First she picked her business skills with an MBA and then she let her ambition to do the job. Meet Meghna Gandhi, the founder of Ribbon Candy who finally made true her dream to be a mompreneur by setting up a business in hair accessories. In her own words, the rise of a homegrown label.
I am an Investment Banker turned mompreneur, wife and mother. My formal training is in
the field of finance. I have an MBA from NMIMS, Mumbai. Entrepreneurship was heavily ingrained in me since childhood. I have watched my father launch his own business, learn, fail, grow and be successful. It makes quite an impression. At the same time, I realised I was always been passionate about creating. I love handmade stuff. Given a choice, I will buy a product that is handcrafted.
Ribbon Candy was born partly out of this desire to launch my own brand and partly because of an experiment that I did when designing birth announcement boxes upon my elder daughter’s birth. I wanted to do something out of the box, pardon the pun. I watched tutorial videos online and learned how to make little bows and trims to decorate the boxes.
The birth announcement was a hit and one thing led to another. I soon received enquiries for the designs. I put those DIY skills to good use, watched some more videos and Ribbon Candy was born selling hand-crafted hair accessories. After about 5 years in the hair accessories space, I realised there was a gap in high-quality, comfortable and well-fitted casuals and party-wear for little girls. Ribbon Candy started its apparel line for little girls and our USP is natural fabrics such as cotton and linen, that are skin-friendly, eco-friendly, breathable, non-toxic and gentle on the skin.
My aim with the brand:
A homegrown label that makes handmade apparel for little girls. We believe in creating comfortable, beautiful, skin friendly and 100% organic apparel for little girls and boys while being sustainable and eco-friendly at the same time. The inspiration behind the brand are my own daughters and just like all mothers, I believe that little princesses deserve the best of care and comfort. All our products are made with natural fabrics and hand-crafted by local artisans. Our ethos lies in inclusive growth – we thus focus on employing under-privileged women from around our vicinity.
Small is beautiful
We are a small business with big dreams. We are bootstrapping and hence we are not technologically very advanced. We don’t have enough budgets for marketing and our scale is also not very big. As a result, we are unable to compete with our competitors. Our sales are growing slowly but they could be much more with some help. With the limited resources we have, whether to invest in marketing, technology or better administration is the question that I face daily.
The biggest benefits of a small company that we enjoy are:
- We can pivot easily: As soon as the pandemic hit, we started making masks for the needy (as charity) but when we saw the demand, we started commercially making them and eventually also made masks to match the outfits.
- Costs are controlled
Expanding the business post COVID:
Our business (in the accessories space) is booming! We sold matching, pure cotton comfortable masks for kids and adults; we have always had a strong online presence – which is now working to our advantage; we saw the need for ‘jewellery’ and we made a large collection of jewellery for kids for the festive season. In the apparel space, our collection just got launched on Myntra, AJIO and other leading platforms. We are looking at first signs of success from there too.
Three Things I would share:
1. Start small, but dream big – Value each and every resource – however small. Bootstrap and conserve.
2. Focus on strengths – Focus on the strengths of the entire team and constantly work on weaknesses
3. Seek help and don’t give up – Don’t be ashamed to seek for help and lastly, don’t give up, just be at it!