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Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Meet Neha Sharma who built Rs 1.5 cr easy-to-wear saree business Isadora Life with just Rs 3 lacs

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Neha Tandon Sharma launched her startup with just a saree and a small investment. Isadora Life now clocks a Rs. 1.5 crore turnover.

Neha Tandon Sharma’s ‘Wrap in 1 Minute Saree’ should be considered one of the smartest creations in the Indian design business in recent years.

Neha Sharma introduced the revolutionary product under the brand name ‘Isadora Life’ in 2019 with a minimal investment of Rs 3 lakh, aimed at modern ladies who need to wear something that is both beautiful and easy-to-wear. In less than three years, the brand has amassed a revenue of Rs 1.5 crore.

Neha was a high-flying corporate executive, who used to travel over the world on business trips clothed in western clothes, when she was forced to relocate to a Tier 2 city in India a few years ago. At that time, having to put on a saree, was one thing she feared the most.

Neha had left her position at Jetex, a Dubai-based aviation company that offered flight support services at airports throughout the world, to join her husband, Dr. Jayesh Sharma, in Raipur, Chhattisgarh’s capital. However, unlike in the corporate world, she did not consider it appropriate to wear western dress in Raipur and instead liked to go out in sarees.

Neha has travelled to several parts of the world while working for Jetex, always dressed in western style. Beauty and efficiency are not mutually exclusive Neha’s opinion, as beauty, like efficiency and utility, is not an option.

Neha and Jayesh had both been living in Dubai since 2012. Jayesh returned to India in 2015 and lived in Raipur.

Neha continued to commute between Dubai and Raipur, but in 2017, she said farewell to her corporate position and relocated to Raipur as well.

It was the time when her husband was attempting to establish a hospital, and she began to assist him in locating a parcel of land on which to build the clinic, as well as meeting with doctors who could be involved in the project. She conformed to local norm and began wearing sarees to meetings. However, she found it impossible to put them on. She looked around to see whether there were any easy-to-wear sarees in the market, but she couldn’t find any.

Neha began by creating easy-to-wear sarees for herself. That’s when she decided to take action and develop her own sarees that she could wrap around quickly while also being comfortable to wear.

As a result, Isadora Life and its ‘Wrap in 1 Minute Saree’ brand were born, and the product was both attractive and functional.

“I built a brand that was both utilitarian and stylish while also not breaking the bank,” says Neha, who purchased roughly 150 different sarees and designed new easy-to-wear styles.

“The response was positive, and the sarees were quickly sold out,” Neha recounts, recalling the early days of her commercial journey.

On July 13, 2019, Neha hired staff, acquired a separate office. She also launched the Isadora Life website at the time. Neha began with a team of roughly 7 people and approximately 150 sarees. She says, “We originally sold sarees for around Rs 800 to Rs 900, which included delivery charges.” The first month’s sales were Rs 50,000, which increased to Rs 90,000 the next month and then to Rs 1,20,000 in the third month.

Isadora Life’s sarees are available in a variety of textiles, including silk, crepe, chiffon, and satin.Each saree features an attached in-skirt with pleats that fits various heights, sizes, and fabrics.

Neha says, if you gain or lose weight, you may still wear the same saree, as her sarees come in waist sizes ranging from 24 to 52 inches. It’s as simple to put on as a skirt and takes less than a minute.

The products are exclusively available through their website. They are not available on other ecommerce platforms like Amazon or Flipkart.

Customers from Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, and Mumbai make up the majority of Isadora Life’s clientele.

Neha says, “We provide services such as fast returns, free shipping, and customised size and heights.”

Neha, who is now 40, was born and raised in Ahmedabad. Her father, Kumar Tandon, was an assistant mechanical engineer in the railroads, and her mother, Shashi Tandon, was a school teacher.

Neha has a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering as well as an MBA. She married her Jayesh in 2003, whom she met in Mumbai through a mutual friend when she was 19 years old.

In 2005, Neha enrolled in the MBA programme at Nirma Institute of Management in Ahmedabad and was hired as an investment banker by Singhi Advisors. She then worked at Avendus before moving to Dubai to work for Jetex.

Neha Sharma now employs roughly 40 women and is her own boss. The sarees she buys from marketplaces in Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, West Bengal, Odisha, Bihar, and Tamil Nadu are generally designed by tailors.

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