This young village girl who would fetch water for her father’s tiny restaurant has come a long way. Sharing the stage with successful entrepreneur recipients of the prestigious Women Economic Forum (WEF) Award in New Delhi, her ‘old-me’ image flashed across the mind of Karthika Nair, a young beauty care expert in Kochi. She is the only Malayali to receive the ‘Young Leaders Creating a Better World for All’ Award instituted by a global gathering of women. In just one-and-a-half years, she has opened two franchises of her parlour, with a third one on the way.
This lady in her late 20s helps fledgling entrepreneurs (of small, medium and big scale enterprises) and product marketers learn the risks involved before they take the plunge. Karthika, the eldest child of a small-scale hotelier in the country-side, worked as a public relations officer for a paltry sum. She soon moved to an Italian MNC but quit a lucrative job to start her own business.
“I struggled to stand on my own (feet). When I came to Kochi nine years ago for my studies, I wanted to become financially independent to meet expenses. That is how I got into public relations. Then I served in the marketing sector for a while, where I was appreciated for my people management and product marketing skills. I was paid Rs 1 lakh a month by the Italian beauty company I worked with. But I wanted to start something on my own and I quit the job to everyone’s surprise,” she recaps.
Karthika adds, “I tell people who approach me for business advice to understand their customers first. I am like a daughter or sister to my customers and am emotionally attached to most of them. A perfect relationship wins for sure. I’d say entrepreneurs get a deeper understanding of the business they are getting into, and never entirely depend on any staff,” she says.
Karthika spends time reading to increase knowledge about her industry. “Motivational books and stories of entrepreneurs are my favourites. People tend to focus on the success of achievers. They have endured hardships worth learning about too. I’d prefer people to perform as opposed to those who preach. I am busy with my work, and hardly take holidays. Earlier, there was enough time to read classics. I have a special love for Paulo Coelho’s Alchemist,” she says quoting the ‘whole universe conspires’ theory.
Films are a huge passion too. She loves English movies a lot. A hardcore Hugh Jackman fan, Karthika has a reason to choose her best hero. “There was a time I woke up to see his face,” she smiles. “In acting and personal life, he is a role model worth emulating,” she continues.
Packing multiple things in her daily life, Karthika has put her dream-of-a-lifetime on hold — travel. I have toured almost every place in South India. The dream is to globetrot and learn about diverse cultures in different places,” she says.
She honestly admits that she is not that well-off to fund charitable activities, Karthika believes in extending a helping hand whenever she is in a position to do so. “If there’s means, I’d pack meals for a few who cannot afford to have it,” she says.
Karthika aims to scale-up her brand state-wide. She sees herself in the national radar in another 10 years....