Hetal Desai, the co-founder of The Indian Ethnic Co., spoke to SheThePeople about how she started her own company at the age of 53 because of her love for textiles. Here’s her story:
“I started my business at 53 out of sheer love for textiles and having a purpose in life. I studied textiles in college. I used to design clothes for myself and then, as I got married, I shifted from Gujarat to Mumbai. Here I opened a small studio for designing clothes and had a few famous artists as customers too. But after my kids were born, I focused on bringing them up and channeled my passion for designing clothes for my girls.
In 2016, my daughters went to college and I was left to myself, so I thought, why not build something again with the skill and love I have for textiles? I started at @theindianethnicco. I had visited an exhibition, bought a number of fabrics randomly and made a few pairs of kurtas and palazzos in the size of my daughters. We uploaded photos with prices on social media. I said, “Agar nahi chala toh yeh kapre hum e pehen lenge.(If it doesn’t work, we’ll wear it).” The very next day, we got an order from Goa. Within a year, we even had one international order.
In 2018, we saw some overwhelming numbers. I didn’t believe in myself as much as my customers did. I was still working from my home, and our apartment was my office and storage. For months, we barely had space to live, let alone invite guests over. So we decided to buy a storage space because buying an office or studio was still like a dream.
Suggested Reading: I Left My Job To Become A Pastry Chef In Paris, Says Disha Ekal
My elder daughter was working at an MNC and she saw potential in this, left her job and joined me full-time here. We hired more women to help with the orders. My husband was handling the accounts. We opened our website that year. I was an amateur with technology, so I worked hard with it.
Slowly, with more orders coming in, we grew bigger with our first office in 2020. Reels were introduced that year and we thought we would do something different for our saree launch. My daughters danced to a song wearing the sarees and that went viral. Within a day, we were sold out of all the sarees. This changed our lives for the better.
We now have 3 offices and a studio with a 10 crore turnover.
I teach the new employees how to handle the website. I have empowered myself when women tend to retire and I choose to empower more women in the future. Age shouldn’t limit you to achieving anything; it should only let you grow. ” Watch the video here.
Featured Image Credit: Lekhinee Desai’s Instagram