Nilanka Corera is the owner of Oyila – Girl’s clothing store. Being an Engineering graduate with job offers from 2 MNC’s, she chose to be an Entrepreneur to develop her mom Jayanthi‘s offline business to an online store. Nilanka shares about their business story with WOI.
It’s ok to fail today, but wake up the next day and make sure you try again.
I’m Nilanka. Born and brought up in Tuticorin. I did my schooling in a convent. I pretty much come from an orthodox family. I was an above average student at school and had a special taste for art and its forms. More of a playful, emotional and unorganized, easy going person. And like most of them pursued Engineering, I also got two job offers from two MNCs by the end of my final year. While I was waiting for their call, destiny had other plans for me. That was when Oyila happened. ‘Oyila’ – Oyila means stylish in tamil.
I was able to laze around and relax for two months after my studies, exactly after which I got bored of the monotonous life and wanted to do something to keep me occupied. At this point I’ll have to introduce my mom. My mom started her entrepreneurial journey 25 years back. She started it all by herself with minimal /NIL backing. Eventually she became the go to person to design outfits for all occasions concerning the pretty angels on earth in the southern part of TamilNadu. She designs and tailors baby wear, baptism dresses, party wear, bridal wear and such. I took it online giving it the name Oyila. Initially, I started off with ready to buy kids wear and was also open to take up custom orders . I did the same and the response was pretty good. I follow a lot of book subscription box sellers on Instagram and I am always in awe seeing all those bookish merchandise and the other stuff that go into their subscription boxes. Their boxes are just irresistible. I’m not a book person at all but I just follow all those instagram handles just to admire their work. It so happened that one day when I was conversing with my sister and shared about these book subscription boxes. I asked her if we could try a clothing subscription box and she felt it was a good idea. And then, we launched the same in a month’s time and received amazing response. We carry out customisation requests also side by side.
To be very frank, I had very little knowledge about business and the other associated stuff. when I started Oyila,I thought it would be a cake walk but I was wrong. It all happened in a trial and error fashion. I got to know about various marketing strategies that could be used, experimented with them, fell into some traps as well. So, there were a lot of difficulties initially.
As days went by, I was able to sort it all ! Experience was my best teacher! I learnt it all by myself. But, today I’m pretty much clear about how it all works and also the do’s and don’ts .Having said that I also know that there is always a lot and more to learn.
I got an order worth 2500INR on the day I launched my brand and was over-excited about it.
I am not able to narrow with one unforgettable moment. Last year, on Christmas Eve I had gone to deliver a surprise gift and the person was so happy and elated. I was all excited, high and we shared the joy. I love seeing the little kids smile and enjoy as they unbox our trunk petti – our subscription box!
I’ve learnt a lot in my entrepreneurial journey. Both in my personal and professional space .I think you should just turn a deaf ear to people who judge you for your decisions. At the end of the day it’s your life and you have got all rights to make changes. I got to meet a lot of new people both offline and online. There is always so much to learn from others in terms of character or personality or other traits.
There were clients with whom I became good friends with and also people who made me think where the whole world is leading to! I had so many experiences that helped me mould myself as a good human being. I got to know that there is plenty to learn in this whole wide world and one can never ever get enough.
Being an Entrepreneur, It feels so great because this is not a monotonous job. Everyday has something new for me in store (good or bad).But I am glad that there is nothing that I struggle with.
On days when I feel low and think if I’ve taken the wrong path ( Blame my hormones and the nasty human mind) a small chat or rant session with my mom changes it all. She is literally my everything and my biggest support system. She just takes things so lightly and passes on the vibes to me as well. She has a very different perspective to every problem and has always been there supporting me in just everything.
At oyila, we have a small unit to assist and help us. There are days I start conversing with them and don’t stop. I disturb them literally, because it is always so nice to hear more about their families, their mindset and most importantly their perspective towards life. There are days, when they don’t turn up on time and mess up with an order. And, that is when I lose my cool. It’s more like a love hate relationship. But, They are the backbone of our business and are of great help to us. They are the hands of Oyila.
Giving up is not an option .There is no particular number of times that u can try again. You can try ‘n’ number of times. No one is going to question you why! Just you got to find out what you love and work on it. The most important thing is giving it all you have. Belief in your dreams and your abilities is what’s more important and the will to try and succeed. Do what you love and with time you will find ways to turn it into a living.
Thank u so much WOI for this feature. This is my first and will always remain Close to my heart. – says Nilanka.
Over to Jayanthi –
Self care is more important for a woman, than the business itself. Because, at the end of the day your family needs you and you should be able to balance your life. And, that has helped me so far.
I feel proud enough about my Journey. It has been a long way and it wasn’t a cakewalk. I faced a lot of criticisms, humiliation and hardships. But, I believe Patience and perseverance are the two keys to success!
“She is 55 and she is dealing with some minor health issues but she isn’t willing to quit nor rest!” – But, That’s something I admire about her, adds Nilanka.
Thank you Jayanthi & Nilanka. You and your mom are super Inspiring ‘Mom-Daughter’ combo of entrepreneurs being featured on WOI! We are glad to feature your business story on WOI. We wish you all the best for your future endeavours. Keep Inspiring 🙂
If you are a woman entrepreneur and like to be featured on WOI, reach us here
Thanks for visiting us. Keep supporting!