“Women, they have minds, and they have souls, as well as just hearts. And they've got ambition, and they've got talent, as well as just beauty. I'm so sick of people saying that love is just all a woman is fit for.” - Jo March, Little Women
In India, 45% of the start-ups are run by women, of which over 50,000 are recognised by the government. The country witnessed the most women-led start-ups turning into unicorns in 2021. Source: IBEF Report 2022
Women-led businesses provide a great impetus to the economy. India has 432 million working-age women and 13.5 - 15.7 million women-owned businesses that provide direct employment to 22–27 million people. Moreover, women-led businesses are estimated to grow by 90% in the next five years. Sasha takes a brief look at a few women leaders who are causing a stir in the Fashion World.
“I started my business in 1995 with just two sewing machines and a loan from my father. My sister and I would work out of a small, 300 square foot area and make western outfits for women,”- Anita Dongre, CCO, House of Anita Dongre
Inspired by her mother’s love for fashion and her skill for sewing, Anita was interested in fabrics and fashion since she was a little girl. Anita’s labour of love is now a successful fashion house that currently employs 2700+ people and thousands more indirectly, including artisans in rural villages across India. Today the House of Anita Dongre includes four separate brands, AND, a western wear brand, Global Desi, a contemporary line, Grassroot, a sustainable luxury brand, and a jewellery line Pinkcity.
Sasha applauds Anita’s daring spirit and never-say-die attitude. We recommend #Alorna to suit her personality and perseverance. With a vintage soul and the essence of a spirit of a brand new day, The Alorna’s sun white and golden reflectors with light withered brown lenses inspired from the scenic views and colours of the forts near Goa. You go, Anita!
“There is a reason I do this. There is no brand that is youth-focussed and aspirational, It's not easy to get people to back a youngster with an idea, I was obsessed with building a brand and I went all out to work with the best sporting names” - Anjana Reddy, CEO, USPL
As a child, Anjana Reddy was drawn to sports as a passionate badminton enthusiast. Reddy still plays like a team player in the corporate world as an entrepreneur and sportsperson as well! Considering her very first venture she tells, “I set up a bookstall in school during the parent-teacher meeting in Hyderabad and sold books. I was very happy because I had collected lots of pocket money from that.” says Reddy. And cut to present times, she is in Forbes 30 under 30 list in the Top Young Entrepreneurs Of The Forbes in April 2017. Today, Universal Sportsbiz (USPL) is founded by three famous fashion brands including Collectabillia, Imara, and Wrogn.
Sasha admires Anjana’s sporting spirit with a never-go-down-without-a-fight attitude. We propose #Bromma to suit her idea of confidence and sportsmanship attitude. An ideal frame for a calm yet confident appeal. The Bromma is strong and tastefully bold just like Ms. Reddy.
"Women love the 'hatke', the 'gorgeous stuff', yet product discovery in lifestyle is a very hard problem to solve. There are literally millions of types of products, spread across geographies, it can be very time consuming and frustrating for any user to find lifestyle products in without a great interface," - Suchi Mukherjee, CEO, Limeroad.com
Something struck Suchi when she was on maternity leave at the age of 39. She wanted to be independent and to fill the void for women’s shopping needs in the easiest way possible. The aim was to see a world where all those vendors producing high-quality affordable products became accessible, via an easy-to-use interface to enable the discovery.
The entrepreneurial journey started with LimeRoad in 2012 and has grown in strength since then. Today the platform is seeing very encouraging numbers in terms of 600+ vendors and visual user-generated content 250,000+ units of unique user-generated visual content per month.
Sasha salutes Suchi’s indomitable passion to pursue. We put forward #Ibach our ultimate clubmaster. The Ibach’s quintessential brow-line style is perfect to achieve an equal combination of both class and style. Cheers to Suchi’s hatke style!
“If you know what you’re worth and you’ve adequately demonstrated an ability to deliver the goods, opportunities will open up. I feel if I’m willing to take complete responsibility for the outcomes of my decisions, there is no stopping me. So I took on every challenge that came my way.” - Shilpa Sharma, Co-founder, Jaypore
For the love of colour and art, Shilpa used to paint with oils when she was in college. An artist from the heart and an entrepreneur from the mind, she balanced her love for creating and curating for herself and the world. Jaypore translates the language of crafts into an aesthetic of the modern design. Today Jaypore’s USP is being craft-led. Being India’s best brings forth rare Indian craft and design in contemporary iterations. Following a successful six-year journey online and a newly launched store in Delhi in 2018, and 2 store launches in Bengaluru, Shilpa is in her fifth gear on an uphill journey
Sasha finds the sense of ownership a gifted virtue with Shilpa. We suggest #Mora, the butterfly winged-shaped sunglasses for the girl-next-door with a touch of a free spirit. The Mora is just like her designs and colours of paint which create an earthy silhouette that compliments the wood and its grains. We live on with our art, don’t we Shilpa?
“There are so many women who still go through the trauma of going and buying lingerie from physical stores, manned by salesmen, who are more judgmental than helpful, the awkwardness most women feel. The designs and style sections are lacking too.” - Neha Kant, Founder, Clovia
Neha Kant’s business philosophy is simple to make a difference in people's lives. “Lingerie is not simply to be worn, it must be experienced. Comfort can be cute, so your lingerie need not be a drab affair. Well-fitted lingerie can uplift confidence and mood. You deserve that every day!”
After a decade of experience in corporate India, she decided to address the gap she found in the lingerie market, and along with her husband and a tech founder and lingerie, expert started Clovia. Today Clovia offers more than 200 styles per month and over 75% of its inventory is less than 30 days old. At the moment, Clovia has 12 retail outlets spread across Delhi-NCR, Gujarat, and West Bengal and an in-house design team, and a full-fledged e-Tailoring department for lingerie.
Sasha respects Neha’s fierce love for fashion and its refinement. We recommend #Manaus, the exclusive originator assortment of distinctive irregular geometrical wooden frames, that make you stand apart! And just like the intimate comfort you strive for, The Manaus soothes with its colours and reflectors and looks amazing too.
These stories make us believe that ideas, creativity, and passion are unstoppable if driven by their true intent. The love for our art can truly make a difference in the world. All you have to do is stand in your power.
Sasha is inspired and constantly motivated by such stories, the case in point. These are the real women of power, who put passion into creating something new from scratch! We hope These stories put the wind beneath your wings and you soar higher and higher...
We are eager to learn more from you because this list never ends; it only begins here. Meanwhile, here’s wishing a very powerful International Women’s Day from our team to yours.