Rakhi Khera’s Journey from a Housewife to becoming a Maternity Fashion pioneer in India
Rakhi Khera is the founder of Abiti Bella Enterprises, and its sister concerns Mine4Nine and Enklose, which specializes in offering women comfortable, economical, and stylish maternity attire, western dress, and comfortable aprons for low-risk locations during the time of the pandemic.
Rakhi Khera, 43, grew up in Ashok Nagar, a tiny village in Madhya Pradesh, dreaming of becoming a fashion designer. Her family was not open to allowing her to pursue that career because it was such an unusual one at the time, so she chose to pursue a bachelor’s in business instead. She had always wanted to be a fashion designer. Still, owing to the current circumstances, she could not obtain the necessary experience and education to begin her career in the field. Rakhi married soon after completing her B Com, preventing her from gaining any professional venture.
Rakhi struggled with her individuality as a person who wanted to accomplish something in her life after moving to Gurgaon, Haryana, with her husband post marriage. Rakhi also noted that no specific businesses in India catered to women’s maternity apparel needs. So, during her pregnancy, she decided to launch her own clothes fashion line in 2013, followed by a maternity wear line. Her lack of experience, on the other hand, proved to be a significant obstacle at first.
“At first, it was quite tough and complicated. I didn’t have fashion expertise, and many people said I wouldn’t be successful, but I was persistent. I never surrendered. “As a creator and a businesswoman, I am content with who I am today,” Rakhi says.
“As a woman, I want to make pregnancy as pleasurable as possible for other women, so they don’t have to struggle.” First and foremost, we focused on accessibility and availability, opening it up on all major channels such as Flipkart, Myntra, Amazon, Ajio, Tata Cliq, and First Cry, among others. Second, we made sure that everything was affordable. Finally, we focus on the unique needs of pregnant women and their bodies’ changes from trimester to trimester. Overall, Rakhi stated, “comfort is our priority.”
Rakhi had discovered her specialty and narrowed down her study for her business, but she faced numerous external challenges. She scarcely made any money in the first two years, from 2013 to 2015. The e-commerce boom helped achieve a constant YOY rise of roughly 35 percent over the next two years, from 2015 to 2017. Her company had reached an all-time low when challenges like the introduction of GST (2018), demonetization, and the corona pandemic (2020-2021) slowed down progress.
Facing the inevitable loss
“My business suffered a lot as a result of the GST implementation. The majority of my fabrics are from Surat, but several fabric suppliers began to object, and I could not obtain any materials. When the Corona Pandemic broke out, the fabric manufacturers all shut down, and we had to come up with inventive ways to keep our firm afloat,” Rakhi explained.
Rakhi didn’t allow anything to get in the way of her goals. She came up with a rayon fabric-based bodysuit to replace pricey PPE kits in low-risk zones for daily workers and travelers to wear every day as a solution to her problems. Her coveralls allowed restaurant, grocery stores, gas stations, and other daily requirement workers to breathe easily and re-use the clothing more than 10-15 times after washing them with regular detergent. Rakhi’s business began to acquire traction again due to her novelty.
Rakhi’s company, which supplies maternity and western wear items to Walmart-owned Flipkart, Jabong, and Myntra, has seen a 38 percent and 15 percent increase in income in the last year with Flipkart and Myntra, respectively. The 2018-2019 fiscal year’s overall profits were Rs 3.4 crore, and Rakhi expects Rs 4.5 crore for the following fiscal year. Rakhi has great plans for her company’s future. She even hopes to boost her revenue by 50% in 2021-22, and she has a long-term business plan to achieve it.
Rakhi attributes her rapid climb to fame and success to the encouragement she received from Walmart’s Women Entrepreneurship Development Program (WEDP). Rakhi learned about numerous company operations, financial issues, logistics, digital marketing, and networking due to the program. She also learned about running a business by networking with other female entrepreneurs.
“The demand for maternity clothing will never go away. I’ve included loungewear, light Indian wear for professional women, and activewear to the list of subcategories of clothing that can be manufactured in maternity design in recent years. I’ll have to break this down into several groups. We’ve also included a nursing option to help our items last longer once a child is born. “We’re now focused on supplying women with eco-friendly/sustainable textiles so that they may feel comfortable while still being environmentally responsible,” Rakhi added.
Rakhi’s narrative inspires any small-town woman who aspires to start her own business one day. Walmart, Amazon Saheli, Goldman Sachs, Weconnect, IIMB NSRCEL, WEDP, and IIT Madras have all given her due recognition and accreditation. Rakhi aspires to inspire other women with ambitions, regardless of their background, to come forward and seek whatever kind of help and support they may get to become the person they truly want to be. Rakhi also intends to establish her maternity line as a leading brand in India, enabling all women to have a smooth pregnancy. We hope Rakhi continues to inspire Indian women with the same passion her business thrives.