More and more women are now coming forward to tread the path of entrepreneurship, fighting the challenges and obstacles coming their way. With the world celebrating International Women’s Day on 8 March, these women entrepreneurs prove that the objective behind proclaiming this special day way back in 1977 — to empower women and promote participation of women as equal partners with men in all spheres of life — has been able to achieve success to a great extent.
A few women entrepreneurs spoke to The Statesman sharing their journey and the hardships faced by them while setting up their businesses. They also said how the online market helped them become independent while fulfilling their roles as mothers and homemakers.
Sarita Malik, a Noida-based woman entrepreneur and owner of Saara Fashions, has worked relentlessly to turn her brand into one of the leading clothing brands on the online platform. Her journey reflects that of many other women from different parts of the country who have found rapid and massive success through the internet and e-commerce.
While establishing her business on Flipkart selling men’s shoes in 2015, handling the orders and packaging was a big task for her but initial challenges did not deter her despite simultaneously managing her young children. Today, she employs several other people and is aiming to foray into other categories and manufacture her own products, growing her business while also taking care of her family.
Hyderabad-based entrepreneur Chitra Vyas, a partner at ShoppingWopping, is another example of motivation and driven women sellers. The recipient of this year’s woman entrepreneur of the year award at the FlipStars event, Chitra began her journey in 2011 in Hyderabad as a product photography service provider for Flipkart. After that, she decided to start her own line of footwear in 2014. Today, she processes 10,000 orders in three days to supply to four warehouses while fielding calls from family and friends.
Bangalore-based entrepreneur Vijetha Netalkar’s journey also reflects the countless other women who have found success through the internet and e-commerce. After working for three years in a major IT solutions provider, Netalkar decided to quit her job and start selling products online, which wasn’t met with much enthusiasm. Taking the plunge, Vijetha started a small business selling handbags, wallets and clutches from humble beginnings. Learning the online business model and combining it with hard work and creativity, Vijetha’s small home business soon saw a massive turnover in 4 years. With logistics support from Flipkart, now her brand JGShoppe is showcasing an exclusive catalogue. She is one of the top women sellers across India and owns a warehouse that caters to orders from Flipkart.
Speaking to The Statesman over telephone, Charu Agarwal shared her views and experience while working in a corporate after finishing her MBA from Mumbai University, when personal issues led to her quitting her job after marriage. As an independent and ambitious woman, she was not content with a lifestyle outside of working, and she decided that the best option for her would be to start her own business. Though she had the drive to develop professionally, she was apprehensive about starting a new venture all by herself, because of the fund requirements and the potential risks. In 2013, she began selling sarees and kurtis through online e-commerce. Today, she has grown her business multi-fold and is one of the top brands in the lifestyle category. It has made her even more independent and has brought her respect from her family and society as well.
The e-commerce industry has helped give wings to the dreams of several women entrepreneurs, from the remotest parts of the country. According to sixth economic census released by the ministry of statistics and programme implementation, women constitute around 14 per cent of total entrepreneurs in the country. Around 8 million out of the total 58.5 million are entrepreneurs.