I started 6 yards plus from my home. The bedroom would be the stock room and I would take photos at the dining table. The business constituted only me, and the occasional family member who would be cajoled into helping me out.
And I would probably have continued to operate at that level had it not been for well-wishers who saw more in me than i saw myself, and believed that I was worthy of their trust.
One such person was Anamika. She was, of course, super supportive of the idea of the enterprise- of making sarees fun, affordable and part of everyday wear. But as usual, she goes 10 steps further than most people
Our first face to face interaction with customers was at the TATA BSS Apna Bazaar in Dec 2017. She said, can you do it, I said of course, and then started worrying about how I'd do it 😀.
We put together a collection of sarees, blouses and blouse pieces as well as some jewellery. Amma and I handwrote the tags and manually coded everything.
I didn't have anyone working for me, so I shanghaied a former colleague and Saroja, my household helper at the time, into helping me at the stall. Amma, of course was a constant presence. That is how our retail journey started.
Apna Bazar was a runaway success. I did not imagine I would every see revenue like that! Or that the response to our products would be that positive. And what it did to me as an entrepreneur is tremendous.
It made me believe that Six Yards Plus was destined for growth and that the idea I'd had wasn't just a flash of inspiration. It made business sense and had a market. And that transformation, I believe is key for every entrepreneur.
I hired my first full-time staff in December 2017 shortly after Apna Bazar. We moved to a small office in February 2018, and then to a much larger adda in February 2019.
From just blouse pieces, we expanded our product range to over 30 weaves from 12 across states of India. The value created by a transparent and ethical business to the entire ecosystem is so apparent to me.
Livelihoods of 10 people directly, consistent and increasing business to the weaver supply chain, loyal and wonderful clients, 4 retail locations, a small set of awards and appreciation behind us, we are determined to do our best by our suppliers, staff and clients.
And it all started with Apna Bazar for us. So here's a toast of gratitude to Conneqt Business Solutions (Formerly TATA BSS) for believing in us. We promise to make you proud.