How these women entrepreneurs started up small and are now earning in crores
Entrepreneurship is no cakewalk. It’s rife with many challenges – starting up, initial investment, the right product fit, looking for funding, marketing, distribution…the list is endless.
There are many women out there who have braved these challenges and given wings to their dreams.
The main thing was their belief in their idea. They started small, but through new concepts, innovation, and smart marketing have managed to earn good money from their businesses. They have kept overheads at a minimum, resorted to multi-tasking, and aggressively pushed themselves to meet their targets.
Meet some smart and sassy women entrepreneurs who started their businesses with a few thousands or a couple of lakhs and are now earning in crores.
Be inspired, and may the “startup force” be with you!
Tamanna Mordani, Shineel Tilwani, Upma Kapoor, Monika Chaudhary and Rakhi Khera
Rakhi Khera, Abiti Bella Enterprises
Rakhi Khera remained a happy homemaker in Gurugram until 2013, when the itch to do something different surfaced. She had always been interested in fashion, and with the support of her husband, decided to step into the maternity wear line. However, that venture did not take off as expected but Rakhi did not give up on her dream.
In 2014, with an investment of just Rs 5 lakh, she decided to create her own fashion brand with a range of western wear, and then created a niche with clothing for mums-to-be. And, Abiti Bella Enterprises was born.
Today, Rakhi’s brand is the top-selling maternity wear brand on Myntra, and is available on all popular ecommerce platforms. She clocked revenue of Rs 3.4 crore for 2018-19 and is projecting revenue of Rs 4.5 crore for the next fiscal.
To think, it all started with a love for all things fashion and a dream.
In an interview, Rakhi told HerStory, “When I started out, I didn’t know anything. Koshish karo, work hard, and you will definitely reap the benefits.”
Monika Chaudhary, BownBee
Monika Chaudhary never thought that her love for dressing up her daughter in traditional Indian wear would turn out to be a great business idea.
Fifteen years into consulting and business development with companies like GE and IBM, Monika decided to quit the corporate world to explore new options.
She discovered through research that the ethnic wear segment for women was a huge, untapped market. In 2015, with a seed capital of Rs 3 lakh, Monika started BownBee from a makeshift office at her home. Her first collection went live on online marketplace Hopscotch with 20 products. Soon, she was receiving more than 50 orders in a day with raving feedback from buyers.
BownBee offers traditional as well as Indo-Western apparel for kids. It is available on ecommerce marketplaces like Myntra, Jabong, Amazon, Hopscotch, Firstcry, and others. It also has a pan-India presence through its own website. In the B2B space, it has collaborations with retailers in South India. It also ships to customers in markets like Singapore, Malaysia, the Middle East, and the UK.
The startup has generated a gross merchandise value (GMV) of Rs 3 crore during FY19 and Rs 1.45 crore in FY18. At present, it is on an aggressive 300 percent growth target in FY20, aiming to close at a GMV of Rs 10 crore.
Tamanna Mordani, Envision
In 2017, Tamanna was working in a company where her salary had not been paid for six months. Instead of sticking around and waiting for things to improve, she decided to take a leap of faith and start up with her friend and colleague. And that’s how Envision took shape.
The duo began by investing just Rs 5,000 to draw up a basic contract for purchasing email IDs. They bagged their first consultancy project soon after; the duo earned around Rs 1 lakh, which was further invested into company branding and stationery. Their turnover now stands at Rs 2 crore.
Envision focuses on two areas: bringing in international entertainment artistes, IPs, and concept-based festivals to India; and brand solutions. Envision has hosted shows with artistes like Martin Garrix, Armin Van Buuren, Timmy Trumpet, Nervo, and more recently with DJ Afrojack in Hyderabad. The brand solutions outfit executes for clients like Corona Sunset Sundowners pan-India, Budweiser, Chivas, Jacob’s Creek, Blenders Pride, Brancott Estate, and Raw Pressery, to name a few.
In an interview with HerStory, Tamanna said, “I believe if you are 100 percent committed and sure of what you want, if you invest in your personal belief system, all the hurdles you face only ensure you rise higher as you overcome them.”
Upma Kapoor, Teal & Terra
For Upma Kapoor, the founder of Teal & Terra, a Gurugram-based organic beauty brand, challenges have been an integral part of her professional and personal journey.
She lost both her parents as a child and also became a single parent. But she has overcome every obstacle with grit and determination.
Upma followed a conventional corporate career for 15 years, but quit when her son, Kabir was born. She had to make the tough decision of walking out of her marriage when Kabir was just four. For six years after that, Upma worked as an independent consultant in business and HR; she launched Teal & Terra in 2017.
Teal & Terra is a totally chemical-free, preservative-free organic beauty brand. Upma started the company with Rs 8 lakh from her own savings and loans from friends and family. Last year, the company clocked revenue of Rs 2.4 crore; it is projecting revenue of Rs 15 crore in the next couple of years.
In an interview with HerStory, Upma said, “Imbibe the right combination of self-belief, a strong will, and common sense. Go ahead, but tread cautiously. Be systematic in your approach. Take risks but only calculated ones. Work hard, work smart, and you should reach where you want to be. Do not be scared of stereotypes, think out of the box, and pursue your goal wholeheartedly.”
Shineel Tilwani, The House of Artisans
Right from her young days, Shineel always knew she wanted to be an entrepreneur. But she gave into her father’s wishes; he wanted her to have a corporate career and she joined a textile manufacturer after she completed her MBA.
Her heart was still fixated on the idea of starting something on her own, and against the wishes of her family, Shineel started The House of Artisans in 2016 with a personal capital of Rs 12,000. Today, it’s a Rs 2 crore business and sells much more than just wood carved collectibles. It caters to B2B and B2C markets, and she currently has 22 artisans working with her on different product lines such as home décor, kitchen and dining, personal accessories, and gourmet products.
She also has a team of eight that focuses on design, online marketing, backend ops, accounting, business development, and supply chain.
(Edited by Teja Lele Desai)