Success, scale, and support, Flipkart’s offering to women-led businesses on the platform
, a Lucknow-based women’s western wear brand, has been soaring in popularity over the last few years. The brand receives 500-700 orders on a daily basis and that number peaks up to 3,500 orders during Flipkart’s Big Billion Days Sale.
Hyderabad-based, a men’s wear and kidswear brand, witnessed a 150 percent year-on-year growth in the last six years. The brand, which began its journey by selling ethnic wear and men’s denim, expanded to include kids' wear, loungewear, chinos, winter wear, joggers, and plus-size clothing for men.
ADC Fashion is a Chennai-based small business, like Urbano and Rudraaksha, that is shaping the growth story of India’s small and medium business sector going online. The brand which offers a range of quality jewellery was started with an investment of just Rs 1.5 lakh. Today, ADC Fashion clocks a turnover of Rs 10 lakh per month.
Chasing their dreams
At the helm of driving the success of these small and medium businesses are a tribe of strong-willed women who refused to give up on their dreams. Rudraaksha’s Suman Agarwal says she had always wanted to establish her own business but got married at an early age. “There was a time when I didn't even know how to turn on a computer as I couldn’t pursue my education beyond the 12th grade. But today, I am an entrepreneur and run my business online,” she says.
Coming from a business family with a bachelor’s degree in finance, Urbano’s Naheed Muqeetulla had worked for a few years before she began her journey as an entrepreneur. But, as a mother of two, there was a lot of apprehension about whether she would be able to manage a business. “Today, I have been able to answer the skeptics with Urbano,” she says.
When home and business had a singular address
38-year-old Suman says that she had always wanted to establish her own business. Even with the responsibilities of running the household and taking care of her two sons, Suman says her aspirations never took a backseat. It was in 2009 when Suman began her entrepreneurship journey by starting a boutique that manufactured and sold women’s western wear.
“However, I realised I would need to run the business from home to balance the household and business responsibilities. That’s when I decided to explore the possibility of running the business on e-commerce platforms like,” she shares. Initially, Suman continued to run her offline boutique in addition to retailing online. In 2017, she began selling on Flipkart. The unexpected growth of orders in the months to come saw Suman gaining enough confidence to go completely online and build the brand on Flipkart. Today, Rudraaksha supports the livelihood of 150 people and has its own factory.
ADC Fashion’s Bhargavi Babu’s foray into entrepreneurship coincided with yet another milestone - that of becoming a mother. Like many women, she too wanted to be present for her child without giving up on her career aspirations. “At the time, running a business from home seemed the most practical thing to do, even though there was a lot of uncertainty,” she says. Having grown up watching her father run a jewelry business, she decided to start a jewelry business.
“Customers wanted high quality yet affordable imitation jewellery. But, it wasn’t easy to find online. So, I travelled to key hubs such as Hyderabad, Jaipur, Mumbai to source jewelery directly from manufacturers,” she recalls. Having established a solid supply chain for the business and taking up online selling, Bhargavi says, made it possible to run the business from the comfort of home and manage both her role as a mother and that of a career woman. “When I started the business, the focus was to be self-reliant. Not only have I been able to achieve that, but I have also been able to support the livelihood of three other people,” she says.
Flipkart: a business-friendly marketplace
While the desire to work on their calling, passion and never-say-never attitude have been strong push factors for these women to write their destiny themselves, they say having access to e-commerce platforms like Flipkart opened up opportunities which otherwise would have been hard to come by. The support from the e-commerce platform has also catalysed the growth of their small businesses, shared by the women entrepreneurs.
Naheed says, “Flipkart opened access to the pan India market and also made it convenient for customers to shop from small brands like us in the form of easy returns and payment options.” “What also makes it easy for a first-time entrepreneur or an entrepreneur who is testing online selling for the first time is that Flipkart is a very seller-friendly marketplace. The support and assistance provided by account managers in the form of inventory management, responses to queries, and market intelligence makes it possible for businesses to grow strategically,” she adds.
Suman’s experience hasn’t been any different. “Flipkart’s seller support team and account managers have held my hand at every step and explained every detail needed for the functioning of an online business,” she says. Suman observes that with pan-India reach that is innate to Flipkart, every small investment she made in running the online business has had exponential results. The timely payments and steady growth of orders continue to fuel the business’ growth. “The last 18 months have really shown the potential of e-commerce. Today, I am able to support the families of my 150 employees. And, the seller support team continues to guide and help the business grow,” she says.
Leading with a heart
Having established a successful business and her credentials as an entrepreneur, Suman now has a bigger goal. “I want Rudraaksha to become popular as a brand. I want people to recognize the brand,” she says. Having leveraged the opportunity to be independent, the entrepreneur now wants to take more people on her journey to growth. The aspirations are not very different for Bhargavi and Naheed. “As an entrepreneur, I want to add value to the women's community as well as the society as a whole. I hope to see women professionals and entrepreneurs providing opportunities for women like themselves - women for whom opening that one door of opportunity could then pave way for many more,” asserts Naheed.
Suman, Bhargavi, and Naheed are among the thousands of women who are leveraging the power of online selling and e-commerce platforms like Flipkart to elevate and rise beyond their challenges and realities. But, what their story continues to reiterate is the ability and power of women to be the agents of changing themselves.
American singer, songwriter, and actress Beyonce once said, “We need to reshape our own perception of how we view ourselves. We have to step up as women and take the lead.” And, these women are showing how.