Marketing and Communication are powerful tools that can positively influence society by promoting businesses that develop plant-based, biodegradable and planet-friendly products !

Trisha Ganatra, our next pathbreaker, Marketing Manager for the brand California Design Den (NMK Textile Mills), collaborates with PR and marketing teams to increase brand awareness through interactive, consistent and cohesive messaging across online channels.

Trisha talks to Shyam Krishnamurthy from The Interview Portal about her inclination towards the highly competitive e-commerce / online space where marketing truly helps in delivering the numbers based on digital strategy.

For students, learn to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. The quickest way to learn new things is to fail fast.

Trisha, what can you tell us about your background ?

I was born and brought up in Mumbai. I lived in a nuclear family and mostly spent time devouring books. 

I also enjoyed participating in a lot of public speaking competitions in school like Debates and Elocutions. 

I was a fairly sincere student and was pretty decent in whatever I put my mind to. This was also one of the reasons my family thought I could become a doctor. 

I think there was always an overlap between my love for books and my love for speaking in front of people. I always enjoyed how captivating & influential stories are and how they can hold an audience and readers’ minds and hearts. 

I also tried writing once in a while for the same reason though I always preferred reading more. 

What did you do for graduation/post graduation? 

I did my BSc in Biotechnology and MBA in Marketing.

During my 11th and 12th, I realized that medicine or becoming a doctor was probably going to be tough. And I didn’t have the inclination or drive or enough dedication that was needed to become a doctor. 

And because I wasn’t sure what to do, I thought I could probably do a BSc in Biotechnology while I figure out if I was interested in research or in becoming a scientist. I very soon that I realized I wasn’t, and MBA seemed like the next best choice because that would have been the only way through which I could switch my career and explore more. 

As much as I respect scientists, I felt I didn’t have the steady patience needed for the research field. 

So after I took my MBA entrances, MBA in Marketing felt practical and closer to home and opened up a lot of options. 

What were some of the influences that led you to such an offbeat, unconventional and cool career?

The turning point in my life came in my 12th Standard. Up until 10th, I thought I was so sure about what I wanted to do, but the reality check that happened later was eye-opening. It was a stressful period of figuring out what I truly wanted. At the back of my mind, I always thought of an MBA because one of my uncles had recommended it to me. 

After my 12th, it was a period of deep introspection and exploration when I very intentionally tried doing different things just to understand what I truly liked. 

I also did a diploma in Forensic Science & Criminology from St. Xavier’s (Mumbai) though again, the field of Science was not something I was very keen to take up for the rest of my life.

So I simultaneously started preparing for MBA entrances by my third year & decided to make a complete switch. 

How did you plan the steps to get into the career you wanted? Or how did you make a transition to a new career? Tell us about your career path 

As I prepared for my MBA entrance exams, I also started participating in some college events, looking for an internship & interacting with more people in general. The research field is relatively more isolated. 

I realized that I enjoyed collaborating, meeting new and interesting people & having good experiences that were related to my growth & helped me learn more about myself. 

Around this time, I got an internship at (Every Flavor Geeks) as a Brand Marketing Executive where I, along with a bunch of other people my age worked out of a basement and sold accessories & merchandise inspired by Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, FRIENDS, etc. on an e-commerce store and 

This was fun because I was a big fan myself and I had a great time doing brand partnerships, writing for my favorite merchandise, managing the inventory, etc. 

Here I mainly helped optimize the Amazon & website listings for organic growth, took a stock of the inventory and reached out to influencers for promotions and giveaways. 

At this time, social media marketing or the e-commerce space was still very fresh. It wasn’t as heavily done as it is now.

Soon after this, One Club for Creativity came to India for the first time, and set up a 4 day workshop.

I came to know about this because I had signed up for a newsletter of the design college that was hosting this event. 

One Club for Creativity is a global community that creates a collaborative space for writers, art directors, designers, technologists, and artists to grow. They forge bonds between recognized creative masters and emerging creative voices. They had done end-to-end planning & executions for the biggest brands of the world. 

In this workshop, we were put into groups and were supposed to come up with a marketing campaign idea to promote an upcoming show in India. This was the first time I got so close to building a real campaign for a real brand with real professionals who had been in the industry for decades.

Our team was the first runners-up and as a gift we got a chance to attend marketing conference by Kyoorious where Chief Marketing Officers of some top FMCGs like Burger King, writers of impactful marketing books and more attended the event 

This was a turning point in my life where I finally felt what it was to truly know what you like doing. 

Story-telling was coming back to me, but in a different way. Marketing was the way through which I could tell a brand’s story & connect with people. 

Soon after this, I got my admission for a Masters of Management Studies Program at K.J. Somaiya Institute of Management Studies & Research. 

I chose Marketing as my major in the second year. Around this time, I along with a group of 3 friends also got an opportunity from Google for a remote internship where we managed the ad spends of Britannia Mine Museum in Canada. Their objective was mainly to create awareness. Through this we got a flavor of what it means to manage money for an organization and how we can scale up to drive revenues.

Finally in my second year, I got a college placement at a digital marketing agency. But as soon as my college ended and the work was about to begin, the pandemic hit & this affected my job too. 

I got an opportunity with my current company via my mentors and friends who helped me make my CV better and referred me here. 

I managed to clear the interviews and am now working here as a Marketing Manager for almost two years. It was tough after the pandemic, but I feel grateful for this opportunity that I got instead, because it truly helped me immerse myself into the brand and bring it to life.

How did you get your first break? 

My first job was technically supposed to be the one I got from the college placement at a digital marketing agency where I would have mainly managed the ad spends of multiple brands. 

But due to the pandemic, there were uncertainties with this company, and my friends & mentors from college and the e-commerce space referred me for interviews. I also applied via various job portals. 

Eventually I managed to clear the interview here at NMK Textile Mills’ brand California Design Den and have been working with them since, managing end-to-end marketing. It is a complete 360-degree role and an experience that turned out to be better than what I imagined. 

We are growing at an amazing pace, and there are so many things to do that makes every day interesting & fulfilling. 

What were some of the challenges you faced? How did you address them? 

During my MBA, the main challenge was that I was a fresher and had no work experience before I joined. Ideally, to get the most out of a program like this, a minimum of one year of work experience truly helps. 

Other challenges which most colleges face were the biases and almost political conflicts with the placement committee. 

Luckily, our MBA was almost completed when the pandemic hit though it definitely was a stressful period filled with uncertainties. 

It felt like I had to begin from scratch. Fortunately, that was not the case. I managed to make the most of the time by always trying to upskill myself while prepping for interviews. I did a lot of courses from Coursera. I also helped a friend scale his business on Amazon. I was trying to get as much practical experience as I could. 

One another big learning was that just because it is a big brand does not mean the role you get will be good for you and your growth. 

Also, even after an MBA there is no guarantee that one gets a core Marketing profile. Most of the roles are in Sales or Business Development because these roles directly get the revenues. 

I was always interested in branding, e-commerce and marketing and had previous stints at & my friend’s online business to prove to myself that I not only enjoyed it but am also good at it because I directly impacted the online sales. 

It is only in an e-commerce / online space where marketing truly helps in delivering the numbers (or revenues). Everywhere else, the roles are very sales heavy. So this was another challenge and as a fresher, it was a bigger one. To find a role in marketing in the digital space without work experience is a big challenge.

As my first job, I wanted to make sure I sharpen my skills while getting a chance to do more and give life to ideas. 

Finally, I cracked the interview here at NMK Textile Mills’ brand California Design Den and there has been no looking back. 

Where do you work now? Tell us about your role in Marketing

I work at NMK Textile Mills for the brand California Design Den. We are an e-commerce business and sell bed linens on Amazon in North America primarily. We are also working on developing our own website. 

As a Marketing Manager, I have to work with a PR team to make sure we continue to increase our brand awareness. I work with a digital marketing team and manage the ad spends with them. I work with the designers to develop brand collaterals like videos, creatives, social media posts, newsletters, and more. I am also a part of photoshoots that happen or the new packaging design. My role is to make sure we are consistent and cohesive across channels. Another part is doing brand partnerships with influencers to connect with our audiences on various social media platforms, or planning promotions around events and holidays or new product launches. 

No one day is the same, as each day I work with different teams and drive the execution. 

The best part about my job is the exposure I get as I work with teams across the world. Also, as creative as the role is, it is also technical because I understand the impact in terms of numbers in terms of how an ad campaign performs, how one influencer drives better traffic as compared to another, how to plan the inventory, highlight production related issues, check the return rates, and more. 

How does your work benefit society? 

All our products are 100% plant-based, biodegradable and planet-friendly. Most of our top competitors produce bed linens made of synthetic materials commonly called Microfiber which is essentially, to put it simply, plastic. 

These cause ocean pollution & harm to marine life. 

I am proud to be a part of an organization that makes most of our top-selling products in the “Made In Green” facility using ethical practices. Even our packaging is made from recycled materials. 

So every time someone buys our products, not only do they get naturally soft, breathable and durable products but they are actually helping the world become a better place. And I am grateful to have an opportunity to play a role in this. 

Your advice to students ?

Learn to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. The quickest way to learn new things is to fail fast. This is the best time to explore, try new activities and not feel bogged down by the pressure to become an engineer or a doctor. It is okay to not know what you want to do. It is better if you also know what you do NOT want to do. That also helps. I am sure thanks to the internet, with the world so close, you can access people on the other side of the globe. Always be curious and ask questions. Learn. Unlearn and Relearn. Wish You The Best!