5 Leadership Lessons With Sruthi Jayadevan CEO of Curry Queen
“I’ve been able to create a community via my social platforms that aims to empower others to embrace their uniqueness and individuality. It’s so crucial that influencers use their platforms for something bigger than themselves. When all else fades, the smile you brought to someone’s face or a positive word that changed someone’s perception of life is so much more valuable than anything else!”
I had the pleasure of interviewing Sruthi Jayadevan. She is the founder and CEO of Curry Queen Company, a clothing brand focused on empowering the South Asian diaspora around the world, as well as The Mandevan Group, a full-service digital media and marketing agency based in Dallas, Texas. She is also a lifestyle, fashion and beauty blogger and social media influencer who facilitates connections between brands that she is passionate about through visual storytelling and a genuine voice. She started out as a model, and later ventured into editorial writing, freelance styling, blogging, and social media marketing. Her brand and influencer platforms have grown exponentially since she started out less than a year ago in 2017. She uses her platform to empower individuals to embrace their individuality, culture, heritage and unique identities. She brings value to her audience and brands through her unique perspective on all aspects of life.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory”?
I actually grew up in a tiny village in the southern part of India. After my mom landed her dream job as a registered nurse in the U.S, our entire family relocated from India to the U.S. As a child, I dreamt of being a fashion designer or working in the fashion industry as a wardrobe stylist. However, during my high school and college years, I took an interest in medicine, specifically cardiology. I spent around 5 years prepping for a career in the medical field, hoping to one day become a cardiothoracic surgeon. In the South Asian community there is a lot of pressure to be a part of a “prestigious” career field as a doctor, lawyer or engineer. However, towards the end of my college career, I grew tired of working towards a career that wasn’t my true passion. As much as I loved spending time with patients at the hospital and having the chance to help others on a daily basis, I felt a lack of inner fulfillment.
So in my last year of college, I decided to take a year-long break and focus on something that I loved to do before I went off to medical school for good. I started off posting my favorite outfit of the day photos on Instagram, and before I knew it, I was getting collaboration requests from my favorite brands, and modeling requests from photographers in my area. After building up a small audience that loved my fashion posts, I started to share my culture and heritage, and my experiences as a young American-Indian girl who was trying to find a balance between my colliding worlds. My platforms grew exponentially after sharing some of my hardest, most vulnerable moments in life with my audience. I started Curry Queen Company with my significant other, Neet Mangat, as a clothing brand that empowers other South Asian individuals around the world to be themselves and learn to embrace their culture and heritage no matter where life takes them. After the successful launch of Curry Queen, me and my partner focused on building The Mandevan Group, a full-service media and marketing agency that helps to connect content creators like myself with brands around the world.
Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that happened to you in the course of your career?
I think the funniest/most interesting things that have happened to me in my career definitely have to be my Twitter posts going viral! I’ve had 2–3 of my photo posts go viral on the internet and one of the photos about my response to people who hate on me embracing my culture actually landed me on the front page of Yahoo News! You can imagine my surprise when I woke up to a 100 texts from family and friends telling me they saw me on Yahoo News that morning. That news article subsequently landed me on India Times, The Houston Chronicles, and a number of different news websites. It was an interesting experience to say the least!
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
Being able to have a wide social reach definitely gave me the ability to touch people in ways that I never even dreamed of. I’ve been able to create a community via my social platforms that aims to empower others to embrace their uniqueness and individuality. It’s so crucial that influencers use their platforms for something bigger than themselves. When all else fades, the smile you brought to someone’s face or a positive word that changed someone’s perception of life is so much more valuable than anything else!
If someone would want to emulate your career, what would you suggest are the most important things to do?
I think one of the most important things one must assess before taking on the career path of an influencer or entrepreneur is truly learning about themselves. When you create a brand/product around yourself, it’s very important that you are able to identify who you are first, so those who support you can know what or who they are supporting. In a career field like mine, it is also very important to collaborate and work with other creatives and network with like-minded people. Lastly, it is also imperative that you stay true to who you are and do what you actually love to do! Just because there are a ton of people doing something does not mean you have to follow their path. Create your own path and create a life/career that’s unique to you!
Is there a particular person that made a profound difference in your life to whom you are grateful? Can you share a story?
Yes, absolutely! Without hesitation I can say that my significant other, Neet Mangat ( PrannaMusic) is the one person that has changed my life in the most incredible way possible! I was in my last year of doing pre-med and utterly burned-out from pursuing something that my heart wasn’t fully in when I met him. He was the one who opened my eyes to the world of entrepreneurship and taught me that I can do amazing things in life, create value for others and pursue my passion. Without his encouragement and support, my social media platforms and businesses would not be where they are right now. I am so grateful to have a business and life partner who shares the same love for helping people, traveling the world, and relentlessly living our best life possible!
So what are the most exciting projects you are working on now?
Currently, I’m working on a number of social media influencer campaigns for some amazing brands through The Mandevan Group! I love being able to connect influencers and brands together for a common goal. It feels like there’s so much knowledge I can share with both sides regarding the world of social media and different audiences, so it has been such a fun and exciting venture. I’m also working on a ton of new designs for my brand Curry Queen Co. with up-and-coming South Asian designers and artists. I love that I’m able to provide more value to those around me and empower them through the work that I do!
What are your “Top Five Ideas About How Influencers Can Monetize Their Brand” .
- Create your own merch/clothing brand! I created Curry Queen Company as a e-commerce clothing brand that truly aligns with the interests and passions of my audience. One of the best ways to monetize from your platform is to find what your audience wants from you, and create it!
- Another way to monetize off of your platform, is to use the skills you have acquired through managing and growing your platform to help others to do the same, whether that be another influencer or brand.
- Another way to monetize your brand is through participating in panels/speeches in relation to your expertise and niche topics.
- Create a digital-course such as “How to become successful on Instagram” or something of value that you can offer to the audience via an online course.
- Take your brand from one platform to the other to monetize on those platforms. For example, if you’re mainly on Instagram but you have a huge audience there, take that audience and monetize off of a platform like Youtube!
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this. 🙂
If I could have a private breakfast of lunch with someone, I’d love to do that with Aimee Song. She has been one of my biggest inspirations and role models as an influencer and I absolutely love how down-to-earth and hardworking she is.
Originally published at medium.com