Oshina Hans - Employment May Fulfil Financial Safety, but Entrepreneurship Fulfils the Soul (Director - Creative Head - Modern Myth From India)

Oshina Hans

Never consider yourself above the business. You can’t act like an employee while running a venture, & you’ll have your fair share of ups & downs too. Employment may fulfil financial safety, but entrepreneurship fulfils the soul. 

1. Tell us more about your company and your journey.

Modern Myth was launched in 2019 by hiring 4 artisans in a small workshop-like setup in Delhi as a passion project by me and my co-founder, Saurabh Tokas. I am a first-generation entrepreneur who grew up in a family that has been only in the government profession. I was always drawn to the idea of doing someone of my own since childhood, and this desire grew astronomically while I was studying for Bachelors in Textile Designing at the National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT).

After college, I started working at a renowned export house, but my inner calling kept telling me to take a leap of faith & pursue my passion. By this time, I was sure I wanted to run my own handcrafted label – and I wanted to start out with bags.  Being an animal welfare volunteer, I decided to combine purpose with passion so I chose to keep the business vegan. 

Ergo, I planned to get out of my comfort zone and started brainstorming extensively on the business plan. Once I had a blueprint ready, I decided to put my resignation papers down right away. Surprisingly, all of this happened shortly before my appraisal! I still remember there was a constant persuasion from almost everyone that I need to reconsider what I was doing or the fact that I am being very impulsive.

Nevertheless, that day, and at that moment – I experienced the biggest sense of liberation & empowerment that can’t be explained in words. Plus, here we are after 2 years, with our brand Modern Myth with an ever-growing graph in addition to selling hundreds of bags daily.

2. How did you come up with this idea and go about executing it?

While brainstorming I realised that most of the existing bag brands in India didn’t have anything ‘offbeat’ to offer, and even if they did they were either too expensive to be bought by the majority or being manufactured using skins of dead animals! I wanted my customers to not only look good but also to make them feel good by offering them affordable designer bags that are animal cruelty-free. 

So, we made an extensive business plan, researched all important aspects from raw materials to labour, to the paperwork required for starting a company. It took us about 3 months to finalise the set-up and start the sampling process and another 3 months to manufacture our first collection. 

Moreover, I would also like to thank all major e-commerce platforms like Nykaa, Myntra, Ajio, Flipkart, Amazon etc. which helped us bringing in our brand, Modern Myth in the forefront.

3. What has been your biggest challenge that you faced and how did you overcome that?

Coming from a family which was always a part of the job industry, convincing my mother, Mrs Lata Hans, that I wanted to quit a well-paying job at the peak of my career was probably the first challenge. Besides, I lost my father during my school years so venturing out in the so-called ‘risk zone’ was definitely frowned upon by several people, especially people who were the closest to me. 

Despite of having no prior knowledge in business, my mother turned out to be a big driving force and encouraged me to follow my passion after a long and heartful tête-à-tête. After all, she realised that failing at something is much better than not trying at all. 

Of course, this was just the beginning. The hiring of artisans, setting up an entire workshop from scratch & executing all designs from paper to final product was a big challenge on its own. But we overcame it bit by bit.

Putting in all my hard-earned savings without knowing the business would work or not was of course a risk to take -- But I think that the self-believe in myself & our products has brought Modern Myth where it is today. To be honest, we overcame all hurdles by practical experience. All the struggles we faced as a brand & or as an individual, has taught me a lot. 

4. What do you think are the most important qualities of a successful entrepreneur? 

I believe every successful business has its own secrets & key ingredients. I feel everyone defines success differently but most importantly, to even begin the journey you need to follow this basic mantra – “If you have the power to dream, they have the power to execute that dream” (and just to let you know, this is completely original and I haven’t quoted this from someone else. Haha!)
Starting a business involved a considerable amount of risk of failure. 

I could have chosen to stick to my secure job & worked on someone else’s dream, but I chose to get out of my comfort zone to execute my dream, and I am still continuing to do so.

Also, when it comes to business, no matter how much effort you put in, something or the other will not go as per plan, and I am saying this from experience. There are endless possibilities and you won’t be able to control everything– you need to learn how to adapt to those twists and turns, rework your game, till it hits the bull’s eye. 

I’ve also learnt to take full responsibility of things working out or not working out– it empowers me & pushes me to be a better entrepreneur than who I was the previous day. Doing blame games doesn’t take you forward in life, but taking responsibility does. 

5. What are some of the most important factors for running a successful business?

The 3 P’s – (i) Patience. (ii)Passion. (iii) Perseverance – play a big role in running a successful business. It also requires purpose. If you are not going to obsess your business, others wouldn’t really care about the same. Prior to the onset of Modern Myth, we were literally doing everything ourselves – from sourcing to website & social media building, to photoshoots & cataloguing to packaging, you name it! 

We still stay both physically & mentally involved at all levels, assisting our staff whenever the workload goes up and that is how it should be. Never consider yourself above the business. You can’t act like an employee while running a venture, & you’ll have your fair share of ups & downs too. Employment may fulfil financial safety, but entrepreneurship fulfils the soul. 

6. What are your tips for first-time and aspiring entrepreneurs?

The first step is to execute. Don’t keep thinking, start doing. Once you do so, things will start falling into place. There is no hard & fast rule or a sure-shot way to be successful. Some things might work for you, and some won’t. But have the determination to keep going. Consistency is much more important rather than one day’s intensity. You will have your fair share of setbacks. Don’t let them overtake your chase. 

Plus, learn to speak up your mind & take a strong stand whenever needed. Being a young female entrepreneur who had no business background in a male-dominated industry, I had my fair share of struggles. But as my business grew, my vendors started taking my work seriously. 

Oshina Hans

It is fair to say, that one doesn’t judge a person by their gender or by the size of their start-up, but rather evaluate them via what they bring to the table. And I am glad to mention that, I made a special place for myself in this male-dominated industry, where I get respect from a lot of men. I encourage all the women out there to break these stereotypes. 

7. How can one overcome a hurdle of lack of funds when starting up?

I am a firm believer of the fact where there is a will there is a way. Whether you have thousand rupees in your pocket or a Lac, you can start a business. In my case, I first worked in a design company to gain experience as well as build up the savings that I needed to start my own venture.

Remember, you will never end up starting anything if you only think about funds. So, it’s better that you start with whatever you have. If you believe your idea & have that confidence, nothing can play you down. Perse, YouTube is full of ideas that need passion to execute rather than having a high value of funds. 

You can also pitch your idea to investors if that’s the route you’re looking at, but personally, I haven’t taken that route since I didn’t feel the need to. All I know is if your business solves a problem in a unique way – funds will eventually be arranged. So stop thinking and start doing.

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Entrepreneur | Director - Creative Head - Modern Myth @modernmyth.in

Interviewed By: Nishad Kinhikar