It has always been my dream to start something of my own, but I realize that the start-ups game is a tough one. I knew that I needed to learn the ropes properly before I could launch anything. The opportunity to work with MCaffeine seemed like a godsend since it would allow me to see how a startup should be organized and managed. One of the founders, Tarun, was a senior of mine from IIT Dhanbad, and when he started Salon, the company before MCaffeine, I thought it would be a good idea to join him and learn from him.
The best part of working at MCaffeine is the kind of exposure I have had. If I had joined some other company, I may not have got the same type of experience. The biggest lesson I’ve learned is that a start-up is not about an idea – good or bad. It is about being a team player and, when the time comes, being a team leader. If a team is coherent and works well together, most ideas will work. In fact, MCaffeine shares a philosophy that I personally believe in with all my heart - - the ‘Burn the Shade Card’ campaign.
I saw colour-based bias in my own family. My father is a very fair man and my mother has a dark complexion. My nana was quite worried about whether my mother would get married or not. Now, my father’s financial situation at the time wasn’t ideal. I’m from Rajasthan where these things matter when it comes to marriage. So, when the rishta came from my father, the match was considered a good one because the bride was dark and, therefore, it was alright for her to marry someone who wasn’t doing so well.
My mother is the only dark person in the entire family. As such, I’ve grown up seeing this kind of insecurity in my family. I’ve seen people applying all sorts of creams and lotions to look fairer. It seems a prevalent attitude in our society that if the girl isn’t fair, it’s unlikely that she’ll get a good match.
What I’ve observed is that fairness is a more important factor for women than it is for men, especially when it comes to the marriage market. For a man, in my experience, it is more important to earn well, while a woman has to look a certain way.
I take care of the online sales for the MCaffeine products. What this involves is managing the online platforms and onboarding new platforms. We originally started with the big players in the market – Amazon, Flipkart, Snapdeal and PayTM. I have to look into the different types of marketing that each platform offers, look into discounts and determine what to do depending upon the number of sales we’ve had. The smaller platforms only buy the inventory from us and take care of the marketing themselves. I have to keep an eye on whether they are marketing our product, what kind of sales we are doing there, what marketing activities they are running and so on. Practically speaking, my work is quite technical but it has a softer side to it. My association with the shade card campaign brings out the human side of my technical work.