Ruchi Verma started her maternity wear business with Rs 2.5 lakh. The brand has already touched Rs 1.8 crore turnover, and is now set to close at Rs 5 crore.
Ruchi Verma, 34, an NIFT Mumbai graduate from the tiny village of Darbhanga in Bihar, realised her long-held aim of becoming an entrepreneur in 2020 after working for seven years in several fashion firms.
She delved into the idea and built her own brand ‘Aaruvi Ruchi Verma‘ from scratch, investing Rs 2.5 lakh from her own resources and drawing on her skills as a designer for some of the country’s best brands and her inherent creativity. The brand made Rs 1.8 crore in FY 2021-22 and is expected to make Rs 5 crore ARR this year.
Ruchi Verma presents her tale, beginning with the circumstances that prompted her to take the entrepreneurial leap, and progressing through the internet research she conducted, the lessons she learned, and her company strategy, which might inspire other young aspiring entrepreneurs.
“I studied design at NIFT Mumbai and shortly started working in huge corporate houses with brands like Tata Westside and Spencer’s.
As a result, I began to fantasise about building my own brand.
Ruchi studied YouTube tutorials to learn how to start a small company. She says, “But it wasn’t easy. I was captivated by this and proceeded to do more and more study online. I am skilled in evaluating design patterns and trends as a result of my educational background. However, my lack of business experience made me feel unqualified to start something on my own. In addition, establishing my own firm meant quitting a well-paying, secure career.”
She continues, “It also meant letting go of familiarity and stability and venturing into uncharted terrain. On one of those lazy Sundays, while shopping online on my phone, I began to notice how many new D2C firms were releasing gorgeous collections at reasonable costs. I was captivated by this and proceeded to do more and more study online. I am skilled in evaluating design patterns and trends as a result of my educational background.
However, my lack of business experience made me feel unqualified to start something on my own. In addition, establishing my own firm meant quitting a well-paying, secure career. It also meant letting go of familiarity and stability and venturing into uncharted terrain. However, I continued my study and began learning more about how to establish a small business on YouTube, including how to form a corporation, tax advice, and how to market your items online, among other things. This gave me faith that establishing a business is not as tough as it appears on the surface, and that with some self-learning, it is indeed achievable.
The expectation at my employment to work overtime and late nights was the breaking point for me as I contemplated my major move and hesitated to take the plunge. When this began to happen on a regular basis, I decided to resign. I did it in an instant because I was afraid that if I kept thinking about it, I would never accomplish it. My relatives and acquaintances were taken aback when they learned of my decision. They told me that walking into the unknown would be difficult and warned me of potential perils.
However, I did not listen and instead invested my meagre funds of Rs 2.5 lakh in developing my own business.”
Ruchi works from home, therefore she has little overhead costs.
She says, “It was difficult to get started since I had no nice office, no personnel, and no one to offer me aims and goals. Every day, I needed to be self-motivated and determined. However, it came easy to me because I was following my own passion and fulfilling my goal.
I simply developed my drawings on my home computer and emailed them to a vendor, who turned my concept into a prototype and then proceeded to bulk manufacturing when I approved it.
I set a three-month target for myself to create my first collection of maternity wear dresses and tunics and offer them on Amazon and Flipkart.
I went live and recall the first sale on July 31, 2020. I received my first customer within 24 hours of starting – I even remember her name, Malathi – and I was on cloud nine. I intended to spend more and expand – collect funds, create an office, and recruit workers – but the epidemic and lockdowns made me to reconsider.
What if I opt to focus on my core expertise, namely developing a solid product, and let the ecosystem handle the rest? What if I don’t succeed? I quickly expanded my selection from ten to fifty designs.
I continued to focus on releasing new designs every month and worked with outside organisations for everything else – production, sales, marketing, shipping, photo shoots, GST administration, and so on. I learned that operating a profitable business is difficult, but there is already a large ecosystem of firms eager to collaborate with and grow artists and entrepreneurs like myself.
Using a wholly ecosystem-driven strategy, I was able to focus on my passion while expanding my business exponentially, putting me on target for a 5Cr ARR and a good profit margin this year.”
“Today, “Aaruvi Ruchi Verma” is a leading maternity apparel brand on marketplaces, with monthly sales increasing by 30%.
I still work from home with little overhead since I outsource all of my work to other suppliers.
I’ve been able to support my whole growth with sales proceeds and continue to roll out new goods every month. My collection is now available on Ajio, Nykaa, Myntra, and Firstcry.
Last month, I launched my first line of casual wear (non-maternity) dresses on my website.
Overall, I am encouraged by the reaction and want to further expand my business.”