Entrepreneur: Anushka Doshi
Business Name: cuddlesforcubs.com
Welcome to Entrepreneurs of India #startupstories Episode 45.
Taking an idea from another culture and “adapting” it to fit the local market is a difficult skill. But if undertaken correctly can produce very profitable results.
Clothing and fashion is one such area that needs thought and foresight in order to replicate demand for a product from one culture to another.
Whilst travelling in Europe in her youth, Anushka Doshi saw the potential to take the western style kids clothing to India and match it to the local economy. Her instincts were correct as over the last number of years – major western brands have been coming to India and the demand for good quality western style clothing has sky rocketed.
To realise her vision, Anushka founded her kids fashion brand – Cuddles for Cubs. Her aim is to bring the most contemporary trends to little cubs from the tender age of 0 to 9 years.
Cuddles for Cubs takes inspiration from European high street fashion trends, but they also recognize the importance of practical and comfortable clothing. Most of their designs are 100% cotton to ensure your children are wearing soft fabric and their skin is able to breathe easily. They also aim to make clothes that are affordable for the Indian price point.
So lets learn more from the founder, Anushka Doshi.
1) How did you get your idea for this business?
A strong believer in comfortable and trendy clothing, I was determined to bring European high street fashion to the children’s clothing industry in India. Having travelled to London, Paris, Vienna, Munich and several other European cities while growing up,
I fell in love with the concept of shopping at boutiques that offered unique and high quality children’s clothing and accessories. After studying at Babson College and London Business School I moved to Mumbai and was inspired to set up Cuddles for Cubs.
2) Why is “now” a good time for this idea to exist?
The children’s online fashion market is growing exponentially in India. Parents want children to dress up in the latest trends.
With brands like Zara and H&M with a strong presence in India, there is an increase in demand for western clothing and awareness of trends. This is where Cuddles for Cubs comes in and offers the latest trends seen on high streets and brings it to your doorstep at affordable prices.
3) What was the reaction from your family when you first decided to become an entrepreneur?
My family was very supportive of me when I decided to become an entrepreneur. I am the first woman in a 4 generation family business to branch out and set up my own venture.
I think my family has always known I would never take a traditional career path because I longed to start my own business when I was 16.
In fact, I launched by first venture with 30 other students at Babson College during our freshman year. This experience made me realize I love to strategize and build products from scratch and take them to market.
4) What was your biggest mistake in business and what did you learn from it?
The biggest mistake I made was understanding the number of SKU’s required for different fashion products.
Having conducted market research and selling our products in various cities including Mumbai, Ahmedabad and New Delhi, I recognize the importance of forecasting inventory and expected cash flow in order to ensure there is adequate working capital in the business.
5) What is your biggest obstacle in the next 12 months and how will you overcome it?
Launching our collection on various marketplaces including Amazon, First Cry and Myntra and developing a strong online presence pan India.
While listing on marketplaces is great for volumes, I am keen to grow our website (www.cuddlesforcubs.com) sales for 2018.
6) What habits contribute to your success?
Yoga, meditation, constantly making to-do lists and using time productively when you’re on the go. Connecting with competitors and successful entrepreneurs in similar sectors who are willing to mentor me.
7) If you had the opportunity to start this business again what would you do differently?
I would start listing in marketplaces right after launching the brand to allow faster traction and spread brand awareness throughout India.
8) What is your favorite inspirational quote?
I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul.
– William Ernest Henley
9) Where do you find inspiration?
Traveling across the world & in books!
10) What is your favourite book?
‘Hit Refresh’ by Satya Nadella
11) What advice would you give to someone starting out?
If you love what you’re doing, it will never feel like work. Start young and take calculated risks because you never know where those will take you.
Surround yourself with experienced entrepreneurs and professionals who will mentor you when you are in the dark and call you out on your mistakes.
They are invaluable when you are starting off.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help – you will be surprised by the number of people who have been in a similar spot not too long ago and are happy to help!
A massive thank you to Anushka for taking the time to be interview for this feature.
We think Anushka’s point about listing on Marketplaces such as Amazon and Flipkart are a great idea for new businesses.
There is one thing that new businesses or brands always struggle for when starting out and that this website traffic. It takes time to build brand recognition and to build a following.
However there is one thing that marketplaces such as Amazon, eBay and Flipkart have in abundance and that is also website traffic. So it really is a great idea to get your product listed on these outlets as it will help build brand recognition and cross promote your own site.
Also love her advice to new entrepreneurs not to be afraid to ask for assistance. There are often more people willing to help than you think.
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