The Road from IT to Fashion: Sreerekha Madivala and Rajini Jagadish Iyengar

The Road from IT to Fashion: Sreerekha Madivala and Rajini Jagadish Iyengar

My journey of becoming an entrepreneur is a sheer serendipity. I had taken a break from Infosys after my second kid and was looking for part-time job in my vicinity

Sreerekha Madivala landed up with a startup job while looking for a freelancing gig. At work, she loved the way everything moved so fast, right from execution to implementation. “It was so unlike the corporate life!” says Sree. Inspired by the energy of a small team looking to hustle fast, she started up an online marketplace with ethnic fashion options for the modern Indian woman. Ethniq Desi is her third startup experience, and the founder is enjoying every bit of it!

I took a break from my 18-year corporate career to spend time with my kids

Rajini Jagadish Iyengar had a keen interest in the fashion industry and loved ethnic wear. So when Sree happened to discuss the idea of Ethniq Desi, Rajini immediately decided to join her in the venture. “Since Sree had started up before, I was confident & inspired to take the plunge as well. There was scepticism from my family since we come with no history of entrepreneurship. But they did not stop me from starting up,” says Rajini, the co-founder of Ethniq Desi.

At times, we need to identify methods to monetize. Every waking minute is consumed by our venture

Entrepreneurship is tough compared to a regular job in the corporate industry. Established companies have a structure, workforce and defined objectives to adhere to, and a pay cheque is assured at the end of the month. Startups, on the other hand, require innovation, business plans figuring out logistics and much more. When Ethniq Desi was starting up, there was immense hard work in making it successful. Right from getting the first set of customers and vendors to setting up operations, and customer service, the founders have done it all on their own. And in 3 months, the company started generating profits. “It was all worth it,” say the founders.

Travelling, catching up with friends is something we can’t find time for!

Through the journey, the womenpreneurs have received immense support from their family members. “Our husbands encouraged and helped us throughout because they understand what it takes to start something of your own,” says Rajini. But the founders have made sure that they don’t compromise on family time and balance work and home correctly. “We do everything for our kids like other mothers would and spend quality time with them. We want our children to grow up and be ambitious like us, and we think that we are setting a good example,” say the mothers.

In the last 6 months, I have more challenges in the startup than in my 18 years of career

Ethniq Desi has faced challenges in finding the right talent. “It’s difficult to find people who share the same passion and stay with you to make the venture happen,” says Sree. Being bootstrapped, the founders changed their hiring strategy to find such people. “We started connecting to capable mothers who were doing well at their corporate jobs and are on break looking out for work-life balance. Since the best talent which was very expensive, we looked for the most passionate mothers looking to make a comeback, and tapped into them,” she adds.

I don’t work thinking of the monetary benefits, I just do what I like and what I am passionate about

As an advice to future womenpreneurs, Sree says, “Don’t worry too much about succeeding or failing. You will learn something new and wonderful about yourself in this journey.” To this, Rajini adds, “Always believe in yourself and follow your dreams. Only you can make them happen!”

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