Meet the women entrepreneurs ruling the small business space and other top stories of the week
From Indian ethnic wear to plant-based clean eating, this week, SMBStory brought you stories of inspiring women entrepreneurs who are meeting the demands of their home country and impacting at a global level.
These women have built their businesses from scratch, which are bootstrapped and have strong goals to fulfil.
Aparna Thyagrajan was just 12-years-old when she first sewed a dress for her sister Ambika on her second birthday from an old saree.
As Aparna grew up, her love for artisanal products and designs grew deeper. Ambika also picked up interest, and the sister duo connected with many artisans and weavers directly to buy sarees for themselves. This was Aparna’s first stint with Indian ethnic fashion.
After getting married in 2002, Aparna moved to Seattle, but what she missed the most was shopping for authentic Indian ethnic wear.
“Buying Indian ethnic wear in the US was not a very satisfying experience. I always felt short-changed for variety and quality. During one of my visits to India in 2018, I was working with a zardosi artist for sarees that Ambika and I were designing for ourselves for an event. The karigar suggested we start a boutique and that he would work with us,” Aparna tells SMBStory.
Aparna put out the idea of starting an Indian ethnic fashion brand that would cater to the demands emerging from outside India. And the sisters-duo startedin March 2019.
Aparna started by selling 15 sarees, and in just two years, Shobitam is shipping products to over 30 countries. The brand has witnessed over 300 percent annual growth in the last two years and had an annual turnover of Rs 9 crore in FY21.
It has more than 1,000 products listed on its website, and is featured as one of the top stores on Etsy, Aparna claims.
Kirti Yadav had multiple health issues and was tired of visiting several doctors for treatment when she decided to take the matter into her own hands. She started looking for ways to treat her health issues naturally.
“People say accha khao, sehat acchi hogi (eat good food, and you’ll be healthy), but who cares about eating a proper healthy balanced diet every day? It was the same with me. But when I started my research on this and talked to various people, everybody would say change your lifestyle. That’s when I thought, as I’ve tried everything else, let me give this a shot too,” says Kirti, in a chat with SMBStory.
Today, the 38-years-old is a certified nutritionist and the owner of Bengaluru-based, a marketplace for plant-based vegan snacks, foods, and essentials.
Kirti started this journey in 2019 through a Facebook group. She incorporated her marketplace in January 2021, and within seven months, Kirti claims to have earned Rs 14 lakh in revenue, despite being bootstrapped.
She even introduced her private label besides onboarding local vendors on her e-store and caters to customers in Bengaluru, Pune, and Delhi. She has also recently started supplying to the US and Europe through collaborations.
Other top stories of the week:
was started in Kolkata as a trading company for ferrous and non-ferrous metals in 1984 by Raghav Gupta’s grandfather and father, Sanjeev Gupta.
In the 1990s, the team wanted to diversify into other categories and started scouting for opportunities to explore. Around 1996, they found an opportunity in the food processing industry equipment space.
“In those times, FMCG companies were desperate to ramp up production-related technologies and increase capacities. They required equipment of a particular category, which were not easily available in India,” says Raghav.
Kanchan Metals decided to start supplying food processing machines to Indian food companies. Gradually, it transitioned completely into this new model and moved away from the trading of metals.
The company began by importing machines for making snacks and diversified into other categories like bakery, frozen foods, namkeen, instant foods, etc.
In 2012, Kanchan Metals went through a turning point with some key developments like becoming a contract manufacturer for ITC Limited.
Moreover, it opened a new facility in Greater Noida for manufacturing chips under ITC’s label and brand Bingo!. This was also the year when the company shifted base from Kolkata to Noida.
Today, the company counts over 1,000 companies in its clientele, including leading FMCG companies, like, , , ITC, , and several small and medium food businesses.
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