[100 Emerging Women Leaders] Meet Prerna Mehra, who started an Indian clothing brand at just 17
Prerna Mehra, who is a successful entrepreneur today, had always had an urge to make her mark. The urge was so strong that she started her fashion venture, Label Prerna Mehra, in 2014, at just seventeen!
“I never liked having a non-productive day,” says Prerna, displaying her ambitious spirit. “I’ve always been fearful of not being able to do everything that I want to do in the time that I have.”
Reflecting on her journey, the entrepreneur says, “I think I’ve had a lot of positive accidents through my journey that have helped me move and navigate; I am grateful for all of them.” Starting an Indian wear label was one of the “positive accidents”.
So, how did it all happen?
When her neighbour asked her to put up a stall for a summer fest, Prerna opted for a clothing stall, which led her to a fabric store.
“I remember being mesmerised looking at the colours and the fabrics. I created around 30 sarees, mixing and matching prints. I went a little overboard and created a logo, a Facebook page, labels, business cards, etc. Upon starting, I also borrowed Rs 33,000 from my granddad,” she recalls.
Once she realised she needed a bigger platform to execute her efforts, Prerna abandoned the summer fest idea and instead displayed the collection at her house during the weekends. Her hard work paid off, and the collection sold well.
“I returned the money to my grandad by the end of Sunday, and I thought to myself that maybe this could be something,” says the entrepreneur.
Prerna started creating pieces for people in the age group of 25 to 28 years, who couldn’t afford to spend a lot but nonetheless wanted interesting pieces that they could “mix and match”. Soon she realised that people of all age groups were responding positively to the brand.
There has been no looking back for Prerna after the initial sweet success. At present, her label offers gowns, jumpsuits, and other separates, apart from the signature ruffled sarees targeting the millennial women. A lot of her personal style is reflected in the clothes she makes.
The young entrepreneur launched the label’s website right after the COVID-19 lockdown in September 2021.
Initially, the entrepreneur faced hesitation from her grandparents as they were not satisfied with her professional choice. “At home, it was a little hard, in terms of being a female. My grandparents were not happy with me modelling for my label and the influencer content creation bit,” she shares.
However, nothing stopped Prerna. As someone who had always been stubborn with her choices, she chose not to compromise and worked hard for her label’s success. She created influencer-driven content and modelled for her label.
Prerna believes she knew the pulse of her audience right from the beginning.
When it comes to the fashion industry, she does not believe that there is a code to crack. “Taking a small step at a time and being consistent is the key to making it work,” she says.
According to Prerna, being stubborn with what you want and not compromising your dreams is the way to go for women entrepreneurs.
Drawing from her experiences, she says, “It’s important to take everyone that’s hard on us in the best way we can, internally, while still standing up and telling them not to be hard on us for something for which they would not react similarly to our male counterparts.”
Prerna recalls the time when, upon sharing her idea of starting a stall with her grandfather, she was asked to reveal her business plan. She says such a question would not have arisen had it not been a woman at the other end.
However, she states that the plan, which she did not have ready then, eventually helped her in her business. This is where her advice to consider inputs positively and seek their practical application stems from.
Today Prerna is a successful entrepreneur whose brand is growing with the rising sun. When she elatedly says, “We can really do it all,” we tend to agree with her.
Edited by Swetha Kannan