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What I learned from failure: Lessons from a co-founder

August 06, 2018 07:56 IST

'I failed 30 per cent of the time, and pretty much every day.
'The point is you learn something every time, and fail in new ways, but never the same way twice.
'That's most important -- to learn from failure, and just show up the next day, and the next, till you've got it right.'

Radhika Ghai, co-founder, ShopClues shares her story:

Radhika Ghai, co-founder, ShopClues

Photograph: Kind courtesy Yourstory

Radhika Ghai is co-founder and CBO of ShopClues, an online marketplace that started out of a basement and went on to become a household name.

Forty-three-year-old Radhika has firsthand experience of what it takes to start, build, and nourish a company that is looking to launch its IPO in 2019.

Wearing multiple hats

Radhika has two decades of experience across industry segments such as retail, e-commerce, fashion and lifestyle, advertising and public relations.

She started her career with Goldman Sachs in wealth management and then moved to the strategy planning department at Nordstorm.

Her first entrepreneurial journey was with FashionClues, a social portal for NRI women she launched before ShopClues.

Most difficult exam

Being an entrepreneur is a journey of challenges and there can never be a rule book to tackle them all. It's like that saying that goes, "Life is the most difficult exam, which many fail because they try to copy others, not realising that everyone has a different question paper."

Radhika shares an incident that took place on Valentine's Day when the portal received orders for over 250 bouquets of flowers.

"It was a huge number at that time," she recollects, adding, "The flower vendor was absconding. He said he could make more money selling fresh flowers on the street than supplying to us."

To fix this, the team went out and shipped soft toys and chocolates with handwritten notes, along with an apology.

Radhika explains, "The incident was a learning that mistakes happen, and how the company responds determines its character. There have been several mistakes and we are wiser because of them."

Show up the next day

In spite of the highs and lows, of which there have been plenty, Radhika has been consistent with getting to work every day to "do what you are supposed to".

She says, "Entrepreneurship comes with the knowledge that you are going to fail often. Everything is about trial and error, and mistakes and failures are aplenty. I would say I failed 30 percent of the time, and pretty much every day. The point is you learn something every time, and fail in new ways, but never the same way twice. That's most important -- to learn from failure, and just show up the next day, and the next, till you've got it right."

Tanvi Dubey