A Mother-Daughter Business Story
With an intention to live a life of giving, Jaya, and her mother, Twinkle, decided to create what has now become a spark of changing people’s lives.
What does it take to find an opportunity? More so, what does it take to build that opportunity? As the owners of Twinkles, this mother-daughter duo proved that the beauty of any business lies at the core of its purpose of enhancing change.
As an ode to mother’s day, we talked to Jaya Rajbhandari, and Twinkle Rajbhadari to find out the essence of their at-home three-generation mother-daughter business “Twinkles”.
Can you tell me a little about yourself and about Twinkles?
Jaya: I started Twinkles along with my mother, and my grandmother. Twinkles serves quality silk products, from masks, scrunchies, pillowcases to a wide range of clothing items and many more. Along with that, we also run Twinkle Treats where we sell homemade food and snack items along with sharing recipes for different dishes.
When did you start Twinkles? What inspired you to start it?
Jaya: We started twinkles when I was 17, at the beginning of the COVID19 pandemic lockdown. Back then, we had a helper sister who used to come to help us with the house works. As the pandemic struck followed by the lockdown, it was hard for us to keep calling her to work so instead we helped her out financially in times. But slowly, it wasn't practical for us to keep doing that, we wanted to indulge her in some kind of work that she can do that would benefit her in the long run.
I grew up only having my mom and my older sister. My parents got separated when I was only two years old. All my life, my mom used to work long hours and multiple jobs in the airport. As kids, I remember us wishing so bad to have some time with our mom for once. She was the only one we had left and having to support the family and raise two kids, she devoted herself to earning for us. And on the verge of that, we were taken away from embracing our mother’s love for a long time. Being inspired by our own story, encouraged us to change others’ stories.
I didn't have a lot of money to give out for charity or to put in line for big investments. But what I did have was this strong urge within me to help people. To create a space where they will be benefited for the long term with what I have in my hands and what I can do for them.
Twinkle: We didn't just want to go into a boutique knowing that they had the skills and the resources to sew and work professionally with our designs. Unemployment was still on the rise at that time due to the crisis. There were so many instances when we would come across people who have been unemployed or searching for work to feed their families during the pandemic.
We, instead, wanted to make a place for the people struggling to find jobs, teaching them the skills to undergo with the work and help sustain their families, despite the scenario of the pandemic.
What was the experience of starting a business at home, from scratch, like?
Twinkle: At first, we had our helper sister who already had the basic skills of sewing. We found a couple of people in our own locality as well who were struggling. We bought sewing machines for them to learn how to sew and work accordingly. There were people who had never even cut a piece of clothing in their life. We told them how they can learn here and assured them that it would be okay to make some mistakes as they do. People who once lived on the streets are now able to rent a home for themselves and their families.
Can you tell me more about how Twinkles is a three generations mother-daughter business?
Jaya: My grandmother loves to knit and she also knits different products and makes all the packaging paper bags out of recycled papers for all the products, making this company environmentally conscious in any way possible.
And my mom, I feel really lucky to have someone like her who believed in me all my life. Her being the only parent I had to look up to, it's almost like a family dysfunction I embraced. Ever since I had the idea to start supporting people in need of employment, she has been in on it since day one. She blindly trusted me, supported me in any way possible, and invested in this brand, giving it her all.
Twinkle: The way I see it, I had to support my daughter because I always knew she had this potentiality in her. She was the one to come up to me to with her ideas that already were invested in her head and the enthusiasm to make this happen. Although at first I worried about it coming between her and her studies. But I told myself how this is the age for her to grow at her best pace, and if there is anything I can do to enhance that growth, I am going to do it.
Now, at this young age, she managed to change so many lives, and I am so proud of her.
What challenges did you face to keep sustaining your business with the pandemic on the rise and lockdown always being a possibility?
Jaya: Starting a company in a pandemic, it's like there are walls stopping you before you even get to open the door. We needed more raw materials that were already scarce to find. We frequently had to go out to hunt for materials and collect enough resources to manufacture the products along with employing more people in need of jobs. With no situation to even step out of the house, it was a challenging time for us. But we managed to figure things out somehow.
What advice would you give to anyone out there wanting to or just starting out with their own at-home business?
Twinkle: Utilize your time! If you want to start a business, and if you think you've got it in you to do so, just do it, and do it now. Instead of keeping your dreams on hold for a long time, you just have to be spontaneous and make things happen now because that is all we really have.
Jaya: Before, when someone asked me what my aim was, I'd be blank. Last year, we didn't even have an intention to start this company and make it grow. We simply just wanted to help. I'd never thought of it before but I realized that this is what I wanted to do, to help. This feeling of happiness and satisfaction I get keeps me moving to do more every day.