Priyanka Chopra takes to Instagram to support women entrepreneurs amid COVID-19

The actor, who has over 50 million Instagram followers, highlighted women-led small businesses to help them weather the challenges brought by COVID-19.

Actor and philanthropist Priyanka Chopra Jonas on Sunday started an initiative to highlight a slew of women-founded small businesses that are facing the wrath of COVID-19, and encouraged her followers on Instagram to “check them out, follow them, or make a purchase.”

“We all know that people around the world have been incredibly affected by this pandemic, and that includes small business owners. My heart really breaks to see these businesses shutting down or letting go of loyal, hardworking employees. So, I really want to highlight some female-founded businesses that we can all support, and hopefully help them get back on their feet,” the actor said in a video post.

The 37-year-old, who recently inked a multimillion-dollar deal with Amazon, is all ears to know more stories of women entrepreneurs, and urged her followers to share their favourite female-founded businesses she can give a shout out to in the future round ups.

The actor wrote, “If you know of any such businesses, tag them in the comments, tell me their stories, and I’ll try and share some of them. Let's help them navigate this new normal.”

Priyanka, who is a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and recipient of Danny Kaye Humanitarian Award, and has more than 50 million followers on Instagram, gave a shout out to the following women-led businesses:

Ritika Sachdeva: Conceptual jewellery designer Ritika Sachdeva’s unique earrings, necklace, and rings have been sported by Bollywood actors like Deepika Padukone, Katrina Kaif, Kriti Sanon, Shilpa Shetty, Tabu, Sonakshi Sinha, and more.

The bespoke accessories label designs customised jewellery for domestic and international clients. Amid COVID-19, it promises protected packaging as well as weddings at home and corporate gifting solutions.

Mrinalini Chandra: Having learnt the ropes of fashion industry from Fashion Luxury at the Creative Academy in Milan and NIFT in New Delhi, Mrinalini’s designs are inspired by the rich culture and poetic verses of India.

The former Tanishq and Mont Blanc employee’s jewellery label is known for customised Kaliras, which Priyanka Chopra “absolutely loves”. Additionally, celebrities including Sonam Kapoor, Malaika Arora, and Karisma Kapoor also adore the label’s jewellery collection.

Rina Singh: Textile design specialist Rina Singh’s label EKA works with indigenous craftsmen in rural villages to create sustainable clothes out of handwoven linen and wool. Her creations are available at nearly 60 stores around the world, including Good Earth, Ogaan, and Bombay Electric.

Anushree Brahmbhatt: Designer Anushree Brahmbhatt has gone from creating a statement maxi dress made of handwoven ikkat to launching her own festive wear label that is a favorite with Bollywood celebrities like Madhuri Dixit Nene, Kajol, Alia Bhatt, Priyanka Chopra, and Juhi Chawla, among others.

A design graduate from SNDT University and London College of Fashion, Anushree has been working with textile artisans across India since the brand was launched in 2015.

Tania R Behl: Trained at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, Tania R Behl, founder of The Dessert Co, calls herself an artisanal baker. Some of her most recent works include customised themed cakes featuring popular leisure activities like Ludo and shows like Money Heist and Star Wars, among others.

The chef entrepreneur and a friend of Priyanka, she thanked the actor, commenting, “Thank you for being there from the beginning….wouldn’t have mastered things like the pecan pie if it wasn’t for your dessert cravings. Your grit, determination, never say die attitude is something I’ve had the good fortune of seeing up close and keeps me going!! You’re an inspiration not only me but to so many women.” 

Karishma Shahani Khan: Sustainable clothing and apparel brand, Ka – Sha India, was founded by Karishma Shahani Khan to celebrate traditional handicrafts with modern functionality and appeal. The brand explores natural fabric and works with artisans across India.

Its eco-conscious efforts and zero-waste policy has also led to another brand, Heart to Haat, that makes innovative products made only out of remnants and discarded materials.   

Bhanumathi Narasimhan: Based in Bengaluru, Bhanumathi Narasimhan’s Madhurya Creations is a heritage handloom and handicrafts boutique that has an extensive weave of sarees such as Kanchipuram, Chanderi, Banarasi, Paithani, and jewellery and wooden swings.

Bollywood actor Kangana Ranaut wore their saree at Cannes 2019 as well as during the screening of Manikarnika at Rashtrapati Bhavan. Other notable actors like Madhuri Dixit Nene, Priyanka Chopra, and Alia Bhatt have also sported their sarees.

Founded in 2007, the small business supports girl child education with the sale of each product.

Shirin Mann Sangha: Journalist-turned-entrepreneur Shirin Mann Sangha went from admiring her mother’s juttis as a child to founding a leading international brand of jutti, NeedleDust, in 2014.

The Delhi-based business works with traditional artisans and craftsmen and sells handcrafted leather juttis. It counts on Bollywood stars like Sara Ali Khan, Kangana Ranaut, Sonam Kapoor, and Deepika Padukone, among its clients. Actor Priyanka Chopra said the brand’s juttis complemented some of her weddings as well.

Shruti Sancheti: Designer Shruti Sancheti launched her retail-centric label in 2009 and has been actively promoting various weaves, embroideries and crafts from across India.

The label follows a minimalistic approach and has been worn by the likes of Kareena Kapoor, Sonam Kapoor, Taapsee Pannu, and Kajol.

Aprajita Toor: Designer Aprajita Toor’s label, founded in 2012, specialises in traditional footwear with a contemporary tweak to compliment the vibrant colours of traditional Indian attires.

The Mumbai-based eco-friendly brand also provides accessories like bags, and has become a favourite of Bollywood celebrities like Janhvi Kapoor, Deepika Padukone, Alia Bhatt, and Dia Mirza.

Edited by Megha Reddy