Growing up in Ashok Nagar, a small town in Madhya Pradesh, 43-year-old Rakhi Khera always wanted to be a fashion designer. Since it was quite an unconventional career to choose at that time, her family was not quite willing to let her make that choice, and so she opted to do a bachelor’s in commerce instead. Until 2013, Rakhi remained a happy homemaker in Gurugram, caring for her family, which also included her two children. The thought of venturing into fashion, however, resurfaced, and along with the support of her husband, she decided to step into maternity wear. “When I was pregnant, it was difficult to find comfortable and stylish maternity wear. So, in 2013, I decided to rent out designer maternity apparel,” she recounts. Unfortunately, her venture didn’t do very well. But Rakhi wasn’t disheartened, and kept her dream alive. Comfortable clothing for mums-to-be Again, in 2014, with an investment of Rs 5 lakh, she decided to create her own fashion brand with a range of western wear, and then created a niche with maternity clothing for mums-to-be. That’s when the idea of Abiti Bella Enterprises (meaning beautiful clothes in Italian) was born. This was the time when ecommerce in India had got off to a flying start. Rakhi started by selling maternity wear on Flipkart, which also gave her the necessary training for branding, cataloguing, uploading, etc. Soon, two brands of maternity wear, Abiti Bella and Mine4nine, were launched. “Later, I started selling on Myntra, and now Abiti Bella is the top-selling maternity wear brand on the platform. I launched a third brand exclusive to Limeroad called Color Block in 2017,” she says. Rakhi’s brands are now available on all online platforms. “We get the highest response from Myntra. We are in with every trend in the market and cater to the latest styles,” she says. Rakhi admits that while she has no prior experience in fashion design, she does have a keen eye for styls and is quite the fashionista herself. “I have outsourced design to a team of freelancers, some of whom are from NIFT. The outfits are produced at manufacturing facilities in Gurugram and Faridabad. So far, we have 800 designs of both the brands, and have catered to more than two lakh orders so far,” she says. As a supplier of maternity and western wear clothing to Flipkart, Jabong, and Myntra under Walmart, Rakhi’s enterprise has witnessed a 38 percent and 15 percent growth in revenues in the last one year with Flipkart and Myntra respectively. The total revenue clocked in 2018-2019 is Rs 3.4 crore, and Rakhi projects Rs 4.5 crore for the next fiscal. One of the reasons for her quick rise to popularity and success, Rakhi says, is because of the support she received from Walmart’s Women Entrepreneurship Development Programme (WEDP).
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