Entrepreneur: Shradha Sud
Business Name: Mama Couture
Welcome to Entrepreneurs of India #startupstories episode 133
Shradha Sud came across the pathetic fashion choices for pregnant women in India when she was pregnant in 2015. She understood that there was a huge gap in the market. Soon, Shradha launched her brand, Mamacouture, an online fashion store for best pregnancy and nursing wear, to bridge this gap.
“We are in the business of delighting our customer – pregnant women or new-moms, by offering them the power to make a choice of their style during this phase and to be as true and close to their individuality as they chose,” says Shradha. They sell products like maternity bottoms, dresses and nursing tops.
Today, Mama Couture is a reputed maternity brand in the market with an expanding clientele across the country. Shradha shares her journey from a mother to an entrepreneur who serves a unique set of customers.
1) How did you get your idea for this business?
During my pregnancy in 2015, I found, in my personal experience, a huge gap in the Indian market in servicing this fashion segment. I realised that the clothes on offer were hardly a reflection of what the women desired.
Ill-fitting, styles-less, itchy and non-breathable fabrics, with no regard for comfort or change in lifestyle for this customer segment showed a struggling mindset of our society and a lack of sensibilities towards the women.
I was convinced it was time for India to have its own fashion maternity brand – as it is about the pride, respect and individuality of each woman.
2) Why is “now” a good time for this idea to exist?
When I started this brand in 2015-2016, it was largely a cluttered market made up of plus-size clothing and Indian wear “adjusted” to be passed off as pregnancy wear.
Over the years Mamacouture has managed to cut through the clutter and remain relevant to this segment and created its own following of customers. The market is only growing with more women looking to dress up the bump and flaunt the pregnancy, and a very aspirational tier II and III cities in India give us lot of hope.
3) What was the reaction from your family when you first decided to become an entrepreneur?
As always, extremely supportive, encouraging and loving and I couldn’t have asked for more. They certainly worry for me, but they know we will do what we got to do!
4) What was your biggest mistake in business and what did you learn from it?
I thought it would be best to start as single founder so I could make my own decisions and set up the value chain of the company the way I wanted. However, soon I realised that it’s very crucial to have your ecosystem in place that works as hard as you and doubles the results with the same efforts. Nothing can create magic, like a good team can. I am working hard to expand the team further this year.
5) What is your biggest obstacle in the next 12 months and how will you overcome it?
We have two – (i) marketing – we are focusing a lot on performance marketing this year. We have hired an expert agency to do the job, and we hope to see results in H2; (ii)scaling up – we constantly need to expand and innovate our product lines and that is the toughest part to get right, so we have expanded our vendor base with even more experienced partners.
6) What habits contribute to your success?
My habits that I think may be helpful at work are – working with a priority list that I make each morning (many days I achieve absolutely nothing from it!), motivating and being there for my team, thinking ahead, transparency and promoting good culture in the company.
7) If you had the opportunity to start this business again what would you do differently?
I would have started with a co-founder and kept marketing budgets on the higher side from year 1. Also, I would improvise the products even more.
8) What is your favourite inspirational quote?
My mantra is – “Just start”. It could be used in relation with a venture as a whole, or everyday little things that one just keeps putting off.
9) Where do you find inspiration?
I am truly inspired by anyone who does what they want, breaks “expectations” and leads from the front.
10) What is your favourite book?
“Rich Dad Poor Dad” – By Robert Kiyosaki. His quadrant has inspired me from the day I read it many years ago and made career trajectory much clearer for me.
11) What advice would you give to someone starting out?
“Just start”. Its certainly good to do some basic checks before starting out, but beyond that i think it could be an overkill. The issues you face when you start out versus what you encounter as you go along are hugely different, and unless you start and get close to the issues – they are not real & not solvable.
Sensible entrepreneurs always look for a gap in the market. Shradha realised the gap in India’s maternity fashion segment and launched Mama Couture at the right time. She built her brand from her own experience as a pregnant woman. Her intention was to create a choice of fashion for pregnant women in the country. Today, Mama Couture has become a prominent choice for pregnant women who would like to be in vogue while still not compromising on comfort dressing.
Click here to follow Mama Couture on Instagram.
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