If the soul is our internal anchor, clothes are our external persona. They are the mediums of reflecting our identity into the mirror of the beholder’s eyes. Like, funky clothes create a lasting impression by bringing out the childish innocence in us and becoming our defining image. Similarly, kids wearing the precise clothes of their comfort fabric and innate style can make all the difference they need to have the fun and delight they deserve.
Aligning the business model on the excelling principles of quality, luxury, ease, finesse, and personalized style of children, Neha Kedia, a passionate clothing entrepreneur came up with an innovative range of apparel exclusively for kids with a deep understanding of their soft skins, usage, an affinity for colours and convenience. Through Chakori–the innovative clothing venture, Neha the Founder, has been developing amazing and exciting clothing wear for kids in all age groups. Developed with the thought of understanding child psychology and making them comfortable, Neha believes that kids deserve to wear good and skin-friendly clothes.
Speaking with the CIOLOOK India team, Neha overwhelmingly elaborated on her entrepreneurial odyssey of building Chakori as a meaningful and gallant business venture, the challenges faced by her, the logic, and principles implemented, her advice to young professionals, and her vision of guiding Chakori in the progressive horizons.
Please tell us about the saga of your reputed business leadership from the beginning.
It is usually the leader or the founder who drives the business. Here I would say, Chakori has driven us each day to work. The love we have received from day one from our clients has been overwhelming and has been the major motivation for us to curate something new each day. It is like when a teacher appreciates a student, he starts performing even better to stay up to the mark. Similar is the case with us. We have been upgrading ourselves each day since day one of getting into business and have focused on delivering better than yesterday. This is the only driving force in our team.
We do not believe in staying in the same place. Our competition is behind us by yesterday and that is enough for all of us to keep growing even in our personal lives. Our employees have been very loyal, and we have had a zero-attrition rate till now. The reason is self-motivation and appreciation of each other’s work. There is a lot of peer learning culture, and the focus is on self-growth. Being an all-women’s organization, the zeal for teaching and learning from each other is so high that everyone is a leader here. The qualities are so unique in each one of us, and luckily, we have been optimizing them to the core. Business is not a one-man show anymore and when you work as a team, the growth is substantial, and the saga is so personal to each one that we feel the belongingness here.
What was your inspiration behind venturing into the business arena?
Well, I was always willing to start my own venture since my MBA days. But I would say, COVID has been a boon to me. I got time to figure out what exactly my forte was and how I was supposed to execute the same in the form of a business start-up that would add value to all women around me and solve a problem as well. I started as a B2B private label manufacturer majorly for budding women entrepreneurs who had less capital and wanted to own a brand. I started manufacturing garments for them in smaller MOQs helping them establish brands of their own. In 2 years, we helped 13 brands to get onboarded and 9 women entrepreneurs to grow. Today, Chakori is not just a D2C kids’ wear brand but also a small business supporter. We manufacture for brands in small MOQs under private labels and help them grow. We get inspired when we cater to such budding brands and ultimately when they grow, we grow.
What were the initial challenges that you had to surmount to ensure Chakori’s success rate reached greater heights?
Challenges are parallel to every start-up. The initial or the biggest challenge is to start. Once you have started, you have embraced the journey of challenges. But the best part is, you have chosen it. And you start enjoying this within no time. The biggest satisfaction you get is when you never expected your older self to achieve or meet the challenge/milestone and you do it now. I think that’s where you start breaking blocks and start walking toward your vision. Consistency & perseverance is the key. I personally have been wearing different hats each day to ensure that we optimally utilize every opportunity. Keeping the motivation on amongst your team members is the utmost important and challenging thing today.
What leadership skills, values, and qualities do you think your clients admire in you and Chakori the most?
We are very flexible in terms of price points. We have various price products which somewhere fit into the client’s pocket in some or the other way. So none of our clients go empty-handed. We believe in conscious mindful clothing, which is appreciated by our clients, especially being in the kid’s segment, we take care of minute details. We are very quality conscious hence we use the best cotton and focus on comfort and elegant styling.
We are a women-run organization focusing on training semi-skilled laborers, and promoting women’s employment opportunities. It is not always about others admiring your values, but how much you admire your own organization’s culture. Keeping my employees happy is my first responsibility as they are the ultimate ‘Karta-dharta’ of Chakori. Next is our client without whom we cannot sustain. So, we always give our best product and service to keep them satisfied and happy.
What are the USPs that highlight Chakori’s uniqueness in the industry you are catering to?
We are majorly into cotton comfortable styling with very elegant colour play. We are coming up with an AI-based integration that will solve the major problem of sizing amongst kids which parents undergo each day. Every child is unique, and they grow at their own pace irrespective of age. Hence, this is our USP where we are bringing a very user-friendly interactive AI-based feature on our website to enhance the customer buying experience.
As an experienced professional, what would you like to advise the budding aspirants willing to enter the business world?
Today, the only advice I have for everyone around me is we should learn to have patience. If you know what you are doing, things will fall into place very soon. Just have patience and keep going. Believing in oneself and one’s vision is very important. That must be strong to keep you going. There might be good days/bad days, what matters is how you respond to the same.
How do you envision Chakori’s operations with the emerging technologies and automated tools that are revolutionizing the business world by enabling innovations?
Innovation is the key to any business and innovation without technology is next to impossible. Operations must be automated to scale up the business. We are very keen on automated sewing machinery where the time, design, and sewing patterns are now software controlled as it reduces production time for our Karigars. We are looking forward to executing the same as soon as possible. We are also trying to inculcate a complete automated inventory management system which can help in easy tracking of our inventory and help us measure the inventory levels much beforehand to make the inventory planning an easier task for us.