Aanchal Makhija Preferred being an Entrepreneur over a Doctor

By Sonia Motwani in Starting Up 03/04/2016

With a background in Dental Sciences, and an investment of 5 years in the medical field, Aanchal Makhija left it all to start up! In 2014, she launched , The Pehnava, an E commerce portal for women ethnic wear.


“After a year and half year of struggle, I went ahead to pursue a course on entrepreneurship and family business from NMIMS, Mumbai,” says Makhija.


Even though the family was against her decision, Aanchal knew that leaving dental sciences was necessary to start something of her own. “My parents wanted me to continue dentistry since they had spent so much on my graduation already. I agreed to what they were saying, but having spent 5 years doing surgeries, I knew it was not what I would do for the rest of my life,” says Aanchal.


Being a girl, I knew entering into family business will not be easy.




Aanchal refused to pursue the 9-5 job in spite of having options after her post-graduation. She bootstrapped her way to grow ‘ The Pehnava’  to one of the most trusted buying option for women in the country. But, all this came with sacrificing a lot of travel plans and family functions. 


One of the biggest challenges was to convincing my family of my choice of starting up!


Aanchal believes that starting her day with a good thought leads to a positive environment. “Once a day, I go through others success and failure stories, it just inspires me to work better,” says the NMIMS alumnus. She was strongly supported by her brother Ankit Makhija in the start-up. Hotelier and graduate from IAM Calcutta, Ankit had a prior experience in the field of women ethnic wear. “My brother supported me financially and strategically with ‘The Pehnava’. His expertise in the field has just helped the company get better,” she says. Aanchal advises all husbands, fathers and brothers never to underestimate women and always believe in them. “One positive advice from you will really help her,” she adds.


Work hard to prove the society that women can be ambitious businesswomen are amazing mothers and wives.


Strong women have never stopped themselves because of what others thought of them. And like a lot of womenpreneurs, Aanchal believes in this. She is reaping the fruit of her hard work that has come about after sacrificing her time with her friends and family. “I missed my batch mates wedding, my college reunions, and a lot of the family functions. I have not seen most of the movies in first year of my startup,” says the ex-dentist.




While starting up, Makhija faced a lot of challenges. It started with hiring the right people while bootstrapping, problems on the logistics front and competitors in the same industry. “There was a point when our competitors started selling the product at really low prices, and all our customers went away,” says Aanchal. Aanchal’s team today sells the most versatile collection of ethnic sarees in beautiful fabrics and embellishments. Their collection of georgette sarees are suited for parties and one can purchase Salwar Kameez, Lehengas, Sarees, Kurtis or Gowns with an option of customized tailoring as well.

Through the 2 year long journey, Aanchal has learnt to be patient and confident. She advises the future womenpreneurs to listen to their heart and follow their passion.


“Do not get influenced with what people comment, take that as your strength and move towards your goal. And fight until you get it, just like you would have done as a child,” she ends by saying.


Website : www.thepehnava.com


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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