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Meet Shikha Bhangadia, a successful woman entrepreneur and the face behind the flourishing clothing line, Shibhana.
When you have a passion for something, it cannot stay hidden for long. This is true in the case of Shikha Bhangadia, who runs an Indo-Western clothing label called, Shibhana. Here is her journey from being a HR professional to a successful entrepreneur today.
The name Shibhana sounds unique and as you would have guessed, it is simply a combination of her first name and last name. Shikha says, “Shibhana is an Indo-western clothing label based out of Mumbai, and is all about simple shapes, impeccable finish and maximum feasibility, tinged with grace and elegance. Every dress that has the label Shibhana is unique, appealing and most of all, a statement of class. Shibhana’s collection includes designer and affordable cocktail dresses, sarees, blouses and dupattas for every occasion.”
Shibhana caters to all age groups from teenager to senior citizens.
Shikha recalls, “From my college days in Delhi, I had a passion for dressing up well and was an authority on style and fashion for the entire family. My college days helped in molding my goal to be a trend setter in fashion.”
After working for 8 years as a corporate human resources professional, she entered the recruitment field as a business partner in Mumbai but her dreams were set elsewhere. Shikha adds, “I realized at that point that I must launch my own clothing label since I was always clear on one thing – whatever I start, it would be related to fashion. My sense of observation for style and fashion ignited the dormant talent in me. What helped in a big way was my creative side and business minded approach, both essential qualities required for running a successful venture.”
Shikha spent time in understanding the market before taking the leap, weighing all the options available. She says, “I did a year-long research visiting shopping malls, fabric shops, boutiques, etc. to understand their trends and functioning etc. This kind of research combined with my passion gave me the much needed push to start a little thing of own, and that created Shibhana.” Also, guidance and knowledge from acquaintances that are into the fashion business for some time helped her to get things started.
She finds Anita Dongre and her brand story truly inspiring and motivating. Talking about Anita Dongre, Shikha reveals, “Starting from one of the rooms of her home to having a plethora of stores globally is simply phenomenal and commendable.”
Shikha says, “Without any prior knowledge or experience, it was initially tough to figure out from where and how to begin. Thanks to technology, I could get all the required details online, right from identifying tailor to fabrics to sourcing vendors.”
She feels that social media such as facebook, instagram and whatsapp are extremely useful in setting up and running a business these days. In fact she gets to do more business through such social media platforms than the offline mode.
She adds, “Initially it was slow as it took time for people to know my brand but as and when traffic started to increase and with people building trust, sales started picking up. So, I do take orders online and get reasonable business too.”
Shibhana’s collection is available to buy from other online ethnic stores like Mirraw , Craftsvilla and Voonik.
Shikha feels that exhibitions are the best platforms to get clients on board. She adds, “Having said that, I too started exhibiting at one of the Mumbai suburb and then slowly and gradually started moving to other suburbs and shows. Today, I exhibit twice or thrice in a month pan Mumbai. Regularity is also a key here as the more you exhibit, the more people remember you and start building trust, failing which they easily switch to other exhibitors.”
Also, she mainly focuses on simplicity, elegance and value for money that she believes to be a winning combination in the long run.
Shikha keeps in touch with the fashion trends online and has subscription to related magazines. She reveals, “There is always the pressure to perform and a constant need to prove oneself. It was surely a challenge to start my own clothing label without any background or education in fashion, handle the finances and take care of the business. Then there is the identifying of good tailors and sources for fabrics, thinking of creative designs, getting work from karigars, photo shoots, accounting and lastly marketing all together.”
Since the beginning, she has been handling all this single-handedly without any external help, but then she adds, “Also, immense support from my husband and family keeps me going.”
Ask her about the challenges and she broadly classifies them into three that any entrepreneur faces – the right product, the right price and the right marketing strategy. She also adds, “But, if one has the passion and perseverance, the challenges become easier to deal with. It is not only important to create a profitable business, but you should also enjoy managing it and make it grow.”
Having a venture of her own has its own perks says Shikha. She adds, “First and foremost, I am able to pursue my decades long passion. Secondly, I can be my own boss, set my own targets, follow my own rules and I am not bound to do a 9 to 5 sort of arrangement.” She says that every day is a new day at work as nothing is fixed as such.
She adds, “On an average, my day generally starts with completing any leftover orders, working out with team on new designs, updating social media links with new designs and other updates.”
When asked about her high moment being an entrepreneur, she says “There is never a dull moment when you are an entrepreneur; every day is an adventure, with new challenges and learning from experience.
Having said that, I would like to share one high moment with you- what eight years of HR corporate experience could not do, I got to experience it in less than 2 years of my entrepreneurship.
Doordarshan interviewing my entrepreneurship journey for one of their show – Paisa Vasool – was definitely a memorable incident.” Also appreciation from clients, when the designed outfit exceeds their expectations is always special to her.
With regards to expanding Shibhana, Shikha says that apart from making her team of workers and artisans bigger, she is hoping to start offline stores too. Also she has plans to making her brand available in other online market places like Amazon, Flipkart, Myntra, Jabong etc.
She concludes with a message, “Believe in yourself – I try not to give up on something I believe in and never lose hope. Also, keep your cool and always try to be a warm and friendly person by serving your clients with a smile.”
Here are the social media links and website of Shibhana – facebook, instagram – shibhanastyle and website.
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Image source: Shikha Bhangadia.
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