youth
“Youth are usually the leaders in trends and style which then others follow”
by Kiyanna Staff
September 1, 2015

-Otara Gunewardene, Founder of ODEL & Embark

As an entrepreneur, who catered largely to young people through fashion did you really feel the power of this bonus of young people?

The youth are usually the leaders in trends and style which then others follow. It is also the youth who often influence how their parents shop and spend as a result it was a very important segment for me to cater to. I continue to value the contribution of the youth with Embark who are the main customers for my brand Embark and also the work we do with the homeless dogs.

How did you capitalize on the aspirations of the post-modern Sri Lankan youth?

There has been a change in the impact the youth can have on a business and how we live over the last decade. Social media, easy access to information has changed their aspirations and demands over the years. Some are beneficial giving them the opportunity to develop and grow also making them a good target customer. On a negative side the aspirations, influenced by the easily accessible information, can grow to levels that create high demands on themselves, resulting in stress and often a life where expenses are higher than actual needs.

“It is important to work towards standing on your own and this should start in your youth”

“It is important to work towards standing on your own and this should start in your youth”

If you have another opportunity how would you do it differently to meet the aspirations of young people?

With Embark which is the opportunity I have now, the objective is to engage the youth to live the life style of being fashionable but also not forgetting the importance of making a positive impact by giving, to benefit the community and the world we live in.

You started your journey of success as a young person, how would you explain your experience, not as a woman or an entrepreneur but from a youth perspective?

It is important to work towards standing on your own and this should start in your youth. Your life is not determined by what people do for you and not by what you get from others around you. It depends on you, and what you do. The experience you gain in your youth is invaluable for your future. Patience, determination and hard work will be needed to achieve your goals.

What is the one thing that Sri Lanka should do in terms of investing on its large population of young people in taking the country to its next level of development?

Introduce strong education findings that not only illustrate data to teach our youth the importance of safeguarding our environment and improving animal welfare. With the current speed of development in the country it is essential that the leaders of tomorrow understand the importance of preserving a country rich in animal and plant life before it is destroyed, so they lead the change that needs to be made to help preserve it.

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