Expressing Rural Fashion the Modern Way – Harshita Gautam

By Sonia Motwani in Starting Up 29/07/2016

After doing stints as a Spanish teacher & an organic baker, I found my true calling when I spotted a Rabari woman on the streets of Pune!

 

Harshita Gautam had a well-paying corporate job, but deep inside, she knew she was going to start something of her own. “The entrepreneur hiding somewhere in me would keep surfacing every now & then,” says Harshita. She was awestruck by the bright colours, floral patterns on the clothes of a woman in Pune and decided to follow her till home & learn more about the Rabari culture. “I learnt about their way of living, their clothes, the designs and patterns & their way of dressing. And that’s how NOMAD was born!” says the founder.

My parents thought I was committing a mistake by giving up a stable career & setting out to make something that perhaps will have no takers.

Like all parents, Harshita’s parents wanted her to be secure as well. “On bad days, my sister was my pillar of strength. She comes from a design background at NIFT and guided me throughout my journey of creating & setting up a business,” says the founder.  Gautam started NOMAD while she was still at her full-time job. “I worked during the day in a regular job & in the evenings, I would be with my artisans creating ghaghras,” she adds.

 
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Finances are tough while starting up. I took a loan to keep my dream going!

 

A single mother, Harshita believes that a woman’s dreams & aspirations should not be sacrificed at the altar of motherhood. “Bringing another life to the world has been the most empowering thing for me, why should it be made to sound like a handicap when it comes to pursuing my dreams? Every parent goes through ups & downs in their relationships with their child but somehow gets magnified by 10 when it involves a working mother. I think naysayers simply project their own frustrations & insecurities when they brand an ambitious woman a ‘bad mother’,” she says. The founder also feels that it is very important for children to see their parents pursuing their dreams. It instils a sense of purpose in them early on!

 

To all the fathers, brothers & husbands I would like to say; Trust your woman! Do not kill their aspirations by under-mining their potential. If you can’t be a support, don’t be a hindrance either. ALL women need from you is a few words of encouragement. Say them.

 

The founder has difficulty finding the right people to work with her. Without having any formal training in design, she has been designing clothes for over 3 years now. She keeps her thinking fresh and unhindered by staying away from following the current fashion trends. “This is both, a blessing & a hindrance as I perhaps miss out on a lot of opportunities because I do not alter my ideas as per the market. But it certainly ensures that my work is original and uninfluenced,” says Gautam.

 

After being around different kinds of people, I’ve realized that minus any religious or class brandings, we’re all souls who are reaching out to one another to spread love & joy!

 

Through the journey, Harshita has not only grown mentally as a person but spiritually too. She advises the future inspirational women entrepreneurs and aspiring-to-be great Indian women achievers to realise that NO dream is ever too small. “Let that sparkle to become a fire & allow that fire to consume you. You are going to be purged of every regret & emerge a person full of joy & satisfaction. As I did!”

 

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Sonia Motwani
A full time business analyst and a passionate writer, she is hopelessly attracted to the passionate struggle story that every women entrepreneur has lived today! We possibly couldn’t have had someone better than her to write about women achieving new heights in the startup sector!

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