“If You are Really Good at Something, Never Do it for Free”

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EOI Startup Stories - Sana Khader

Entrepreneur: Sana Khader

Business Name: Zannist 

Welcome to Entrepreneurs of India #startupstories episode 97

On a random day, Sana Khader, popularly known as Zannist on Instagram, can be spotted working on a scrapbook or a mini album for her customers.

An engineer by education, this youngster from Kerala realised her passion and profession are like chalk and cheese! So she dipped her feet into what she loved the most – art and craft.

Her Instagram feed is a go-to place if you want beautifully handcrafted gifts for your loved ones. Everything is created with unbeatable passion and each product that she makes leaves a lasting impression.

Communication through letters may seem odd in the age of the social media, but Sana sent letters to people across the globe to connect with them in a unique way.  Now she has got penfriends from different countries. She’s also one of the most popular TED speakers in Kerala. What is the complete story of this vibrant Instagrammer? Let’s find out!

1) How did you get the idea for this business?

EOI Startup Stories - Sana Khader


I’m very much passionate about colour papers or a pack of glitter.
I started creating things on my own when I was 3 year old because I really love the idea of turning scraps into something useful and beautiful.
So I wanted to have this as a part of my life and took it as my career .

2) Why is ‘now’ a good time for this idea to exist ?

Everyone loves a change once in a while. We go for innovative stuffs on a daily basis. I started “ZANNIST” in 2014 during the end of my 12th grade. That’s when I did so much research into this field and also made sure that people do prefer handmade products for reasonable rates comparing to the ready made ones. Also when it is displayed online , it actually saves their time !

3) What was the reaction from your family when you first decided to become an entrepreneur?

EOI Startup Stories - Sana Khader

Initially , no one gave any importance to my ideas and the works I do.
They didn’t give any kind of attention to the scope or outcome of my efforts.

But since I started getting a lot of orders in and around the country, they realised the depth of it. Now, my biggest support is my family. I have them for anything and everything.

4) What was your biggest mistake in business and what did you learn from it?

Not taking any advance payment from the clients.I actually got betrayed a couple of times for not wanting them to pay in advance and then delivering the product. It was an eye-opener. Now I take advance payment before getting the work started. 

5) What habits contribute to your success?

I feel confident by the processes of planning and organizing. Like Benjamin Franklin said “For every minute spent in organizing, an hour is earned”.

I always keep a planner with me and start off each page with the most important tasks ( difficult ones) I have to do in the coming day.  And I believe doing them first, following the least important ones make my day productive

I never check my phone when I’m at my workspace.
Trust me , you feel like you’ve earned an extra hour if your phone is away!

6) What is your favourite quote?

‘If you are really good at something, never do it for free!’
We can’t take someone for granted if their effort, time and ideas are put in something. In fact , nothing is a free lunch.

7) Where do you find inspiration?

It’s obviously my mother because I am not aware of any living creature working harder than her. She completes all her works keeping a deadline and that’s where I got the idea to assign slots for my works.

8) What is you favourite book?

All time favourite is ” The Kite Runner” by Khaled Hosseini.

9) What advice would you give to someone starting out?

EOI Startup Stories - Sana Khader

Research. Research and do a lot of research !
Be wise when you choose your business partner ( I don’t have one though )
If you’re doing it via IG, do keep a tracking system on your own.

EOI Summary

At a certain point in life, we must stand at a crossroad where we all have to make a choice. That one decision could create the greatest impact on our life. Sana chose the less-trodden path, which was indeed challenging and fun. She transformed her passion into a successful business. So, never refrain from doing what you are passionate about. A big thanks to Sana for sharing her inspiring tale.

EOI Startup Stories - Sana Khader

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