Entering into Garment Manufacturing Business - An Entrepreneur’s Journey

This is our second post on the ‘Entrepreneur’s Story’.

We have interviewed Debolina Mukherjee, the owner and director of Stripe Blue. Stripe Blue is the name of her garment manufacturing company that is specialized in uniform manufacturing.

Debolina had a good corporate job. But she was not happy with her job and was looking for something to do on her own. Finally, she found what she liked to do and started her business in garment manufacturing 5 years ago. When Debolina started her workshop she did not has expertise in garment manufacturing. Now she has taken her business into the next level. Though she thinks that she needs to learn many things to manage her business well and she is learning continuously.

In this interview she has shared how she had started her journey in garment business. Few images of her workshop are attached at the bottom of the post.

OCS: Tell us about your business, like what you make and about your business process.
Debolina Mukherjee: At Stripe Blue, we manufacture apparels according to customers’ wish or their need. We are employee friendly, customer friendly and environment friendly. We have specialization in uniforms manufacturing. We revamp the uniform and which reflects the culture and ethics of the company.

Our product range includes Shirts, Trousers, School Uniforms, Housekeeping dresses, Hotel uniforms, air hostess dresses, Hospital uniforms, industrial Apparel ,various corporate wears, Dungarees, overall etc.

Our factory is has complete manufacturing facilities like pattern making of any kind of designs, cutting, Stitching, button block making, industrial washing, logo embroidery, trimming, steam ironing, quality checking, packaging and delivering which meets complete end to end requirements.

OCS: When you have started your business?
Debolina Mukherjee: Stripe Blue was incorporated in 2010 with a mission to grow up as an well recognized garment manufacturing company, by meeting day today's market requirement and achieving customers' satisfaction.

The factory is located at New Bowenpally, Hyderabad, The Dual capital of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. Recently, we have invested around Rs 20 Lakhs to set up the state of the art machineries to meet the challenges of 21st century's Textile World.

OCS: What encourages you to start your own business? 
Debolina Mukherjee: I was confused with my job. Wanted to do something but ended up with doing something else. Then one of my friends suggested me to do something of your own where I can get freedom to do work according to my thoughts. Both of us started with doing exhibitions in Hyderabad and later we open a retail outlet too (he works in a software company who became my guide and mentor and investor).

But we could not get the meaning of doing trading without giving any employment or without contributing to the society too. It was like only earning profit without any goal. So we find our dream business and started an apparel manufacturing company.

OCS: How did you develop your market? And what you are doing currently to increase your market?
Debolina Mukherjee: Slowly we started in our own workshop where we had our 4 machines and nothing. I was trying to understand the market. There was no one to help us and to guide us. Lot of trouble I faced to understand who the competitors are, and who the customers are. I learnt how to satisfy our customers and clients. What you plan many times it does not happen. I studied books on apparel manufacturing. YouTube and Prasanta’s blog helped me a lot to understand how to do work in a better way.

As per my opinion, business has mostly two parts -

Marketing - If your business development team is not strong you will not get orders to do.
Operation - If your operation is not proper you will deliver wrong products at wrong time which can kill your client’s goodwill and customer relationship.

I concentrated on both the things. Though lot of trouble came but still there was no chance of looking back.

OCS: Would you like to share you sourcing preference? Where you source raw materials from?
Debolina Mukherjee: Generally we purchase fabrics from local market. We prefer sourcing fabric from those who are the registered suppliers of registered mills (Mumbai or Delhi). Sometimes we directly purchased fabric from mills (when had bigger volume)

OCS: Would you like to give tips for newcomers in starting manufacturing business
Debolina Mukherjee: My advice to newcomers are -

  • Knowledge is power. Without basic knowledge of what you want to do don’t start
  • Be very specific about your accounts and finance
  • Make plans. You should have a vision and missions but also be prepared for the worst situation
  • Don’t start your business to make only profits
  • Be ready for lots of challenges and risks

OCS: Is there any short-cut to get success in garment manufacturing business?
Debolina Mukherjee: I really don’t know. If there is something like that exists I would love to know.

OCS: How you have benefited from Online Clothing Study (if you really get benefited)?
Debolina Mukherjee: Online Clothing Study site is very helpful. What happens in books we can get knowledge but may be what our exact requirement is we may not get in the book. Prasanta writes from his experience. He is a guide for me. He teaches, he suggests, he shows the path and share knowledge. I love to read his blog and in many situations practically it helped me.

Cutting Table
Garment ironing table
Packed garments
Sewing Lines

Prasanta Sarkar

Prasanta Sarkar is a textile engineer and a postgraduate in fashion technology from NIFT, New Delhi, India. He has authored 6 books in the field of garment manufacturing technology, garment business setup, and industrial engineering. He loves writing how-to guide articles in the fashion industry niche. He has been working in the apparel manufacturing industry since 2006. He has visited garment factories in many countries and implemented process improvement projects in numerous garment units in different continents including Asia, Europe, and South Africa. He is the founder and editor of the Online Clothing Study Blog.

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