues due to lockdown and many more.
She says, “When I think about my start as an entrepreneur, I’m reminded of my guiding stars – my parents and the support that my husband gave me by letting me live and chase my dream. “Whatever you do, be different, always think out of the box– that was the advice my parents gave me, and I can’t think of better advice for an entrepreneur. If you’re different, you will definitely stand out.” Without their support, no amount of luck would have gotten my business off the ground.”
My father is a successful entrepreneur and I have grown seeing him build brands. After marriage, I had to quit my job as I was shifting to a new city. Then, after my pregnancy sabbatical, I couldn’t rejoin as I had to take care of then five-month-old son. But I never fell prey to the societal pressures and was never intimidated by small things that came in the way of living my dream. Hence, the idea triggered me to start something of my own, where I could dedicate my time to my family and also pursue my dream of helping other mompreneurs, who had to struggle between choosing their career and family.
Hence, she believes in empowering and uplifting each other. “Empowering women means empowering your nation.”
Swadha firmly believes in her motto and practices what she preaches. “Stay true, stay genuine, believe in what you are passionate about and you will finally get there. Enjoy every minute of becoming a better version of you”, she signs off.