Arathi Kuppu’s Cherish Life – Making Every Pregnant Woman Happy
Cherish Life aims to accomplish precisely what the name suggests: to applaud every pregnant lady for the life she creates. Founded by Arathi Kuppu, Cherish Life creates apparel and accessories for pregnant women, young mothers and infants. Arathi in conversation with YourStory.in shares her journey with Cherish Life and her passion to make every woman`s pregnancy comfortable and every pregnant woman happy.Hi, Arathi! Please tell us about yourself
I am passionate about the welfare of women, especially inIndia. I stick to the principle of doing what I love and loving every bit of what I do. I like fast paced environments and challenges. I thrive on innovation, but only if it serves to improve on what already exists. I want to make a difference in the lives of people.
On a personal note, I love reading books, singing and playing with my dogs. My family and children mean the entire world to me.
From a techie to an entrepreneur, tell us how the transition happened. How did the idea for Cherish Life come about?
I have always wanted to be an entrepreneur. Even when I was at AltaVista, Nokia or Palm, my roles had always been entrepreneurial in nature. When I came back toIndiaafter about 12 years in theUS, my entrepreneurial side led me to explore what my abilities. Although, even then, I intended to work on improving the lives of women inIndia. I spoke to many women and the one thing that stood out was the lack fashion for the expecting mother.
Deeper research proved there was a need that had yet to be taken care of, plaguing this segment of the populace. I found most women just buying larger sized clothing, opening out their existing clothing or even worse, wearing their husband's shirts! At first, I felt really angry at the thought that women, who were doing the most important job of creating a life, were not encouraged to be happy! From an entrepreneurial perspective, I recognized an untapped niche, ripe for stupendous growth in the market in the years to come. Just a change in the social life of pregnant women would be enough to fire this growth.
Hence, Cherish Life was born: To create sensible, elegant, comfortable and value based apparel and accessories for pregnant women and young mothers.
What are the offerings currently available for a pregnant woman at Cherish Life and what can one look-out for in future?
We currently offer an entire array of maternity, motherhood wear and accessories. Pretty much everything that a woman would require during her pregnancy is available. We currently have stores inBangalore. Our products can also be bought online through our website.
How has the traction been so far? Any case of a happy customer you would like to share?
We have had thousands of happy customers so far. I am proud to say that we have mothers coming back to us for their second pregnancies! Our online customers are also very happy with what we have. It’s interesting to note that even their spouses find our design concepts exceptional! Our most fulfilling moments have been when our customers walk out of our store with our clothes on and call us back after their child is born, thankful for our assistance in making their pregnancy comfortable. Gestures like that make all our efforts worthwhile.
What is Cherish Life’s revenue model?
Cherish Life markets its products through its stores inBangaloreas well as online through its website. Going forward, we will be adopting a hybrid model.
How have you been funded till now?
This is a self-funded venture. The venture was started in a room above my house with an investment of Rs 65000.
What are the challenges that you faced while setting up Cherish Life? How did you overcome those challenges?The initial challenges were learning how to design apparel, how to get people to teach me the production processes, machines to use, where to source, how to negotiate, how to hire labor, etc. Coming from a techie background, apparel and garment design was all completely alien to me. However, I have met hundreds of people on this splendid journey. Many people helped me out - some in small ways and some in big. I could never have gotten this far without all those people, mostly strangers who went out of their way to help, educate and to guide me.
I have loved every challenge I have faced. I have absolutely enjoyed every moment of building Cherish Life.
Tells us about your engagement with non-profits and NGOs in bringing awareness about Health and Hygiene during pregnancy amongst women.
Cherish Life is partnered with a well-established NGO inBangalore. The partnership has been set up to reach out to women in rural and semi-ruralIndia. The main aim of the partnership is to conduct programs which provide a sustained livelihood to women through the implementation of initiatives which result in health, hygiene and prosperity of women. We have started programs around skills training, distributing pregnancy kits, education of the use of and distribution of sanitary napkins. Both these programs are at different levels of execution. We are always looking for people and corporates to contribute in any way they can towards these initiatives.
Cherish has a program called the ‘1000 smiles’ program. The aim of this is to distribute 1000 pregnancy kits every month to the most backward and malnourished regions inIndia. This will be done mainly through sponsorships. If you would like to sponsor a kit, please do write to us.
How big is the team behind Cherish Life? Are you looking at hiring?
We are a team of 10 people. Most of my team is my sales folk and personnel in my manufacturing unit. These people have stuck with me from the time I started Cherish and have never wavered even when we faced rough times. Their loyalty and dedication have been imperative to our success. Currently, I am looking to expand my core team and expand operations. I am also looking to raise funds to propel Cherish Life to become a national player. I am looking for Fashion designers, Web developers, content writers, Illustrators and more.
Let us know about your expansion plans.
We are actively working towards raising funds to expand both offline and online.
To know more about Cherish Life, please visit their website - http://cherishonline.in/