I was born and brought up in Pune and am currently based out of Bangalore. I graduated in Social Work from Pune University. I am married and blessed with two daughters. In the past, I have worked with companies like AT&T. After my kids were born, I decided to take a sabbatical. After some years, I founded Winakki Kids. I have always been interested in fashion, technology, reading and watching movies.
Tell us about the Winakki Kids
‘Winakki Kids’ is a kids clothing company which specialises in the creation of special dresses for toddlers and girls between the ages of tow and six. The brand formally came into existence in June 2013. By March 2014, Winakki Kids was online on Myntra, Flipkart and Mybabycart. Currently we have a presence on portals like Amazon and Paytm as well. Great designs, superior product quality and child-friendly designs along with astute pricing strategy set Winakki Kids apart.
Why did you set up the company?
After my kids were born I took some time off. Since childhood I always had this streak of creativity in me. I always wanted to get into fashion but I wasn’t really sure which segment I should enter into. I would say Winakki Kids was a fortunate stroke of serendipity. With the kids and the amount of time I was spending on their clothing, I thought this was apt for me to start something with.
Basically women, especially mothers of girls, spend a lot on our kids’ dresses. The clothes available for girls are pretty expensive especially if we go for party wear. They start at around Rs 2,000 to 3,000 and not everybody can afford that. Winakki Kids was born out of my passionate interest and was meant to solve my own issue of relevant, comfortable and well-priced, dressy and party clothes for my children. So the range that Winakki Kids came out with is good semi party wear which your kid can wear to occasions or parties and at a very good price. This idea caught the interest of some stores in Bangalore and I started supplying to them. This is how I started my own brand.
What has been your biggest challenge in achieving your success?
Becoming an entrepreneur and starting your own thing is always a challenge. It includes a big risk. Leaving a well-paying job, managing the monetary aspect, bringing together a team, making them believe in the idea – the list goes on. There is always that one point when you feel like quitting. But then you realise that’s not how you wanted it to go. And you decide to just keep going on. You just pursue your dream because you know at the end it’ll be worth all the hardships.
What has been your greatest achievement so far?
Every dress we make is an achievement for us. When someone comes up to me and says, “hey you are doing a great job”, that is an achievement to me. Customers liking our products and coming back to us is an achievement for us. But talking about a specific achievement in the business, from February to April 2015 we were listed in the top ten girls brands on Myntra.
Who has been your biggest inspiration?
To be honest watching the movie Erin Brockovich inspires me – she’s a woman with no means and no proper job but struggles for what she believes and eventually achieves her goal.
How do you balance your work life and home life?
I won’t say one can balance it completely. For me it has always been easy to manage both the fronts. The reason being I love my work. When you love what you do, you don’t feel like you are working. You put your heart and soul into it. It becomes a part of your life. Also I feel a good support system is a vital element for a balanced life. I have got a great support system in my husband, kids, family and friends. I believe in giving my best to both fronts without compromising one for the other.
What advice do you have for women starting out on their own?
Basically three things:
- Do your homework well. Research the industry and the happenings. Network with people.
- Have patience. Rome was not built in a day. Things will fall into place. Just don’t give up.
- Chase your dreams but at the same time be realistic and practical as well. Not every day is a sunny day. Life is all about highs and lows. Enjoy the highs and confront the lows.
One has to a realistic about what they do, sometimes the smart thing is to quit and one should show courage to do this.
Can you recommend any organisations or networking groups that have particularly helped you on your journey?
I am not attached to any particular organisation, however on this journey, through friends and family I am connected to some people who give the right advice, in that they don’t hold back if they think what I am doing is wrong or downright silly. I am able to accept their advice, though sometimes we have heated arguments but all in good humour because I know that they are offering their assistance so that I can do well.
How did you get started?
Initially to understand how the business works we started with attending exhibitions and selling our products there. In the long run I knew that it was not the way forward and had to figure out a way of distributing the goods to different locations. We were fortunate to get a lead into Total Mall and started work there in 2013. In 2014 we were seeing the boom in e-commerce and it made sense to be available online thus Myntra.com came into the picture.
How well do you think your daughters adjust to your life? How much are they a part of it?
I would say it is the other way round. I plan and schedule my days according to my kids. I am a hands-on mom and am there for them 24X7. Having said that, it doesn’t mean that I compromise with my work. I won’t say I am a pro at it but over the years I have learned to handle both lives with equal ease.
As far as the involvement of my daughters is concerned, they are the heart and soul of Winakki. Let me mention here that Winakki is a portmanteau of their nicknames Winnie and Akki.
Do you see your children following your footsteps sometime in the future?
I believe we should make our passion our profession. I will give them complete liberty to choose their own career path. They are too young to decide anything now but I would love to see them finding their own way and turning into entrepreneurs. But at the end of the day it’ll be their call.
If you could ask for one thing to help propel your business what would it be?
Access to different fabrics easily!
What does the future hold for you?
New opportunities, business expansion and success!