A Journey of an Entrepreneur in Clothing Retail Business

This is an interview post.

I interviewed Anuradha Sharma, alumni from NIIFT and now an entrepreneur in clothing retail.

Anuradha has worked as a consultant with a leading Gurgaon based apparel consultancy who works internationally for improving the garment industry. She has a rich experience of over 5 years in providing training and implementation facilitation in quality improvement in numerous apparel export houses.
This interview is conducted to understand how she had setup her successful business in a short period of time and what are the key points she can share with newcomers who like to start retail business in the clothing line. She established her business in the name of Suvastra in 2012.
She sources finished products from artisans and wholesalers and sells those products in her retail outlet in Rishikesh. Her product range covers mainly Indian Ethnic wear and accessories for women.

Read Anuradha’s inspiring business journey.
A Journey of an Entrepreneur in Clothing Retail Business
Anuradha Sharma, Entrepreneur
OCS: What encourages you to start your business?
Anuradha Sharma: I always wanted to be in retail and work on my own terms.

When a close acquaintance came with an offer of starting the business through this tourist place where he owned a shop and offered to work with them, this excited me as there was least risk and small investment involved.

The idea was to cater to the international tourists through traditional Indian crafts and wear. Tourists love to carry back traditional crafts as souvenirs back with them.

Backed up by the encouragement from my family and friends, Suvastra was started.

OCS: How did you build your market?
Anuradha Sharma: We started with very little investment. We made sure that whatever product we chose/sourced was of excellent quality, unique, had appreciable craftsmanship and were value for money to the customer.

People appreciated the design, recommended it to their friends, families and known; in many cases ordered for more pieces. We even received feedback mails from many international customers which multifold our zeal to source even better products for our customers.

OCS: Where do you source your designs from? What are common sourcing issues, you faced in your business?
Anuradha Sharma: We source ready products from many vendors from different part of the country, mainly from the parts of Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Rajasthan and West Bengal.

The challenge that we face in sourcing is high lead time. This is because each product has most or at least some hand work involved.

OCS: I hope you had achievements and failures in the retail business. Can you please share it with our audiences?
Anuradha Sharma: 
We have achieved many milestones and experienced many failures within the short span of business run. 

  • Loyal customers;
  • Realization that customers love customization and uniqueness in whatever they buy


  • Personal engagements have restricted me to expand the business the way it was planned 

OCS: Would like give some tips to newcomers in starting garment business?
Anuradha Sharma: If you have interest and passion- go for it, experienced fishes will make you learn to swim. Just make sure you continue working hard despite failures and oppositions. Perseverance, self confidence and confidence in your product line will make you succeed.

OCS: Is there any short-cut to get success in clothing retail business?
Anuradha Sharma: There are no short cuts- one has to go through all patches- smooth and rough; and the process of learning and relearning.

OCS: One last question. Could you please share an unforgettable incidence of yours that you experienced in your journey of business development?
Anuradha Sharma: There are many, but this one is the closest to my heart.

We have a very lean team in Suvastra till date. We started our venture with barely 42 thousand rupees and we were afraid whether this will give us return or not. The good response of the first week gave us the courage to purchase another lot and we wanted perfect branding on each of our products. We got label designed and tags printed within a week. That very night after a hectic day at work me and my husband worked throughout the night in tagging and labelling the purchased items. We were so excited and enjoying that we did not realize it was 5:50 in the morning and we were not tired at all. Both of us still laugh on one another whenever that incidence flashes in our eyes. Probably that’s the kind of energy you attain when you do what you really want to do - your OWN work.

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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