18 May 2019, 10:00 — 4 min read
Enterprise: Nirmala Sarees
Founder: Nirmala Row
Industry: Fashion & Fashion Accessories
Year it was founded: 1986
Based out of: Mumbai
Born and brought up in Mysore, Nirmala Row completed her law studies and was a practicing advocate at the Mysore and Karnataka High Court. After marriage she relocated to Mumbai and with the birth of her son found it challenging to pursue law. In 1986 she decided to capitalise on her flair for designing and started Nirmala Sarees. The business had a modest start from a room in her home, but within a year the sales turnover of her sarees and fabric was so good that she opened a store in Marol, Mumbai. Since then Nirmala Sarees has opened a second store and their products are exported to Singapore, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka and exhibited in US, UK and France.
Nirmala Row shares her business journey in conversation with GlobalLinker (GL).
GL: Tell us about your business.
Nirmala: I always had an interest in fashion designing and this is what led me to establish Nirmala Sarees in 1986. I found that there was a big market for good quality sarees, with the right colors, in silk and cotton from our traditional weavers. This involved going to remote villages all over India. By 1990, I also started manufacturing ethnic dresses, blouses, kurtis, choli sets etc, made from silk, polyester fabrics and cotton. A major specialisation is our bridal wear, which is custom made. Nirmala Sarees provides employment to about 20 sales and manufacturing staff. As a woman entrepreneur, I give preference is given to women workers, and nurture talent by providing training on the job.
In recent years, the saree has become a garment worn only on special occasions, and today the young generation does not even know how to drape a saree. My mission is to ensure that the saree is back in the limelight it deserves as a garment!
GL: How did you foray into exports?
Nirmala: Due to a huge Indian diaspora in almost every country of the world, there is a large market for Indian ethnic wear. To increase sales, we started participating in exhibitions to showcase our products around the world. We have held exhibitions in US, France and UK. The show at the downtown Hyatt Regency at Chicago was a total sold out. Our export journey started in 2008. We decided to concentrate our export efforts in Singapore, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bangladesh. Nirmala Sarees is a recognised brand name in these countries as there in a large Indian origin population there.
GL: What is a major challenge you face?
Nirmala: In recent years, the saree has become a garment worn only on special occasions, and today the young generation does not even know how to drape a saree. Thus, sales are declining. It has been my mission to popularise our traditional sarees. Designing new garments, fabric sourcing and the right colour combinations, with embellishments, is what keeps sales up. Moreover, export markets are price sensitive but if the quality and design is good, a better price realisation is possible.
GL: What is a business dream that motivates you?
Nirmala: My mission is to ensure that the saree is back in the limelight it deserves as a garment!
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Posted byGlobalLinker Staff
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