When the sales of a three-year-old online clothing store exceed that of bigger and older brands in the market, you cannot help but take notice of it. Myshka, a brand which happens to be the brainchild of banker-turned-entrepreneur Pankhuri Raj, boasts of the kind of success story which very few companies or brands in India have had in the recent past.
In 2017, Pankhuri started the Myshka Store with her husband’s savings. She did not get the support of any external investor or encouragement from the market but she was fueled by the ambition of creating a successful brand with sheer hard work and determination. Her efforts bore fruit as sales of her company picked up rapidly in a very short span of time. The next year, in 2018, she quit her job and the rest, as they say, is history.
Talking about the success of Myshka, Pankhuri says, “I hail from a middle-class family from Ranchi, Jharkhand. My father was a government employee and nobody in our family had ever dabbled in any kind of business. Ranchi is also the city which somebody like M.S Dhoni comes from. He has been an inspirational figure to all of us. I was working as a branch manager in HDFC bank and had not really think about setting up a business for the longest time. Most businesses start with a simple but unique idea and that is what happened with me.”
Pankhuri’s job took her to smaller cities like Dhanbad, Dehradun and Patna. She realized that there were very limited options as far as e-commerce was concerned in these places. She would often fulfill her shopping needs when she would come to visit relatives in Delhi. Around a decade back, e-commerce was yet to become the big force it is today but Pankhuri saw potential in it.
“Around 2012-13, there was just one mall in Dhanbad. People did not have a lot of options when it came to shopping for clothes. I toyed with the idea of launching an online clothing brand. I started working on ideas and started meeting manufacturers in Delhi. Since I had never done any business earlier, I wanted to be careful about everything. Things were taking a while to fall into place but I was patient. Finally, I launched Myshka in 2017.”
The success of Myshka is a bright example of “Make In India’ – an Indian brand growing exponentially purely based on the products or services it offers. Pankhuri personally visits kaarigars in cities like Jaipur and Surat and sources out material after going through them carefully. All the material used in the clothes is 100 per cent Indian.
“We do not even use Chinese buttons”, Pankhuri says proudly. “All the fabric and other material we use is sourced out from different places in India. Our mantra is to offer the consumer ‘the best styles at the best price’. Since I come from a middle-class family, I understand the needs of our customer base. I feel India is the best country to do an e-commerce based business in. We have a huge population and the interest in online shopping is growing rapidly.”
Myshka’s office in Noida has close to 80 in-house employees, many of whom are women. The brand offers more than 500 designs and boasts of a monthly production capacity of 50, 000 units. While the brand largely follows an online business model, it has a physical store each in Lucknow and Balliya, Uttar Pradesh. There is one counter in a store in Malaysia. Myshka ships its products all across the country and there are plans to branch out in neighbouring countries like Nepal and Bangladesh. The company registered a turnover of around 12 crores this year.
“Working women often face discrimination and people do not tend to take them seriously. That has happened with me right from the time I started working as a banker. But, we should not let any kind of challenge stop us from doing what we want to do. My business has grown without any external support. My husband has been a pillar of support. We invest the money we earn back into the business. That is how we grow. You must believe in your dreams and work persistently towards achieving them”, the enterprising Pankhuri says on a parting note.
Pankhuri’s success is akin to the dreams we see with widely opened eyes. But, there is a struggle, hard work and persistence behind the realization of every dream. Pankhuri Raj’s story teaches us the same. Her journey has inspired and will continue to be an inspiration to many for years to come.