Make it on
Managing your own business? Sound risky?
Here are a few young people who yearn to make a mark in the world
by being their own bosses.
talks to them
Independence, control and of course (drum roll)...
your very own cash. Probably three of the most important things
for a young person today. Undoubtedly the best part of your life,
why not achieve all you want to achieve, doing your own thing? You’re
your own boss, you set your own standards, and get to do it all
at your own pace...
A seemingly growing trend in all fields, quite
a number of young people seem to be enjoying working independently.
With independence coming at different levels, the girls and guys
I spoke to all sounded equally confident in their chosen avenues.
Whether pursuing a hidden talent or taking over the ‘professional’
reins from a parent, that distinct exuberance that comes only with
youth makes this challenging task possible.
Time for ‘Buggyjuels’
For Julia Sandrasagara (23) designing has been
a childhood passion, but she never thought of managing her own venture.
Joining the Academy of Seneka de Silva after her A/Levels, and completing
a one-year diploma in 2001, she got a thorough knowledge of the
practical and theoretical areas in designing.
Getting into merchandising after the diploma,
she left it pretty soon. “I suppose I just didn’t like
working under anyone,” she said. Then learning the finer points
in pattern-making as well, she, together with a friend, decided
|One of Julia’s sketches
produce clothes on their own. Designing, sewing
and putting the clothes out to shops, the procedure was hard, and
when her friend got married around 2002, Julia was pretty much on
her own. “This was when I made up my mind to launch my work
by myself,” she said. With two others on her staff to do the
sewing, she does all the designing and cutting.
Produced under the brand name ‘Buggyjuels’,
her specialty is mainly work clothes for women. “I used to
do the more elaborate, dressy, clubbing-like clothes as well, but
people don’t go partying everyday. They go to work everyday,
so there’s always a market for simple, yet formal stuff,”
she said. While she puts out her clothes to a few select shops,
she sells some of it at her home as well.
|designs born of such sketches
Boosting her profile, Julia got the opportunity
to design creations for two of the contestants for the Miss Sri
Lanka for Miss World 2005 pageant, in the National Costume event.
She also creates office-wear and cocktail designs for fashion shows
such as Tittle Tattle, every other month.
|designs born of such sketches
Finding a space for her own shop to put out her
creations is next on the cards for Julia. “The clothes business
is quite a profitable one in Sri Lanka, especially during the season.
But people are still not used to the whole designer-wear and brand
name culture, but this trend will eventually come in. Getting into
this field initially is what is hard for young people like us. But
with design schools coming up, the future seems quite positive.”
Clicking it right
|Dhanush de Costa
Photography is a beautiful art, and when it’s
in your genes, the creations are so much more perfect. Merging his
together with creativity, Dhanush de Costa’s
handiwork is more than impressive. “I’ve been interested
in photography since school days, and was always planning on getting
into it on a serious level,” said this 24-year-old. Though
his father is a photographer as well, their work is of two completely
His father is a professional wedding photographer,
but he does not find this aspect appealing. “What I do is
more or less indefinable. I enjoy photography when the subject is
unplanned, and capturing the picture is spontaneous,” he said,
adding that the versatility of this type of photography is more
pleasurable for him.
|Some of Danush’s photographs –
eye-catching and thought provoking
Working for Ruby Studio under Subha Tidball, his
focus at work is generally on commercial photography used in advertising,
with his subjects being products and models. “My work gets
promoted through the Studio, and I get a chance of reaching buyers.”
But Dhanush’s specialty is abstract photography.
“I enjoy taking pictures of wildlife and random people. I’m
just not into planned picture taking processes!” he says,
explaining the work he does on a personal level. With a confirmation
that his photographs will be on the studio website in the near future,
Dhanush currently sells his pictures, to friends and the many others
he undoubtedly impresses. He plans to eventually get into photography
on a serious, commercial level on his own.
Take a look at his creations, and you’ll
lose your breath. Whether it’s a little girl’s radiant
smile, an elephant feasting on lush vegetation or the sky at its
most brilliant moment, these pictures have the capability to tell
a story, and much more. Capturing the very essence of every nuance
of his subjects, this is one young photographer to look out for.
In a slow but steady industry
Totally a family affair, one particular bookshop in the heart of
Kollupitiya junction is now in the hands of a very capable young
individual. Literally taking over the reigns of managing the bookshop,
from her mother, Nilanga Jayasundere (23) slipped quite comfortably
into the role. “Once I finished school, I started helping
my mother out with the shop, since I felt a little guilty that she
was working so hard,” she says with a smile. “So what
started as part-time voluntary work, slowly became a fulltime job,
and now I have basically inherited the business from her!”
|Nilanga Jayasundere – the happy smile
of a perfectionist! Pic by Athula Devapriya
With her grandfather owning the premises, her grandmother
had initially run a salon at the shop. But eventually her mother,
having to take on the responsibility of the family at quite a young
age, started the bookstore, and has been involved with it for the
last 22 years. Nilanga is now Managing Director, while her mother
plays a more advisory role. The ever-familiar ‘Mali Book Centre’
is a favourite for any sort of stationary from office material to
personal items, greeting cards, and now even cosmetics and toys.
It has a number of regular customers, as well as individuals wanting
to try out the place and its products.
“We generally have a staff of about three,
but during seasons like Christmas, we need more, because it gets
really busy in here,” she said, adding that managing your
own enterprise is a tough job, regardless of the size of the venture.
“Just because you manage a store, you don’t get to sit
around and take it easy, while everyone else does the work. On the
contrary you have to be ready to do any task at any given moment,
because at the end of the day, making the customer happy is the
priority. Though I haven’t studied business as such, I fully
So what’s the best part of handling your
own business? “Apart from the fact that there’s ample
job satisfaction, I have discovered new skills that I possess. I’ve
realised that I’m methodical and am a perfectionist, when
it comes to the shop. Each and every counter needs to be arranged
by me, and I know every product we have in the shop, as well as
exactly where everything is!”
According to her, people are extremely interested
in educating children, and even with technology evolving to this
extent, there is still a market for the products they sell. “This
industry is a slow moving one, but it’s constant. The profit
doesn’t come in bulk, but the market will always be there.”
Doing what they love doing, all on their own,
these young people are simply impressive. So the next time you want
to get something done and your contact is a young, new name in the
profession, don’t underestimate them! They are probably as
good as it gets...
- Watch out for more young people doing their
own thing in next week’s Mirror!