From being part of India’s first Mars probe to getting the right-sized skirt, Nidhi Agarwal, founder and chief executive of KAARYAH, talks about how her brand is helping Indian women feel unapologetically beautiful.
It’s a well-known fact that vanity has always been a challenge for women in India. With a huge uproar about fitness and fashion, Nidhi’s brand is making sure that every woman feels gorgeous in her own skin.
KAARYAH stems from the word “KAARYA” (work in Hindi). The brand decided to use this word because of their focus on women who have a lot of work and not necessarily women who go to work.
Getting the right white shirt
After unable to find a right replacement to a white shirt she had accidently spilled coffee on, Nidhi went conducting a survey asking 250 women to find out whether they were facing the same issue. She realized that 80 percent of the women in India faced the same issue – getting the right fit. This inspired her to start KAARYAH, a brand that not only offers the latest fashion, but comes in 18 different sizes and a fit parity with the Indian silhouette.
Nidhi says her brand was born out of a genuine need and a problem that consumer faced on a daily basis.
From planets to pallazos
If one looks at my background, they’ll realize that I have not been connected to this industry. Formerly, I was Director, Strategy at Honeywell India, where I developed the Space and Missiles business enabling component sales for the ‘Mangalyaan’ mission.
The fact is that fashion is a tough industry to crack for both men and women. I entered the industry as I saw a clear gap in this segment and was able to devise an innovative model that I believe will hold us in good stead in the long run. I entered the industry after detailed data led research and ensured that I did not leave things to chance. It is this approach that has got us so far and we will continue to stick to it.
My father is my mentor, guide and friend
I respect “competence” greatly. I grew up seeing my father give it all he had, for himself and for his family and his friends. If he took on something he would ensure completion, with perfection and that too efficiently. I have never seen anyone go against odds, from a small village near Ajmer to becoming a corporate honcho without compromising his conscience with relentless hard work. It takes a special kind of grit and brains to do this; he is by no means average! He has been responsible in setting my benchmarks too and I look up to him as a friend, mentor, father & guide – this too is a really large portfolio for one human being to handle.
Eyes set on my goal
There are high points and low points every day in the lifecycle of a venture. But a support system is extremely important to overcome it, which is why I am deeply indebted to my mentors. Every time I face a challenge I either convince or get convinced. My entrepreneurial journey so far has been, in a nutshell, attention to detail while keeping my eyes forever on the big picture, the goal.
For Indian women, size is a big deal
Our essential target market is a woman who has a lot of work. When I say women at work I don’t mean just those women who go to office every morning but also those who have multiple roles and are forever stretched for time. We are catering to each one of them who as I understand, are of all shapes and sizes. By offering 18 different sizes and designs that flatter one’s body type, we clearly are demonstrating that every woman deserves to feel and look good and should be able to find something which fits her well and not compromise comfort for fashion.
Every Indian woman is beautiful and unique. Size becomes a big deal because she is regularly compromising on either size or fashion when it comes to western wear. KAARYAH eliminates this issue entirely, by making fashion accessible in 18 sizes, it does away with the issue of size.
Meeting Ratan Tata was “humbling”
My meeting with Mr. Tata was humbling to say the least. His validation, which came in the form of his investment, was greatly motivating. We had been doing the funding rounds for a year by then. So it was a much-required relief.