How An IIM Grad Started Indofash, Inspired by Artisans
A start-up showcasing traditional Indian designs online is the brainchild of Pallavi Mohadikar. An IIM-Lucknow alumnus, Pallavi started Indofash eight months ago to offer a wide range of Indian textile products to online fashion buyers. The 24-year-old, who started with a team of five, has provided weavers and artisans a new platform to showcase their products.
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Pallavi had no background of business before starting ‘Indofash’. So what led her to set up this venture?
“My roots! I belong to a weaver family from Vidarbha. My grandfather was a weaver and he used to weave beautiful Kosa silk sarees. I spent most of my summer holidays, dancing to the sound of loom. He is an inspiration behind this venture. I have seen a weaver’s life very closely. I want to work closely with them and give them a direct platform to sell their art directly to global audience, while eliminating the middlemen who eat up most of the profits,” Pallavi told Shethepeople.TV.
After her MBA, Pallavi got an opportunity to work with Goldman Sachs in the US. Pallavi has also been a scholar of electronics and communication engineering from College of Engineering, Pune. After her graduation, she worked at an IT firm for two years before heading to the arena of business and management. This was the place where the first seed of her interest in entrepreneurship was sown.
When Pallavi joined the IIM in Lucknow, she went out with her dad to explore the local Indian market and witnessed some of the beautifully done work by Indian artisans. Pallavi met hundreds of artisans and weavers and was completely spellbound seeing their hand-woven varieties of Chikankari and other fabrics. That’s when she thought of starting Indofash and finally raised funds from family and friends to start the venture.
Asked how she would describe her journey to set up Indofash, Pallavi tells SheThePeople.TV, “This journey has been a roller-coaster ride with lots of ups and downs. Launching an international website was a milestone. Overwhelming response from the international audience to this concept boosted our morale! Also, the most motivating event I would say has happened recently. We have raised funds from a well-known angel investor. We are now aggressively expanding into international markets.”
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Of course, there have been challenges.
“These arts and crafts are scattered in all corners of the country. So getting a supply chain in place is a challenge on the operations side. Getting (the) right people on board is the biggest challenge I believe. Also, as I come from middle-class Maharashtrian family, convincing my parents to give up a high paying stable job and do something on my own was a challenge for me.”