by Ishani Dutt Sarkar, Founder, Half2five
Nature of business: Children’s clothing line in ethnic cotton fabrics
Been in business since: Oct 2012
Advice to aspiring women entrepreneurs: Do not let fear. Stand in the way of taking the plunge and once you do, never lose sight of the goal. And finally, do not do it if you don’t love it!
A lot has been said about women being able to multitask, but I really think what makes a successful woman entrepreneur is the tenacity that comes with being a woman. Being in the children’s garment business, manufacturing plays a very important role, and manufacturing being a male dominated area, remains a tough spot, that we at Half 2Five have been battling with since day one. Frankly, we still continue to grapple with prejudices that are rampant. Though organised labour is the larger issue, it’s dealing with the mind set that was more difficult.
Much learning happened on the job when we realized that while sourcing material we were being overcharged by almost everyone from vendors to suppliers. Once we went sourcing for things like embellishments, we were shocked to find that the quoted rates in the wholesale market were higher than the retail market. There are incidents like this that made me and my teams toughen up and learn real fast. We realized that unless one’s dresses up and talks in a businesslike manner, vendors and suppliers tend to take you for a ride.
That according to me is the first and foremost challenge that women entrepreneurs face in India today. It’s time that people stopped looking at the Indian businesswoman as someone who is out there to have fun and is not serious about a business venture. In the days and age when entrepreneurship is on the rise, there also needs to be more incentives that need to be given out to women entrepreneurs right from revised tax slabs to subsidized fees for business registration.
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