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Komal Panwar

Blogger & Singer

Jet Set Go’s Kanika Made Us Board The Flight Of Dreams With Her Tips For Luxury Startups

  • IWB Post
  •  May 30, 2017

 

Inspiration is an overused word that makes our tongue swirl in slow motion of the cliche stories. However, there are instances in our lives when we feel incredibly inspired. I had experienced that moment during my encounter with Kanika Tekriwal, the founder of Jet Set Go.

The Business Lunch with Kanika was shaky on its landing. Ironically, the Kanika missed her flight from Delhi & none of her private jets were available. But, still, Kanika took a last minute flight at 12 pm and reached Hotel Hilton by 2.

We were all waiting for Kanika to pour her story out, and tell us how she managed to build her luxury startup. All of the participants for the business lunch were ‘launching’ their startup rockets and needed the right person for the countdown.

And of course, Kanika, being the woman who owns the sky, with no fear to fall, supported by the aluminum wings, was there to spill the beans.

And, we? We were ready to pilot our own lives.

With all that on the mind, I sat right next to Kanika, keeping all my senses uptight. I needed to absorb everything she spoke about.

I wasn’t the only one. The participants at the table, Priyanka of Ek Taara, Mehul Gupta of Gem Worth & Rakam Jewellers, Radhika Rawat of Mangal Arts, Minal Jain of Misrii, Sharmila Galundia of Beacon Public School and Sanjay Galundia with a luxury hotel startup plan, had fixed all their attention on her, and that’s when Priyanka said, “You were so young when it all started. How did it all happen?7

I was in class 11th when I was told that I’d be married off soon. Belonging to a typical Marwari family, that’s what was expected of me. Initially, I was taken aback, and being a ‘good girl,’ gave in to everything my parents asked me to do.
In my heart, I didn’t want to get married just yet. I requested my parents to let me study further, and they made sure I took up a subject that couldn’t land me a job: Visual Designing! I started college in Mumbai, but I had just one problem: my pocket money was around Rs. 2,000. When I asked my parents to increase my allowance, they were sure that I’d use it for drugs and alcohol, and so they refused.”

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Wow, her parents are just like mine! Everyone chuckled.

“To increase the cash flow, I started freelancing, which later landed me a job with Indiabulls. A little while into my job, they had a design for a Helipad ready, which I didn’t like and blatantly refused.

And, so, being the big mouth that I am, I told them how I felt. The next day, the Chairman demanded to see me, and I had 90 missed calls from my office during my class.”

Some of us gasped, others just stared at her and continued to keep our ears wide open.

“Imagine, when I reached the office, I entered the conference room to find a lot of men staring directly at me. They said that they agreed with my suggestion for the Helipad & felt that since I knew a lot about aviation, they wanted me to head Indiabulls Aviation. And, I was like what?

WHAT? Just like that? My heartbeat was racing, I felt like I was watching a movie.

“Things started going well with Indiabulls, so much so, that one day I was approached for an award. Let me tell you, by this time, my parents had no idea what in God’s name I was doing in Mumbai.

One day my father received a call. I was on the television, receiving an award. He was stunned, and couldn’t think. He just wanted me back home.”

I couldn’t believe that it wasn’t the story of a film. Nope, Nopity, that cannot be true.

“That time, my graduation degree was only a couple months away. I persuaded him, reassured him that I’d be back home as soon as I got my degree.8

My parents wanted to marry me off, and after much convincing, when I didn’t listen, they agreed to let me take up MBA in a field that, again, wouldn’t be beneficial for me.

Things completely changed when I was diagnosed with cancer, but honestly, I knew I’d get through it.”

What? She had Cancer? Some mouths had fallen open. We couldn’t believe that she could share her story with so much ease. Would it have been this easy?

I spent 8 months in recovery, planning WHAT NEXT! I knew what I had to do, but my father wanted me to wait another year, and recover well. But, I knew I couldn’t wait.

One day, I woke up before everyone else did, packed my bags, and left for Delhi. That’s how Jet Set Go set its foundation.

While Kanika narrated her story, the soup waited untouched. We all stared at her open-mouthed. At that moment, I shifted my focus to her phone that sat next to her. The phone cover read: Have courage.14

There was complete silence in the room, and that’s when Kanika said, “Let’s eat the soup. It looks quite tempting.” And, tempting it was.901

And, that’s when we decided to launch our Colorbar rockets. Lady Boss Ana said, “We all have long-term goals. You might have dreams you wish to achieve by say 2025. Let’s put our Colorbar lipsticks on, and throw a flying kiss to our dreams, and tell them, see you tomorrow.24

That’s true. I’m a little impatient, and not going to wait until 2025.

As the soup had gone into everyone’s belly, the staff at Hotel Hilton served the salad.35

One by one, the participants munched on the salad, while talking about their dreams:43

Mehul: I want my brand to be known worldwide.

Priyanka: I want to see my store everywhere in India. I also really want people to start valuing traditional clothes and art.

Sanjay: A farmer introduced me to some Ayurvedic medicines; I want these medicines to go worldwide so that many people can benefit from them. Today, I live like a teenage boy thanks to the medication.

Sharmila: I want to have a chain of schools across the country, yes, but at the same time, I also want not more than 50, selective students, in each school.

Together, they said “see you tomorrow” to their dreams.68

Kanika further gave them interesting tips on always keeping customers surprised. “There’s a food joint where we always order our food from. They add a surprise element every time we place an order. Sometimes, we get cookies, and other times, maybe a couple of brownie pieces. And in luxury service, a surprise is a marketing exercise you should follow every single time. Your customers are sophisticated and over-exposed, and when they get something they had not been expecting, they store your brand name in an important corner of their minds.5

They know how to keep us hooked, and so should you. The surprise element always adds a flavor of personalization, and makes your customer feels special.

At that, we welcomed the main course, the Grilled Veg Focaccia sandwich with tomato chutney. At the backstage, Photographer Pallav tried hard to get a shot of Anvita and I digging into the potato wedges and sandwiches. Some people never change, do they?!39

Meanwhile, Sharmila asked Kanika what she should do to re-brand her school, to which Kanika responded, “You need to showcase how knowledgeable, caring and unique your brand is to the parents. You could also host workshops for parents, or invite guest speakers of high repute to the school to put it all on display. Avail the knowledge that they would never be able to access without your brand. Create some scarcity with a limited list of invitees.

By this time, I was stuffed with inspiration, potato wedges, and focaccia sandwiches, but still saved myself the dessert spot in my stomach.53

And so, the star of the show, the mousse came in. Can we have a round of applause for the showstopper and the Hilton’s chef?

I continued to rub my belly forgetting that the world was staring at me.

Before we left, Dr. Sudhir Sharma, had to complete the ritual. He handed over a goodie bag to Kanika from Colorbar! I wouldn’t lie, I even got a peek of what was inside. *wink*

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The session concluded with a cherry on the top with Kanika offering us to fly with her.

One ticket to Hogwarts, please!

 Photo Courtesy: Pallav Bhargava

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