Meet the sisters whose maternity-wear startup has caught the attention of Kareena Kapoor Khan
Within a month of launching Chicmomz, their maternity label, sisters Aanchal Jaura and Aashna Shah took the huge risk of delivering one of their dresses to the Pataudi Palace where Kareena Kapoor Khan was staying.
The impulse paid off, and the actor was soon spotted wearing Chicmomz. That told the founders they had the right idea and the right.
“It was the biggest thing for us as Kareena has always been an inspiration for all mums to be,” Aanchal says.
It was also a testament to what the two sisters envisaged for their brand: providing affordable, comfortable, stylish, and sustainable clothing for pregnant women.
Aanchal and Aashna, who are at present based in Delhi, come from a traditional business family in Saharanpur, UP.
After completing her graduation from Delhi University and MBA from IBS, Mumbai, Aanchal handled the product (international trade and foreign exchange) in companies like HDFC and American Express. Aashna completed her engineering in computer science and a master’s in England; she went on to explore fields like journalism and content writing at NDTV, Hindustan Times, and a few companies in England.
Comfort and style
“During my first pregnancy, all I had to wear were my husband’s T-shirts and loose kurtas. I was working and had limited options to wear to the office. All maternity clothes were either basic, uncomfortable, or super expensive. I wanted to look good to feel good. I wanted to flaunt my baby bump and own my confidence. I have been proud of my child and hiding the bump was never my thing,” she says of the pain point behind starting Chicmomz.
“Aashna and I discussed how to come up with something, which makes a woman proud of herself”.
To bridge the gap, the founders focused on affordability, comfort, style, and sustainability.
Their vision, Aanchal says, was clear – pregnancy is not a taboo subject, it is not a disease; so, they wanted to make their products fun, beautiful, and super stylish.
“We chose the fabrics in such a way that they were not only comfortable. but also chic and stylish. Our motto was to create products that women fancy and are affordable. Hence, each product is priced under Rs 2,000. Our clothes are sustainable; they can be worn post-pregnancy too. The fitting is such that any woman who adores fashion can wear the product.”
For all mums to be
Chicmomz works with an all-women’s team, and offers tops, short dresses, and maxi dresses. The products can be easily worn to work, events, parties, etc. The pieces are packaged and shipped out with a personalised touch.
While Aanchal handles operations, finances, sales, logistics, and management at Chicmomz, Aashna takes care of the creative work, press releases, and negotiations. They do the merchandising, styling, make fabric choices, and pre-production work together.
“We are different people and do have conflicts. Many times, our thoughts are not in sync. Aanchal takes everything slowly and makes calculated moves while I am more of a risk-taker. The best part is we learn from each other and do what is best for Chicmomz,” Aashna says.
The brand caters to a pan-India audience – mums to be, mumpreneurs, influencers, bloggers, and homemakers.
Started with their personal savings of Rs 2 lakh, they invest all earnings back into the business.
Leveraging social media
The social media handles also created a buzz by focusing on struggles related to pregnancy and motherhood. This high engagement has translated to brand visibility and traction.
“During the pandemic, we used our digital platform efficiently and made the best use of our social media handles. Most of our revenues come from our repeat client base. The brand has been able to make 60 percent profit in two months,” she adds.
Their biggest challenge, like most other businesses, was the onset of the pandemic. Chicmomz was to launch in April 2020, but had to postpone this by a few months. Production stopped during the lockdown, but the startup managed to bounce back by popularising their products through social media.
“We believe in taking one step at a time. We are all set to launch our summer collection of stylish maternity wear. We plan to collaborate with a few baby and mother brands to provide a one-stop-shop for mothers with gifting options,” Aanchal says.
Chicmomz competes with Momzjoy, Monsoon Official, and Zivame in India.
On speaking about being a woman entrepreneur in India, they say one needs to be steadfast and stick to one’s idea. “Strategise, give time to your idea, nurture it, and then go for it. Be a priestess. Trust your intuition,” Aanchal says.
Edited by Teja Lele Desai