Home Inspirational Relentlessly Bullied, I Overcame Trauma to Construct ‘A Little Additional’

Relentlessly Bullied, I Overcame Trauma to Construct ‘A Little Additional’

Relentlessly Bullied, I Overcame Trauma to Construct ‘A Little Additional’


Throughout our latest Zoom name with 29-year-old Diksha Singhi — a Delhi-based entrepreneur and physique positivity influencer — her telephone wouldn’t cease ringing. Simply final week, she showcased her enterprise ‘A Little Additional’ on the third season of Shark Tank India, securing funding commitments value Rs 60 lakh (for a 7.5% stake) from Anupam Mittal, the CEO of Shaadi.com, and Vineeta Singh, founding father of Sugar Cosmetics.

From enduring fixed ridicule, bullying and fat-shaming all through her childhood to rising as a distinguished voice in physique positivity on Instagram, organising her personal unconventional equipment model and making a profitable look on Shark Tank India, Diksha Singhi has come a good distance.

Talking to The Higher India, Diksha talked about her journey of overcoming childhood trauma, sharing her story on public boards, and changing into a physique positivity influencer and entrepreneur.

Diksha Singhi of A Little Extra on Shark Tank India
Diksha Singhi making her pitch on Shark Tank India.

‘At all times been a fats little one’

Born and raised in Guwahati, Assam, Diksha remembers, “I’ve all the time been a fats little one. As a fats little one, you’re advised probably the most ridiculous issues by individuals round you. Rising up, I used to be in a boarding faculty and closely bullied for it. At school, I used to be not chosen for theatre or dance performances due to my look. Folks made assumptions that I couldn’t play sports activities as a result of I used to be fats. Folks began calling me a tomboy as a result of I might put on unfastened garments.”

“Carrying unfastened garments was not a acutely aware vogue determination. I might by no means discover garments in my measurement and needed to store within the males’s part. That’s why individuals began calling me a tomboy. However this type of bullying wasn’t simply restricted to high school. I used to be even referred to as out by my family members. In truth, there was a time after I used to like swimming. However at some point my swimming instructor advised me that I mustn’t put on a V-cut swimming costume as a result of I appeared ‘hideous’. And that feeling of humiliation stayed with me for thus lengthy that I began hating swimming,” she provides.

It took Diksha a few years to unlearn all of these issues that had been mentioned about her physique.

“I might see the magic it [unlearning] did to my well being and psychological well being as soon as I began letting go of the issues that individuals mentioned about me and the notions my fast society had about physique form and appearances. What I’ve learnt in life is that if there are issues that hassle you as a toddler and in case you do one thing about them once you’re older, it provides you an innate type of satisfaction. I by no means meant to grow to be a physique positivity influencer or creator,” she remembers.

And a variety of that unlearning started as soon as Diksha moved to Delhi for school in 2013 and began writing about her experiences in weblog posts after which on Instagram on quite a lot of topics.

“I used to be somebody who would write lengthy captions with every little thing I posted on Instagram. And that was simply my approach of telling my story. Regardless of having simply 500-odd followers on Instagram on the time, I might repeatedly pen down my ideas on something from vogue to journey. After ending school in 2016, I grew to become a contract social media advertising and marketing guide, writing and publishing content material for various magazines or on-line platforms,” she remembers.

Ultimately, there got here a part when she significantly started inspecting the issues that had occurred to her up to now and the way they impacted her selections. In a sequence of Instagram posts in March 2018, she posted footage of herself in swimwear for the primary time. This was Diksha reclaiming her physique and responding to those that traumatised her all these years.

“There have been these posts I wrote on social media about my story with my physique and it received a variety of traction. There have been a variety of ladies who wrote feedback on my publish sharing their very own tales and that’s how I began creating content material as a physique positivity influencer,” she remembers.

As we speak, Diksha has greater than 1,26,000 followers on Instagram.

“I by no means meant to grow to be a blogger or a content material creator. This isn’t a ‘job’ for me. Sure, cash is available in numerous varieties like model collaborations, however creating content material to make cash has by no means been the target. It has all the time been about sharing my story,” she says.

As a body-positive content material creator on this house, Diksha has created content material starting from suggestions of manufacturers that make attire in plus sizes to [verbal] comebacks towards family members saying issues about her bodily look. “I’ve shared such content material all throughout my private social media web page. By making such content material, I grew to become that elder sister or buddy [to my followers] that I by no means had after I was a toddler,” she provides.

From content material creator to entrepreneur

Rising up in a ‘enterprise household’, Diksha all the time had the need to start out one herself. However the determination to determine ‘A Little Additional’ in August 2020 wasn’t nearly following a household custom.

“There was a time after I was experimenting with vogue however there weren’t sufficient garments [that fit my size] obtainable out there. So, I began using totally different equipment to look extra modern. Even whereas travelling to totally different international locations, significantly in Asia, I couldn’t discover garments for individuals my measurement. My concept was to all the time store for jewelry,” she remembers.

“Whereas my pals went to the mall and shopped for garments, I additionally wished one thing to buy. So, I might go to the jewelry part as a result of the objects on sale there didn’t include the type of measurement limitations you see in attire put on. In truth, on one among my posts, I’ve had individuals writing feedback like ‘Went purchasing for garments however got here again with a scrunchie’. Over time, I grew to become a jewelry junkie and I made a decision to enterprise into the equipment house,” she remembers.

“Amid the [COVID-19] pandemic, I used to be again residence enthusiastic about what to do subsequent with my life. What I discovered was a spot within the inexpensive equipment section and measured all the professionals and cons related to operating such a enterprise. Ultimately, I established ‘A Little Additional’ in August 2020 with an preliminary funding of Rs 5,000, and right here we’re in the present day,” she provides.

A Little Extra on Shark Tank India
A Little Additional: Diksha Singhi has constructed a women-led enterprise.

Many of the jewelry made at ‘A Little Additional’ has a “distinctive component” to it, based on Diksha.

“Should you purchase standard jewelry, they’re both stone-based or they’ve a sure design or aesthetic. We wished to make jewelry particular for an event, emotion or way of life. For instance, if it’s Navratri, what higher than to put on our ‘Durga earrings’ which might be vibrant, vivid and have the chunkiest parts of shell, mirror, beads, and so on? If you wish to watch a soccer match in a stadium, cheering in your favorite crew, why simply put on these common earrings? Why not put on earrings formed and designed like a soccer?” she says.

A Little Extra by Diksha Singhi just won Rs 60 lakh on Shark Tank India
Durga Earrings made by ‘A Little Additional’.

“We need to create a sure emotional angle with the jewelry that you just’re shopping for. Given the type of event/emotion-specific earrings or the neck items we design, it additionally turns into simpler to offer the type of equipment we make to different individuals as presents. However we’re additionally conscious of a market which is in search of equipment with a minimal aesthetic, and because of this, we additionally make jewelry with minimal/easy designs however with an additional contact,” she provides.

For instance, they’ve this restricted assortment of very small gold-plated brass earrings designed within the form of a dragon. “This was impressed by a really energetic and provoking petite buddy who was both bullied for being small in stature or not taken significantly because of this. Regardless of individuals counting her out, her vitality has remained undiminished like a dragon. We additionally make use of totally different handmade artwork varieties like Kada, beadwork, Kundan, brass, terracotta, cane, and so on,” she says.

How do they make these equipment?

A Little Additional works with karigars (artisans) specialising in several handmade artwork varieties. For the reason that enterprise offers in numerous artwork varieties, Diksha argues that she will be able to’t have one thing in-house for manufacturing functions.

“The best way our karigars transfer their fingers is one thing you and I can’t do. They’re expert and work finest once they’re of their neighborhood. You may’t decide them out of a village in West Bengal, convey them to Delhi, and count on them to do high quality work. They might not be joyful. They need to stick with their households. So our concept was to have these karigars work in their very own communities,” she explains.

“We current them with no matter designs we’ve got provide you with right here. We ship the designs throughout to our supervisor stationed with these artisan communities who then sits with the karigars and develops these designs. Following this, they ship us objects for sampling, which we assess and see if there are any modifications we wish on them. They ultimately ship us additional samples which we approve and ship for manufacturing. We observe this course of for all our merchandise,” she provides.

Speaking about terracotta, Diksha’s crew works with karigars from Assam and West Bengal. In relation to beadwork, they work with karigars from Delhi-NCR states. In the event that they’re using Kundan (a conventional type of gemstone jewelry), they work with karigars from Rajasthan.

“My mantra in relation to working with karigars is to pay them what they ask for. All through my journey, I’ve seen individuals in my trade attempt to exploit them. My method has all the time been the extra they develop, the extra we develop. Efficiently promoting over 80,000 merchandise and growing a spread of equipment with over 500 designs, we’ve grown collectively. As we speak, ‘A Little Additional’ is a women-led enterprise, and I at present have eight full-time ladies staff with me,” she says.

The Shark Tank expertise

Diksha has nothing essential to say about her expertise of Shark Tank India.

As she remembers, “Though I did put together my pitch and labored on the attainable forms of questions the Sharks would ask me, there was nothing scripted about what questions had been requested, whether or not I might safe an funding, or if sure Sharks had been already keen to put money into my enterprise. The Shark Staff India [production] crew did help me in fine-tuning my pitch however in the long run, it’s your name whether or not to simply accept their suggestions or not.”

It was a one-hour-long pitch, she informs, which was then reduce all the way down to 17-20 minutes for viewers.

Though each the Sharks (Anupam and Vineeta) agreed to put money into her enterprise, there may be at present a extra detailed due diligence course of underway.

“If somebody is keen to take a position Rs 60 lakh into your enterprise, they must safe their funding and know that they’re investing in a respectable enterprise. On the entrepreneurial facet, I’ve to sit down with my crew to evaluate the share agreements and different paperwork despatched by the Sharks’ groups as effectively. All this due diligence work will take about six months or so,” she notes.

(Edited by Pranita Bhat; Photos courtesy Instagram/Diksha Singhi and Instagram/A Little Additional)



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