A Rendezvous with Shivani Rajput and Vedanti Ghadi By Smriti Raizada
Of ideas that are born in the wake of a moment, this one was rather special. Two young girls dreaming of creating a life that would bring with it something new everyday and eventually lead them to making their mark on the world. The reason why this is not just another regular story is because from the moment they realized how aligned their thoughts were, they did the one thing that not everybody has the strength to do - work for it. Fast forward one year, Markenzo Worldwide stands as a well-known Digital Marketing agency in Mumbai. With over 25 clients ranging from startups to MNCs and 35 successful campaigns that led to a reach of more than 15 million digitally, Markenzo Worldwide seems to be here for the long haul.
Engaging in a candid conversation with the two badass co-founders of Markenzo Worldwide - Shivani Rajput and Vedanti Ghadi - we unravel how an idea that started as a conversation between two like- minded Leos, turned into full blown reality.
MW: Let’s go back to where it all began. How did you guys meet? When was the idea of Markenzo Worldwide born?
VG: We met through a mutual friend who always thought we'd get along well. And credit should be given where credit is due because we most definitely did! We clicked immediately over conversations that ranged from dreams and ambitions to "life mein kuch bada karna hai yaar". It was amazing how aligned our thoughts and goals were and we soon realized that we wanted to do something together.
After a year or so, Shivani had completed her diploma in Digital Marketing from MICA and I already had my degree in Mass Media with an Advertising major. Since we were already working in the creative field, we had a couple of freelance opportunities coming our way that we took up.
After working together and realizing how smoothly things worked between Shivani and I, both of us took the decision of leaving our stable (aka less risky) jobs. Even though it was a tough decision, we didn’t second guess it - we were sure that we wanted to build something of our own. I think it’s fair to say that it was a pretty good decision after all. [smiles]
MW: Does being two young women entrepreneurs in the industry have its set of challenges?
SR: The answer to that is big fat YES! Most of the potential clients that we’ve been dealing with since 2019 have a preconceived notion that we are too young to take on big brands and responsibilities.
Young startups are always underestimated by people until they make it big. And when you're a young startup run by two young women in their early 20s, it makes it way more difficult for people to trust you and your capabilities due to "lack of experience".
VG: Also, a lot of times, assuming that we lacked business acumen is how humans of the opposite sex (mostly from middle management) tried to take advantage of us by "guiding us" to the right people and opportunities. Knowing that this is a common notion in almost all kinds of businesses, a key driving force behind Markenzo was to change these perceptions. To let our work speak for itself.
MW: It’s not a secret that agencies are infamous for their work culture. Did you have a set of values that you knew you wanted to inculcate while starting your own agency?
SR: Vedanti and I had one simple thought before starting Markenzo. We're all partners. Our clients. Our team. This is a collaborative space where you can be who you are. A space where you are free to express how and what you feel. A space where you're comfortable spending the majority of your hours in a day.
As founders, we may be "the bosses" (honestly, we prefer to never use that term) but we've never had a sense of superiority or pride. We genuinely believe that nothing is possible if the team doesn’t work together to the best of their capacity. Each team member is an important part of what we’re building here and we recognize that.
We're all on the same level fighting the same battle each day, helping each other out with our challenges and making sure we lead a fulfilling professional life which also translates to a happy personal space at the end of a tiring day.
MW: What is your vision for Markenzo in the next 5 years?
VG: We didn't put 'Worldwide' in our name cause our offices are already worldwide. We put it to remind ourselves each day that - putting Markenzo on the world map is our ultimate goal and that we need to strive hard to achieve it. One could say that it was a way to manifest expansion worldwide by adding Worldwide to our brand name.
So yes, 5 years down the line we want to see Markenzo Worldwide, an Indian-brewed Digital Marketing agency making its mark on the world map.
SR: Also, I think it’s important to put this out there - we don't create output with the aim of winning awards. We believe in creating work that will genuinely help a client to achieve their business goals. While acquiring a client is taxing in itself but staying consistent with the quality of your product or service is a whole another ball game. But it's one that we want to be on top of!
5 years down the line we want clients to continue working with us for the same reason that we believe in now - that they have complete faith in our work.
MW: With a hoard of young digital agencies coming up in India, what sets Markenzo apart?
VG: Having young blood in the team, we believe in being agile with delivering quality performances. Keeping in mind sustenance, we believe in picking and choosing our clients. Our ideology will always revolve around the fact that our work should add value to the brand. Our love for creativity and making an impact will always have a higher priority over simply running a business.
MW: What is the one quality your partner has and you don't?
SR: I think with Vedanti and I things have been really sorted right from the start. We've always been quite complimentary in our equation - both work wise and personally. While I handle the business aspect of Markenzo, Vedanti knows how to retain the business. If Vedanti has a tough time saying no to people and wants to be nice to everyone, many would agree that I do not hesitate in taking the tougher tone to put our foot down.
VG: We are alter egos. We're both Leo' s are extremely proud to be one, very similar in a lot of ways. But at the same time, we're also yin and yang. We complement each other well and believe that our individual strengths make up for an A team together. And I guess that's why we have come this far even after the numerous challenges that came our way.
MW: What advice would you give to your fellow young entrepreneurs?
SR: There are always going to be people to give you unsolicited advice because they feel that as a young entrepreneur, you're not competent or not experienced enough. But honestly, nobody knows you or your business like you do. Take in all that helps you grow and trust your instincts. So, believe in yourself and keep moving forward.
VG: As a generation, we’re really impatient - most of which we owe to the fast-paced digital world we live in. But running your business requires patience, a lot of it. Success doesn’t come as easy as it looks on Instagram. You’ve got to be consistent. Without consistency, you can’t even make a vada pav stall successful.
UP CLOSE AND PERSONA
1. What would you be doing if not running a Digital Marketing agency?
SR: Performing artist or an Athlete
2. How did you come up with the name Markenzo?
SR and VG: We’re taking that secret to our grave. [laughs]
3. What’s the best part about owning your own business?
VG: Have the opportunity to build something from scratch based on your own vision and on your own terms.
4. Describe yourself in a word.
VG: Fierce [Both agree]
5. If you could, what would be your superpower?
SR: Common sense detector. So I can conveniently not deal with the ones I don’t want to :)
VG: Teleporting. Oh, the places I want to travel to!