28 year old Saumya Gupta had dreamt of flying ever since she was a toddler. She attended her nursery interview with an aeroplane in her hand! After her 12th grade, she went to the U.S of A to do her pilot’s training course and returned to India with aspirations of flying with a commercial airline. This was in 2008 when due to recession, many jobs were lost and recruitment in the airline industry was rather slow. The aviation sector was undergoing a slowdown and getting a job there was a challenge. Saumya shares “I was without a job for almost 15 months. It was a major setback for me mentally as the outside world didn’t understand that aviation was undergoing a slowdown and most people believed there was a problem with me as a person or perhaps I was incompetent. My parents were worried as a lot had been invested in my pilot training course & I was still sitting at home”. After staying at home for a year, leading the teenager party life, her parents told Saumya that she had to support herself.
Saumya says “Where ever I applied, I was rejected as I was not even a graduate since I had done my pilot’s training course after 12th grade. I took up a job at Talwalkars Gym as a receptionist for Rs.5000/- but couldn’t do it for more than 7 days. I let that go & decided to join a call center where the salary was Rs.20000. I had no other option and was happy that finally I got a decent job”. The call center job wasn’t easy & was nowhere close to what Saumya had dreamt of or aspired for. Working at odd hours in the night and sleeping during the day, against the normal body clock, started taking a toll on her. Saumya says “I was really fed up. I asked my parents if I could get a few garments & sell from home. They immediately agreed & supported my idea. I then bought 30 garments from a garments exporter and set up a small exhibition in my tiny bedroom at home. The clothes were displayed on the bed.
We were sold out before the announced date of the exhibition. Many people used to like my personal choice of clothes and style & were looking forward to the clothes I would be selling. They came on early and the stocks were sold out”! Saumya was ready again to get the batch of the next lot of 45 clothes. In the meanwhile, she continued taking calls at night & sold clothes during the day. She needed the capital flowing and hence continued with her job. The next exhibition too was successful and her clothes were sold out completely yet again! Customers started requesting her for customisation. She then started stocking few garments in small boutiques across many cities and started selling under the label “Ten on Ten”. Her label became very popular on Facebook and her business idea gathered momentum. When she found some stability in her business and revenues started flowing in, Saumya quit the call center job after a year and registered her company in 2011.