19 Feb 2016, 10:08 — 9 min read
Imagine overcoming incredible odds to follow your passion and establish a business that has not only carved a niche for itself in a short span of time, but also empowers and employs many housewives who are on the path to becoming self-reliant. Triveni Hebbar’s entrepreneurial journey is an example of such grit & determination and reflects her commitment to enable women through her business.
After a successful career of working for various garment buying houses, Triveni established her own business – Intelli-Fab in 2012 in a modest one-bedroom apartment, with limited finances. In a matter of a few years, her manufacturing unit has grown tremendously and she now employs more than 50 women and produces over 25,000 pieces a month. She has acquired several big clients and has also launched her own fashion label, Arshi.
Triveni believes that it is imperative for women to be financially independent. In her unit, she has employed housewives who are trained to become skilled workers. She has also provided a crèche for the children of these women, so that they may work with the ease of knowing that their young ones are well looked after. Triveni is passionately working towards accomplishing her dream and along the way empowering other women as well. She brims with positivity and creative ideas to take her business to greater heights.
GlobalLinker (GL) spoke to Triveni about her passion for fashion, fabrics and design and her endeavour to enable and empower women through her business.
Excerpts from the interview.
GL: Tell us about your journey in establishing Intelli-Fab.
Triveni: I am basically a fashion designer and I have done a course in merchandising. I was born and brought up in Mangalore. In 1994, after completing my graduation, I moved to Bangalore. I started working in several garment manufacturing units and buying houses for various international brands like Target from US, Walmart and Next. When I had my baby, I wanted to avoid extensive travel, so I decided to explore Indian retail.
This is the time I joined Reliance Trends. Earlier my focus was in Western wear but in Reliance Trends I worked with a team on Indian ethnic wear. I was exposed to a lot of Indian styles like Indian kurtis, salwar suits etc. As this was new and interesting for me, I decided to pursue a career in this field. I started my own business in 2012 December.
I took up a small one-bedroom apartment on rent and started manufacturing garments from there. Initially, I had two people working for me. I started designing and presenting my products to various Indian retailers like Reliance Trends, Westside, Arvind Mega Mart, Mom & Me. They were impressed with my collection and I started getting bigger orders. Now I have my own manufacturing unit of 50 machines. Every month, I manufacture around 25,000 pieces.
I have also launched my own brand called, ‘Arshi’. Right now it is available on ecommerce sites like Flipkart and Amazon. I am expanding this slowly.
GL: What draws you to fashion?
Triveni: I am drawn to Indian colours, prints and silhouettes. When you travel all over India, you realise that each state has its distinct style of dressing. I love to explore Indian traditional designs and every season I try to do something new. It could be handprints from Rajasthan or embroidery from Kutch.
Most of my designs are in the pure cotton range. I also draw inspiration from Indian monuments and temples. I am passionate about my work. I want to grow in this field and take Indian traditional designs and silhouettes to an international level. My dream is to be one of the top ten brands in the world. I am also doing a little experiment with fusion wear – juxtaposing western silhouettes with Indian prints and colours.
GL: Your website is very clean & up-to-date. How important do you believe is a robust digital presence in building your brand?
Triveni: A strong digital presence definitely plays a crucial role. You see, I am fashion designer and know all about my product but I don’t know much about marketing. I know I have the potential in me to market my goods but I don’t know how to go about it. I want to be able to use digital media to showcase my talent and products and widen my client base.
Also I believe that GlobalLinker is an excellent forum for small enterprises to market their product and network with other businesses.
GL: What was the thought behind naming your company ‘Intelli-Fab’?
Triveni: My product is for a working woman. We, Indian women, who work in the corporate sector, have to look modern but retain our tradition as well. Intelli-Fab is for such an ‘intelligent’ woman who is looking to strike the perfect balance between the modern and traditional. My own brand is called Arshi which is one of the names of goddess Durga and according to me she epitomises woman power. She is the most powerful Indian goddess and we worship her.
GL: What are the challenges you have faced in establishing your business?
Triveni: Being a woman we play several roles. I am not only an entrepreneur but also a wife, mother, sister and daughter-in-law. Women have much more inner strength to balance these roles. Whether it’s my child’s education, or looking after my home and taking care of my aged parents - I am managing everything so sometimes it becomes a bit hectic. But I know that I have to do it all.
One of the major challenges I have faced is in raising finances. When you wish to start something new, it’s hard to procure a loan. It took me 3 years to get a bank loan. I have faced many challenges but I view everything very positively. I am quick to grab opportunities and believe in moving forward confidently.
GL: What are your thoughts on women’s empowerment?
Triveni: I believe that women must be independent because it is a woman who gives birth to a child, a new life, and she is responsible for that life. There are many women who face a lot of problems in life and are oppressed. Women must take on the challenge to earn a livelihood and ensure that their children are educated. They have to be extremely aware, empowered and courageous. Every woman must be financially independent and self-reliant.
In my manufacturing unit, we hire housewives who have small children. We train them and help them to earn a living. We also have a small crèche for their children. This makes it easy for them to take care of their children as well as work. I have 70 people working with me. I am so blessed to have them with me because they are really hard working and committed. It’s challenging to deliver goods on time but my team works day and night to meet all the deadlines.
I myself have gone through lot of challenges in my life but I am a positive person. Whatever happens, I just think, ‘this is happening for good’ and I move on in life. I am fond of Indian classical music & dance and I really enjoy pursuing this passion. I go for classes every day and I also give performances.
GL: How has your family supported you in your entrepreneurial journey?
Triveni: My husband is confident about me. When I told him that I want to do something, he was ecstatic. He encouraged and supported me and gave me confidence that ‘yes you can do it.’ My mother-in-law is also a huge support. She takes care of the house when I go out. My parents too have always believed in me and encouraged me to pursue my dreams. I am fortunate to also have some wonderful friends who are a constant source of encouragement.
GL: What is your message to aspiring entrepreneurs?
Triveni: If you are passionate about something, please take it up. Don’t hesitate. Nothing comes easy, that is for sure. You have to struggle in life but that definitely pays. Initially when you start something new, it is a challenge. But if you are passionate, just go ahead and do it. Somewhere, something will help and your dream will definitely come true. Challenges are there but you have to be very positive in life. That is an important message that I want to give everyone. Be positive.
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Posted byGlobalLinker Staff
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