She lost her father at the age of 17. With a mother who had never got involved in the family business and a 13-year-old teenage brother, Vaanee Bhatia found herself staring at a personal crisis at that tender age.
She understood then that she needs to stand by her mother. And there she was – encouraging and supporting her mother to start her father’s business afresh. It was rather difficult for her mother as she had to get into the family business at the age of 42. Though scared in the initial days, Vaanee’s mother did pick up the nuances of the business slowly but steadily.
This was the greatest learning period of Vaanee’s life when she learnt about people and the way they react to someone in crisis.
“We never learn from the good times as much as we learn from our bad patch. Surely this was my testing time where I learnt a lot,” says Vaanee, the founder of Gritstones.com, a popular online fashion portal.
Born in a middle class family, Vaanee completed her studies in Delhi, where they were settled. She pursued a degree in Commerce and followed it up with a post graduation in Fashion from the International College of Fashion.
With a ‘Most Creative Designer’ title in her kitty, Vaanee set out to pursue her independent venture. “My mother had saved money for me to pursue an MBA but I convinced her to part with it to enable me to start my own business. Though reluctant at first, she agreed later,” says Vaanee. She initially started working for domestic brands and then did some corporate orders for companies like Videocon.
Vaanee’s breakthrough came when she started getting corporate orders from companies like Videocon etc. Soon they were working for brands like BIBA, Good Earth and United Colors of Benneton.
“I realized at that point that I must start working for myself instead of working for brands. Thus was born Gritstones in 2011. With the e-commerce boom, we decided to tap the online market and launched my brand online,” says Vaanee. The modest beginning saw them take toddler steps in the beginning only to expand to an offline store in Ahmedabad, Gujarat.
For someone who started on a humble note, Vaanee has come a long way. She currently owns two apparel brands – Gritstones and Vvoguish, Gritstones is a more male-centric brand while Vvoguish is a one-stop shop for ladies apparels. Gritstones is available on almost all marketplaces like Myntra, Jabong, Flipkart, Amazon and Vvoguish is more prominent on television channels like Homeshop 18 and others.
Bit by the creative bug, Vaanee says she would be directing films or serials if not designing stylish apparels.
Biggest challenge life threw at Vaanee
Though she’s an entrepreneur in her own right now, Vaanee regrets losing her father so early in life. Also being a woman, she faced her own set of hardships to work in such a ‘male-dominated’ business sector.
There is always pressure to perform and a constant need to prove oneself. People don’t trust your capabilities easily. So it was a challenge to start my own thing, handle the finances and take care of the business,
says Vaanee. On the professional front, Vaanee plans to expand her catalogue this year by including denims, blazers and summer coats too into its brand label. They are looking to expand through franchisees and hoping to start offline models too.
On the personal front, she is happy that she runs a business and has managed to make her father proud. Still very attached to him, she had decided to do something to ensure he lives on forever through his children. And she has managed to do exactly that. Her brother Dheeraj Bhatia is the other Director in the company.
A movie freak
A self-confessed movie buff, Vaanee loves to catch up on her favourite films in her free time. She has another hobby – she loves solving problems of others, analyzes their situation, finds the root cause of it and works towards finding a solution. It is her analytical mind which helps her look at answers rather than questions.