Tashiya Rajasingham : The young entrepreneur and content creator

By Mahika Panditha 

I hope you are doing fine on this gorgeous day. To start off this new month, I would like to introduce you to a very talented and absolutely stunning human who also happens to be the mind behind Koko’s Apparel. You may have seen her on your ‘gram, but if you have not, I highly recommend checking her out (@ta.shiya, @kokos.apparel)

Tashiya currently lives in Australia pursuing her Bachelor of Business Administration at Victoria University, whilst simultaneously running her brand and also working as a content creator and strategist.

“My goal is to become a successful businesswoman and grow Koko’s Apparel to its full potential over the next couple of years, catering to my clientele – petite girls. I’ve also recently started working as a content creator, so in that sense, my goal is to be better at what I do and work with brands I’ve loved endlessly for years,” she shared with Happinez.

We honestly cannot wait to see her succeed in everything she is doing and going to do! Aside from this, Tashiya also takes most of her Instagram photos herself, with a tripod and Bluetooth remote! We spoke to Tashiya last week, and here is what she had to say.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’m a Sagittarius, so I’m very free spirited, spontaneous, overly friendly if you get to know me, but can be very shy if you don’t approach me at first. I am also a small business owner, content creator, and an advisor to small business owners.

I guess I’ve always been someone very expressive through fashion/style and I’ve been so blessed to live the dream I’ve always wanted. Establishing my own clothing store and putting my designs out there has always been a dream come true, especially catering to a market I’m very passionate about.

As a petite girl, I feel like my experimenting with various styles has led me to be able to curate a line of clothing for girls like me, which has been an incredible journey.

I love what I do and because I am someone who constantly challenge myself to do better and be better in what I do, I will always be my own critic, thus always being hard on myself. I’ve always been this way, but at the end of the day, all my hard work pays off in some form.

I love a lifestyle where every day is different and unpredictable, and that’s exactly what everyday looks like for me, which is really exciting.

How was your experience starting your own business?

Starting out, I took a lot of time to do proper research in all aspects of the business; I didn’t really have the budget to hire a marketing team or an accounts team or an assistant for that matter; up until this day, everything I’ve put into Koko’s is all me. I am the marketing team, accountant team, purchasing manager – literally everything. But you know what? I enjoy doing it all by myself…is that weird?

Through Koko’s Apparel, I’ve actually had the opportunity of working with so many incredible people – some friends and some who have become friends – and the journey of launching it and putting it out there has been incredible.

Like every business owner, sometimes I get overly frustrated when things do not go the right way, but I’ve surrounded myself with some amazing individuals who are always there for me when I need a helping hand to get back on track.

So far, things with Koko’s Apparel have been great. I have received some amazing feedback from my customers, and that just means everything to me. Our third collection was set to be launched very soon. However, due to Covid, plans have been delayed quite a bit.

What was one of the biggest hurdles you had to overcome?

The biggest hurdle I’ve had to overcome with Koko’s Apparel was managing the business remotely; I’m so used to doing it all by myself, from picking the materials to packing orders, but being away here in Australia has limited me to some of the things I normally do.

Sometimes, it’s really frustrating because I would like to be there in person, involved every step of the way, talking to suppliers and vendors, etc. But the closest I get to all of the behind-the-scenes stuff with Koko’s Apparel is through video calls.

That’s something I’m still wrapping my head around and trying to work through while still keeping the business running smoothly. My mum’s been the greatest with everything and she’s filled my position in Sri Lanka.

What is one of the biggest lessons you learned?

The biggest lesson I’ve learnt over the years is that I can’t please everyone; you just have to keep doing you and do what genuinely makes you happy because at the end of the day, that’s all that matters.

You don’t need everyone to agree with you or even like you. I’ve realised that we can all get so caught up with social media and what other people think of us, etc., but you really don’t need anyone’s validation. If anything, the only validation that you seek has to come from within.

Any advice for budding entrepreneurs?

Research, research, research.

Before you even think about being an entrepreneur, it’s really important that you know it’s something you really want. I’ve seen a lot of people in our day do things just because their friend or someone their know is doing it. Do it because you genuinely like it, not because it’s a trend.

I can’t stress enough how much time you need to put into learning about the industry; talk to entrepreneurs in the industry you’re getting into and get more insight as this will help you more than you know. Get onto online forums and read, and if you like reading books, there are tonnes of self-help books that will come in handy.

Most importantly, build your own business and identity; do not copy paste someone else’s because it’ll only go so far. If you want to be successful, it’s really important that you be authentic.

You have some amazing content. What’s the process like before you take the pictures?

I’m so glad you asked this question. Recently, I’ve been getting a tonne of messages asking how I get all the PR (public relations) products for “free”, and this question actually bothers me because it’s not for free.

Creating content isn’t easy and I don’t think it’s everyone’s cup of tea. There’s so much time and effort put into every piece of content created just like someone else’s nine-to-five job. Sometimes, I work for 10-12 hours trying to perfect content.

It all starts with a brand reaching out to me or if I’ve reached out to a brand regarding a possible collaboration to create content for them. It’s many emails back and forth before I finally get to create the content. Some brands also have specific themes/styles/lighting, etc., along with a tight time frame.

Most brands let me pick what I want for the content. For example, if it’s a clothing brand, they let me choose two to three outfits. After I pick out my desired outfits, I usually make a Pinterest board as a styling/shoot guide as inspiration – this takes at least a day. I’m very picky, so I never make it easy for myself! Haha!

After I receive the products, I typically take a week or so to shoot the content depending on what the brand wants. There have been times where I shoot the content and I’m not quite happy with it so I reshoot it.

It’s not just about taking the pictures, it’s also about editing the pictures and colour-correcting them. I usually only filter the pictures to suit my feed. Getting into content creation, I told myself I will be as authentic as I can be, and so I do not Photoshop anything. I like to be transparent with my audience as much as possible.

I only use Lightroom presets to colour-correct the pictures so that I have a uniform feed. After all this, I take at least a day to try and fit it into the grid and make it as aesthetically pleasing as possible. The content you see today is something I’ve pre-shot and scheduled the week before.

If this is something you want to do, just like I said above, be authentic. Don’t copy other creators; you can draw inspiration from them, but be your own person. If you feel the need to copy, maybe you’re not cut out for it because the whole point of being a creator is that you are the creative.

What inspires your style and look?

I think my style is more of a combination of how different styles suit my body type rather than one particular style, if you know what I mean. Sometimes, not everything looks good on small-sized body types.

Over the years, I guess through experimenting with different styles, I’ve found styles that flatter my body type, and now I try to elevate my looks with bold accessories.

I also have this weird innate sixth sense where I can combine colour, texture, fabric, and patterns without thinking; like if I see a skirt I fancy, I’ve already made up an outfit in my mind.

Lately, I have been obsessed with neutral tones and I have been experimenting and incorporating very minimal styles into my wardrobe.

Where do you see yourself and your platform in the next five years?

This is always such a hard question to answer, but in five years I see myself working full-time as an entrepreneur and content creator.

I love the kind of lifestyle I have right now, and working remotely is my kind of thing (I don’t think I can survive a nine-to-five job). I like how flexible my days are and that’s exactly what I want to be doing in the long run. I want to live life on my terms and make my own rules. I’m very free spirited and like doing things my way, and I’m also a huge home body, so it works out perfectly.

Photos Edited by Kaveen Gallage