Richa Dubey is the proprietor of Jaitex Exports since 2008, a Noida based company exporting primarily home textiles. The company's primary clientele mainly include globally leading brands such as M&S, Anthropologie, Zara Home, OVS, H&M to name a few, solely due to its strength in designing and implementing international trends.
While exporting to international brands, Richa realized the growing need for organic and fashionable kids' clothing in India; hence she ventured into kids wear retail with the brand name ‘Wondermom’. Through this initiative, the company designs globally trendy yet sustainable clothing in natural, organic and chemical free fabrics, as a mission is to provide kids with the latest international fashion, alongside Indian naturopathic inheritance. Wondermom has collaborated with Pampers for their gift hamper, which is being sold extensively pan India.
Recently, Richa was recognized for her contribution in promoting Exports of Indian Handicrafts and Textile products by Handicrafts Exporters Association of India. She was also selected to be part of the Women Entrepreneurship Programme of IIM Bangalore sponsored by Goldman Sachs.
In an exclusive talk with Apeksha News Network, Richa Dubey talks about women entrepreneurship, government initiatives and creating unique products as an outcome of the synergy between highly sophisticated designers and dedicated craftsmen originating from the traditional belts of India.
Tell us something about your life before Jaitex Exports.
After completing Masters in Textile Design and Technology at NIFT Delhi, I worked in export sector for 3 years.
What does your role at Jaitex Exports and Wondermom include?
As a Director of Jaitex Exports, I am involved with the overall business dynamics and operations. More specifically, I am responsible for international trend forecast, unparalleled design and innovation, business development and brand promotion. As the Founder of Wondermom, right from conceptualizing the brand’s positioning in the market, it’s mission and vision to strategizing the whole branding process are my key areas of working.
What is the USP of Wondermom?
Wondermom amalgamates the Global design trends and colour forecast with our love for traditional textiles and crafts to create à la mode Fusion attires stylised in voguish silhouettes. We make fashionable, yet sustainable clothing from organic and pure fabrics.
How has been the journey so far for you as an Entrepreneur?
A roller coaster ride! Jaitex is my first baby. That time I was quite young, and also unmarried, so no serious personal life responsibilities. But being married for 7 years and daughter of a 3.5 years old daughter, who inspired me to have my third baby ‘Wondermom’, I haven’t been able to catch a 6 hours sleep at a stretch in last 4 years, in order to create a work and personal life balance, as I do not have any family back ups. But I feel, I have evolved everyday, learnt so much in this journey, did mistakes and had my share of losses. But ultimately, all 3 kids are growing at a great pace.
With so much competition in lifestyle segment, how do you manage to stay at par and attract customers?
WONDERMOM is a kid's designer apparel venture with the vision to provide chemical free attires, which are always on point with global trends. Having dealt with the needs of Global brands in US and Europe for ten years, working closely with them, we are aware of changing global fashion and trends, and this global exposure raises our standard towards quality and compliance.
The strategy is to approach this billion-dollar kid’s retail business with same level of detailing as how we have been approaching the global brands. It is time, when Indian kids also avail good quality products as developed nation kids do.
With the boom in digitalization, people have shifted to online purchasing. Do you think that malls and retail shops still have a scope of business in next 5 years?
‘Touch and Feel’ will never be completely out because the entire branding journey is NOT only about the product; it is equally about the ‘customer experience’. So for any apparel brand, it is very important to have physical presence in the market. Only 2% of our target customers are buying online. So malls and retail shops will be affected by online shopping, but not to the extent that they close down.
You have been actively promoting the exports of Indian Handicrafts and Textile. Tell us something more about how you haven doing this and what kind of results have you achieved.
After gaining global exposure in the home textile industry for almost six years, my commitment to the pursuit of innovation and the zeal to connect the under privileged artisans with global consumers inspired me to create ‘Jaitex’. We are promoting products made of crafts and fabrics by Indian craftsmen and weavers in the global space by offering them to our overseas customers.
There are so many art forms like certain block prints, etc. that are gradually dying. There is scarcity of artists who can create them. What steps have you taken at Jaitex Exports to help such artisans and their art in terms of lifestyle products?
We offer such craftsmanship on global platforms such as Heimtextil and Ambiante Fairs. We educate our customers about the process of workmanship and being handmade. Moreover, no two products will be identical. This is not the limitation but the uniqueness of being handmade, so we sell such products with a special ‘Handmade’ Tag.
Government of India is promoting art and culture as well as artisans. How far have they been successful? Any suggestions to the government on same?
Be it any government - it is badly lacking in the fair execution of its promotion policies. My suggestion is that there should be some genuine group of office bearers, or even retired judges to ensure that the genuinely needing craftsmen and artisans are getting the benefits provided by the government.
What is the biggest struggle of a woman entrepreneur today in India?
The biggest struggle of a woman entrepreneur is the trust deficit, the society holds for them, thanks to our social paradigm, which is male centric. Again, the social setup in India is such that whatever professional life a woman is having, raising up kids and taking care of household is woman’s responsibility. Keeping the professional and personal life balance, in this situation becomes almost impossible for any woman entrepreneur.
A female entrepreneur or young woman who wants to be an entrepreneur does not always start off from a level playing field compared to a young man from the same community. She may not have access to the start-up capital (land, house, money) she needs to start her business and she may also have other time commitments like childcare. Do you think the existing programs introduced by the government needs enhancement? Any suggestions to the government?
Yes there are quite a few. The schemes and programs launched by the government are not being executed fairly. Before it is reaching females who require them genuinely, the budget is already exhausted. I have personal experience of this. Also, the shops etc. taken in the name of females are actually run by the male of that family. Government should take corrective action for the fair execution of its schemes and policies. Secondly, performance of women entrepreneurs should be monitored from time to time.
Based on your own experience, what advice would you give to women considering pursuing a career as an entrepreneur?
It is a tough journey, but as is said, ‘When the going gets tough, the tough gets going.’
Is (gender) equality an important issue for you? If yes, why? If no, why?
Yes it is an important issue for me because I have a daughter and I am raising her like my son. So I would want her to have a society where she gets a fair chance to prove her potential and to be genuinely respected for being a smart woman. Today in our society, if a woman is sharp and matching her steps with man, she is looked down. It is ironical but true!
What main change would you like to see for young girls in the next generation?
To have equal exposure as boys. To take decisions of their life and feel the responsibility of their decisions, instead of feeling victim of circumstances.
What does International Women’s Day mean to you? Is it important that we have one? The essence of women’s day
International Women's Day is not about woman empowerment because they are already empowered; it is about the world realizing their strength! So, yes it is important!
The essence of Women’s Day is in the success of Womanhood! And it will only be possible when every woman will lift another woman and man will respect women and consider them as equal from ‘within’.
Apeksha News Network congratulates Richa Dubey for her contribution and commitment towards the field of lifestyle and social welfare in India, and world at large. We wish her good luck for the future endeavours!