Interview with Mallika Founder of The Leather Laundry
“There is just a simple concept that motivates me, and that is relentless hard work with complete involvement. When you do anything with complete involvement, it has to bear fruitful results, be it a unique idea or an already tried and tested concept! Anything planned and executed with singular focus can become a bustling success!- and that is motivation enough!”
She’s a young woman in her twenties and with her passion, perseverance and vision, she has managed to be a successful entrepreneur. Nothing could stop her from fulfilling her dreams. She always wanted to soar really high, she fell too in the process but her commitment to her work always held her strong. Let’s hear her story in her own words. Well, can there be anything more inspiring than this?
As a kid she was not sure what she would do as an adult.“I never really thought about it! But I had always seen my parents working hard and excelling at everything they took up! I thus involuntarily emulated their work ethics as a kid.” said Mallika.
She had dreams like any other girl. But unlike others she had the will to make them real. Her first business idea was to come up with an educational institution but as she was quite young back then it all eventually fizzled out.
“I continue to work as the President of the garment’s division of my father’s company, but I had a strong hankering to start something of my own from scratch, something I could call ‘my baby’, I wanted to learn the ropes of setting up and managing a business from scratch, that is how TLL happened!”
She has a unique ability to think out of the box. She had employed the strangest of marketing experiments which includes ‘old school outdoor hoardings’ and guess what, they worked!
When asked about whether she would sell her venture for $5mm, $100mm or waiting for the billion dollar exit? She instantly said –“Pride lies in consistency! I will keep this venture to myself for the longest of time to come.”
Mallika Sharma is the founder of the renowned leather laundry. The idea or the concept of this business floated to her over a casual cup of evening coffee at work with her father and sister.
Her business is not only innovative but also unique. The fact that they are probably India’s first one-stop-shop that caters to all the leather care needs, from cleaning and coloring to all kinds of repair work! They have redefined the old-fashioned concept of laundry and tailoring.
The goals of her company are stellar quality, excellent customer engagement and after sales services and utmost transactional honesty.
She doesn’t wish to raise outside money. She feels lucky enough to keep the set-up as is, i.e., completely bootstrapped!
When asked about her companies expansion plan she said- “We want to slowly expand to other metro cities of India, Mumbai in particular! We also want to foray into other verticals, meaning we want to expand the portfolio of our offerings! We would then like to build a franchise model, but there is still a long way to go for these plans to materialize!”
Working style and culture
Utmost transactional honesty, solid customer service and relentless hard work are 3 qualities that I continuously try to instil in my team!
When she was asked that what are the two things that she would like to change, she had this to say-
“2 things I would like to change would be, ‘resentment towards new systems’ and ‘unwillingness to learn and adapt’, because I have had to face these struggles when I joined my father’s set up 4 years back! I was wanting to change a lot of unpalatable practices and attitudes and met with a lot of resentment and criticism! I strongly feel that your workforce should be trained to adapt and learn new skills on an ongoing basis! 2 things I would like to bring with me would be ‘long term commitment’ towards your company and the old school ethics of hard work and regular attendance! I see this crazy hire & fire culture that has become very rampant these days! Young people do not want to stick to their jobs and have become increasingly restless. Changing jobs within 6-8 months on an average, especially within the startup ecosystem, has become the norm! This has to stop!”
She is not only the founder of the company but has also built it in a really inspiring way. Her company is like her family and the working style that they have incorporated is really unique
“I have created a system that the team has to follow! We work as a close-knit group, and have evolved systems to troubleshoot problems that have come along our journey together! We have also worked towards mending certain loopholes! We of-course still face a lot of teething troubles! But I always remind myself that it took a venture like McDonald’s, years of hit and trial to come up with a stellar system! For us, it is just the beginning of the long journey that lies ahead of us! I take everything in my stride and treat it like a sport, which I thoroughly enjoy playing.
She gave a beautiful piece of advice – “Perseverance and ‘never say die’ attitude has to be maintained! Also work on your start-up with complete involvement (saadhna).”