Manali Shenoy Kamat – Heralding the rise of concept clothing in India

Manali Shenoy Kamat – Heralding the Rise of Concept Clothing in IndiaManali Shenoy Kamat is the founder of Indian Concepts, a brand that specialises in creating Indian corporate wear for women. Manali’s entrepreneurial journey began in 2011, when after a six month maternity leave, she decided that she did not want to return to her demanding job in Advertising or pursue a part-time job that would keep her away from her child. Instead, Manali was looking to start a venture that would give her enough time to devote to her home and family.

This was when Manali came up with the idea of creating a niche corporate clothing line for women. Manali shares, “When I was working, I realised that many women including me sometimes, were not very comfortable wearing western wear during meetings.”

Manali believes that many Indian women across all age groups prefer wearing Indian kurtas or kurtis to work. However, very often the designs, colours and fabric of these clothing items available in stores are not suitable for formal business occasions. Manali opines, “I noticed that in the kurtas available in the markets, there was a subtleness that was missing. In western corporate wear, there is a subtleness that is not present in Indian clothing. So we came up with the idea that we would design corporate kurtas that are understated and suitable for office wear. Also we would use soft breathable fabrics, unlike the western outfits that are a little synthetic and not entirely ideal for Indian weather conditions.”

As in the case of most start-ups, Manali too faced her share of challenges but she did not compromise on her dream and novel idea. She received tremendous support from her husband and the project was entirely self-financed by the enterprising couple. She reveals, “The initial idea was to keep our product with multi brand outlets. However, when we approached these retailers they demanded a huge margin which was impossible for us to accommodate. Given that people really liked our product, we decided to explore the online retailing avenue, in spite of not having much experience in this format. In hindsight, it was the right decision.” She adds, “The second challenge was that I had to deal with a lot of suppliers etc. who are mostly men. When these men have to deal with a woman who is more educated or independent than them, they feel threatened. Ultimately we found suppliers who we could gel with and were broadminded enough to accept an independent working woman. Handling a toddler and establishing a business at the same time was of course the biggest challenge.”

Manali believes that the key to establishing a successful online store is finding a good designer and selecting the ideal payment gateway & logistics partners.

Last year, Manali & her husband were invited to participate in the Entre Fair, organised by IIM Ahmedabad, as a platform for promising start-ups and B-school students from all over India to interact with each other.

Manali’s message to working mothers and women entrepreneurs is that they must always seek to balance their work and home life and make a conscious effort to find time for themselves.

We at WEBO Power applaud the pioneering, innovative and independent spirit of Manali and wish her the best in her future endeavours.

To know more, check out Indian Concepts in our Business Listings section.

Interviewed By: Supriya Mathur, Team WEBO Power
Posted On: March 21, 2013

Tags: , , , , , , ,

There are no comments. Be the first to comment.

Post a Comment