(MENAFN- Trend News Agency)
Gen Z has often been called the 'irresponsible' generation, one
that will choose fun over fortitude. But the pandemic has birthed a
whole new army of Indian Gen Z entrepreneurs and small business
owners on social media – selling everything from handmade letters
to cakes to thrift clothes, Trend reports citing The Print .
And they run their businesses doing what they do best – sharing,
chilling and creating Reels.
“Gen Z is looking at a new portfolio of careers. They do not
want jobs, they want autonomy and purpose in their career.
Therefore, instead of finding power in pre-existing social
structures, they are creating new ones online,” said Utkarsh
Amitabh, CEO of Capital Ventures and author of Passion Economy and
the Side Hustle Revolution. He explains how Gen Z, now aged between
18 and 25 years old, has been able to monetise doing what they love
rather than chasing paychecks.
It's about creating communities and then monetising them.“The
magic of their business lies in the interaction of commerce,
culture, and community.”
It's not as if this young generation of urban entrepreneurs is
giving veteran startups and business moguls a run for their money.
Not yet anyway. For the most part, these 'businesses' are a hobby
or a way to make extra income on the side while they get on with
Crochet and customer base
Eighteen-year-old Nishma Soni from Ahmedabad, for instance,
monetises her love for painting on Instagram, and offers customised
designs on everything from plates and mugs to T-shirts under the
brand name, Urrban Flowers. Expanding the business or making profit
is not her end game as she wants to focus on her acting career and
theatre. But Urrban Flowers offers her the space to paint and
showcase her talent. Most of the products on sale are priced
between Rs 250 and Rs 1000 depending on the medium, size, and
customisation required.“Through my sales, I get back just a little
over what I spend, but it just makes me happy to create things for
people,” she said.
Many of these small ventures took shape during the pandemic and
lockdown years of 2020-21 when college and school students found
themselves with plenty of free time and nowhere to go. They were
living their lives on social media, and tapping into that extensive
and active network was the next logical step. Instagram, Etsy and
even Facebook have levelled the playing field. Personal connections
on social media are transformed into a consumer base.
It's how Ayaan Shariq, 19, from Dehradun started his small
business Lilacs in the Closet in May 2021. During the pandemic,
Ayaan and his mother took to crocheting as a way to spend time
productively. Gradually they became confident in their artwork and
they decided to sell some of the crochet work on Instagram. The
most expensive product currently on sale for Rs 850 is a cute green
'froggie bucket' hat complete with crocheted black and white googly
eyes. Daisy keychains, sunflower earrings, bookmarks and crocheted
lavender stems are some of the products that Ayaan and his mother
make and sell online.
His online business took a hit when he returned to college,
Ashoka University in Haryana's Sonepat.
“But I put a stall during the Spring Haat, a one-day haat in the
university itself, a marketplace for people to show their products
to see the response from my target customer base, women between
18-24 years. Everything I put on the table—from bookmarks to
keychains—was sold long before the day ended,” he said.
In today's age of mass production and consumption, buyers are on
the hunt for something unique that cannot be bought off the racks
of fast fashion outlets. Soni's customised art and Shariq's
crocheted jewellery tick all the right boxes.
A market for hand-written letters
Not every venture remains a side hobby. Some like Ahmedabad's
Soumyaa, 19, realised the potential of her business. She started
Dessertelier to promote baking and eggless desserts via online
platforms.“It's already a small business, which we're now working
towards expanding to a cloud kitchen setup. We're also aiming for
physical outlets,” she says. She has been baking since childhood
and professionally forayed into the field over a year ago.
Shariq, however, finds business on social media to be more
efficient than brick-and-mortar stores. On Instagram, algorithms
help your content reach those already interested in it.“You don't
need to have an inventory that is at the risk of being wasted,
deadstock is reduced, and the social media algorithm helps you with
your market research as well,” he said.
Gen Z ventures are less traditional and instead focus on
experiences and feelings. Using social media to express their
thoughts, build stories and reels around their products helps them
make a more personal connection with both their brand, as well as
Shraddha, 21, used her experience of getting out of a toxic
relationship to market the power of affirmation and the written
word. She realised there must be so many people like her around the
world, seeking some sort of affirmation but not getting it from
their loved ones. That was the genesis of Letters By Shraddha,
which came into being in July 2020, right after the first
She offers customers a chance to put their thoughts into words.
She provides the handmade paper and theme.“I have always wanted to
receive a handmade letter”, she says,“I still have not received
one but instead sent almost 2,100 letters.”
The letters are priced between Rs 500 and Rs 700, based on the
length of the content, the paper selected (plain, burnt edges,
coffee or golden edged) and the packaging – rose petal seal or
normal wax seal with an envelope. She has started marketing DIY
kits, which include paper, seals and other tools that a buyer can
use to pen a letter.
Letters By Shraddha has over 16,oooo followers who are hooked to
the 'stories' that she creates on her handle.
Money, money, reels
A product, no matter how innovative it is, can take a brand only
so far. So, Gen Z entrepreneurs have mastered the art of content
creation. From aesthetics photoshoots to Instagram and Facebook
reels, they keep thinking of ways to use graphics and media formats
to create new stories for their products.
Shraddha's handmade letter business saw a sudden boom when three
of her reels went viral in November 2020. She hit her first profit
mark, earning Rs 1 lakh in February 2021, after Valentine's Day. So
far, she's been able to sustain sales; her gross profit was Rs
40,000-80,000 per month, she said.
Kamiya Arya, 19, a student at Jay Hind College Mumbai studying
financial markets, finds this fascinating. She explains how the
aestheticisation of social media has become a way for small
businesses to operate – Gen Z or not.“They spend a lot of time
developing perfect content based on the aesthetics of their
product. The consistency of their posts and the nature of their
graphics then start to reflect on how audiences perceive them as,
and this gets them orders from people yonder and beyond,” says
Juwairya Siddiqui, an Economics and Psychology student at Ashoka
University who follows various small businesses, talks about how
her friends and acquaintances realised that their hobbies and art
can fetch them appreciation and money.
“People always think that if you are interested in something,
you can get it for free,” she says.
Gen Z businesses are upending this belief. Your graphic designer
friend will not always edit your reel for free, and your BFF who
makes the most amazing brownies does not have to give you an
endless supply of baked goods. But you can order it on