This is the second in our series of 'Be Your Sparkly Best' interviews with women who are striving for excellence in their field. Sukhi Jutla left a decade of corporate life in 2016 to become an entrepreneur and the author of 3 books. She is the Founder of MarketOrders, the online marketplace for gold jewellery and diamonds. As a Female Tech Ambassador, Sukhi is a regular keynote speaker and passionate about supporting female entrepreneurship. She is an IBM Blockchain Foundation Developer and an Advisor for Publica. Her efforts have been recognised by a number of industry awards including the Asian Women of Achievement Awards, We Are The City Rising Stars Award, Management Todays '35 Women under 35' and listed as one of the Top 100 Asians in UK Tech. In April 2018 Sukhi made global headlines when she became the World’s First #1 Bestselling ‘Blockchain’ Author.
Sukhi, delighted to have you with us! I think Sukhi means happy in Hindi. Would you describe yourself as happy? What other adjectives come to mind?
Yes, Sukhi does mean ‘happiness’ in the Punjabi and hindi language and I am told I do look happy most of the time! Other adjectives that come to mind include peace, contentedness, fulfilment and joy.
What does it feel like to be listed in the millenials to watch list? Fantastic endorsement, by the way! Tell us about the journey that led you here?
It’s great to be recognised for the work you do especially as a female entrepreneur from a diverse background. I spent the last decade in the banking world and made the leap into the entrepreneurial journey 2 years ago so it's a fantastic endorsement to receive so early on in the journey.
Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years? Next 10 years?
I have big ambitions and plans! I am the co-founder and COO of MarketOrders, the online platform connecting high street jeweller's direct to their suppliers. We currently serve the UK market but I see my business as becoming the worlds most trusted and largest supplier of gold and diamonds to both the B2B and B2C world. Thinking longer, in 10 years, my vision is to create a global marketplace for every industry that can benefit from removing the middleman. So I want to expand MarketOrders into other industries which could benefit from direct selling such as in farming, publishing and property.
Tell us about your bestselling book on blockchain? Is it the technology of the future or is the future here already?
My book, Escape The Cubicle: Quit The Job You Hate, Create A Life you Love, documents my journey about how I left the corporate world of 9-5 to embark on a new entrepreneurial journey of starting and growing my own business. In April 2018, my book hit the headlines when it became the first book in the world to be published on the blockchain. This means readers could now purchase my book using cryptocurrency and own the book directly.
In my opinion, I feel the future is here already and there are so many products you can already purchase via cryptocurrency. I think the world will be a very different place in a short 5 years time where most of us will own a digital wallet and pay for our coffee and croissant with cryptocurrency and not think twice about it. It will become the currency of choice.
You are a shining example for aspiring British Asian women entrepreneurs. Please share the experiences, insights and learns that you picked up along the way as a female minority entrepreneur.
Thank you for your kind words! I think that when you are lucky enough to be in a position where you serve as a role model it's important to share insights and learnings and help the next generation of future leaders. Here are my top 3 insights I have learned on this journey so far:
1. Focus on cultivating an incredible sense of self-belief and courage. This is what helps to take you the extra mile and gets you through the tough times.
2. Serve first. See where you can help others and build a community and network of trusted people who can help you on this journey. No matter how amazing entrepreneurs are, we all need a brilliant team to help us succeed.
3. Learn to jump back from setbacks as quickly as you can and cultivate a mindset of ‘I can find a way’. Persistence and commitment to your vision will help you overcome challenges and obstacles
Do you have any advice for a new entrepreneur like me? Any suggestions on how to raise funding to scale the business?
Raising funds carries both a financial cost and more importantly, a cost on your time. It’s an incredibly time consuming and at times a de-moralising activity. So I would say only raise cash from angels and VCs if you really need it. Check out other sources of cash such as grants or cash from friends and family in the first instance. If you do decide to raise from angels and VCs, always think of securing the best deal for your business and team and don’t feel pressured to take ‘bad’ money. This is when you raise cash on terms you are not happy with and I have seen this too many times from my conversations with other founders. It can take a while to find the right investors but it will be worth it in the end. You want to take cash from people you trust and you know want you to succeed. You are looking for the right partners to propel you and your business so you collectively benefit from this partnership.
What does ‘Be your sparkly best’ mean to you?
To me, this means, being unashamedly your authentic self. You have a unique set of skills that no one else has. Claim your uniqueness and be proud of who you are rather than trying to blend in with the crowd. And this takes courage and bravery.
What kind of jewellery do you like? Do you have a personal favourite?
I love pearls, gold and also colourful pieces of gemstones.
Which Hep Audrey piece do you like the best?
I love the Aurora Geometric Garnet and Amethyst Pendant with Chain. I love the arrangement of the stones and different shades of the gemstone put together.
If you were a gemstone, which one would you be? Why?
I would be an amethyst. I love the different shades of purple the stone comes in and wearing amethyst makes me feel calm and confident!