When Nidhi Yadav was working as a 23-year-old software engineer at Deloitte in Hyderabad, she decided to quit her job because she was unhappy and wanted to pursue a different path in life. Through self-reflection and guidance from her mentors, she began to explore her options. Eventually, she enrolled in a year-long Fashion Buying and Merchandise course in Florence, Italy. After completing the course, she received internship and job offers. However, she declined both offers and returned to India, preferring to stay close to her family.
After returning to India and being motivated by stories of Clothing Brands, she was on her path to creating one. First, she studied business models of various successful brands, and inspired by them; she decided to replicate and create one herself.
Initially, she wanted to create a fast fashion modern wear clothing brand like Zara. But her husband, an operation manager in Jabong, saw more scope and a rising trend in Ethnic wear. She too soon realized the scope and potential of ethnic wear and started planning on developing the brand.
She started AKS clothing, with the name AKS which means Reflection in Hindi. During this time, she also had a seven-month-old daughter in the house and was taking care of her too. Handling motherhood and business both at the same time was not easy. She recalls working as late as 3 am.
They used the spare bedroom in their 2 BHK house as the place to keep inventory, and it helped save money on rent and would make taking care of her daughter easier. Her husband supported her in this venture and accompanied her to Jaipur, where she bought her first inventory of 936 sets of clothes.
Nidhi was very careful in positioning her brand in the market. AKS clothing, from the start, produced fast fashion ethnic clothes. She would release new designs in ethnic wear every 15 days in small and limited quantities. Though this concept was new in 2014, people still needed to learn about online purchases. But the brand started growing from day one.
For a year and a half, Nidhi managed everything alone and hired one employee and three more in the same year. Nidhi would buy her outfits in Jaipur and later package and market them to brands like Limeroad, Myntra, and Jabong. These brands used to pick up the clothes from her home. From the start, Nidhi wanted to keep the company low on investment. It was later when units agreed to produce her custom-made garments.
Instead of offline marketing Nidhi quickly realized how fast digital platforms were growing. So one of her primary aims for the company was to market itself well in the digital world.
In 2018 even her husband joined the company, and now they have close to 110 employees. Each month they release 300 new designs of clothes in limited quantities. Earlier, the brand used to focus on the 18-35 age group of women but has now expanded to a vast customer base.
The company started with a seed of Rs. 3.5 lacs is now a Rs. 137 crore revenue business. It is one of the few businesses which wasn’t in loss during the pandemic. The company also manufactured 1 lac PPE kits during the lockdown. They also donated 3000 PPE kits and 50,000 masks during covid.
The clothing brand quickly integrates technology to meet the market’s growing demands. With expanding more categories, they are seeing more consumer demand and are working to fulfill it.
They aim to advance themselves both in designing and manufacturing technologically. Many designs work, and product sampling is done on computers with software like CAD.
They plan to enter deeper into E-commerce portals and focus on selling it directly to consumers without any middle party.
The clothing brand aims to reach Rs. 500 crores in revenue by the end of 2024 and shows no sign of stopping.