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Sunday, May 19, 2024

How Nidhi Yadav built Rs.137cr women’s wear brand AKS with Rs 3.5lac from home

Nidhi Yadav started AKS Clothing from her home in Haryana. The brand that was launched with an investment of Rs 3.5 lakh is now a Rs.137 crore business.

Nidhi Yadav, then a 23-year-old software engineer at Deloitte in Hyderabad, abandoned her job to pursue her passion and enrolled in a one-year study in Fashion Buying and Merchandising at Polimoda Fashion School in Florence, Italy, eleven years ago. She now owns AKS Clothing, a women’s fashion firm she founded in 2014 with Rs 3.5 lakh in her 2BHK home in Gurugram, Haryana.

Nidhi established AKS (which means Reflection in Hindi) when her daughter Sunidhi was only seven months old and she had been married for less than two years. The company began as an online brand with a small selection of kurtas, anarkalis, maxi dresses, lehengas, and traditional outfits.

Nidhi explains, “By starting the business from home, we saved money on rent and it was also easier to handle my daughter, who was only seven months old at the time.”

Satpal Yadav, Nidhi’s husband and an MBA from IIM Kozhikode, encouraged her to start the business and accompanied her to Jaipur to buy the clothing.

Tracing AKS’ journey, Nidhi Yadav says, “I was interested in creating a fast fashion modern wear business like Zara, but my husband, who was then working at Jabong as operations manager, felt there was more possibility in ethnic clothing.”

Nidhi has always aspired to be a top performer, and it is too soon for her to rest on her laurels. Nidhi was born in Indore to lawyer couple Karan Singh Yadav and Rajbala Yadav and grew up with her younger brother. She attended Indore Public School and graduated with honours in 2004. Nidhi describes herself as a painstaking, hardworking, studious child. I’ve always wanted to be the first person in class, and that mindset has stayed with me.

Nidhi worked for approximately a year on her own before hiring her first employee. Nidhi managed everything on her own for about a year and a half. She did the packing and then taught her housekeeper how to do it. She marketed her products on Limeroad, Jabong, and, later, Myntra. These companies would come to her house and collect the products. Nidhi bought her outfits in Jaipur. Three units soon agreed to produce her custom-made garments.

Nidhi established Yuvdhi Apparels as a sole proprietorship in 2014, but three years later transformed it to a private limited company. Nidhi has carefully positioned her brand since the beginning. The emphasis has always been on ethnic wear and quick fashion, which means that new designs are released every 15 days or so.

According to her, “2014 was a time when people were leery of online purchases and rapid fashion was unheard of. We released new styles every 15 days and made them in tiny amounts.”

Nidhi grew steadily, hiring her first employee in 2015 and adding three more the following year. Her husband joined the company in 2018, and AKS has expanded to a staff of 110 people.

Every month, AKS releases over 300 new designs in limited quantities. Nidhi has also recently created a mother-child line. During the pandemic lockdown, this collection was developed out of need.

The crew consists of five tailors and a team of designers that work with Nidhi to create the designs. Tailors then work on the designs and make sample items, which are subsequently transported to partner factories in Delhi and Jaipur for mass production. Fabric is sourced from Surat, Ahmedabad, and Jodhpur. Half of the production takes place in Delhi, while the other half takes place in Jaipur.

Nidhi says AKS was a participant in Myntra’s accelerator programme. She has every right to be pleased with her entrepreneurial path thus far, but she may not want to stop there.

Aks Clothing has clocked a turnover of Rs 137 crore, and its business continues to grow. It is one of the few businesses that has expanded despite the Covid-19 pandemic. In 2021, the company’s revenue is estimated to reach Rs 165 crore.


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