Rejections are constant in our lives. Cabs reject your bookings; potential dates reject you; colleges, bosses, jobs… the list is endless. But all these rejections happen sporadically, so you deal with them and move on. But, imagine getting rejected 113 times in one long period, for the same thing! Such was the plight of Nidhi Agarwal, founder of Kaaryah – the clothing brand. Repeated rejections from investors. A lesser person would have quit ages ago, but not Nidhi. Then, what appeared to be the 114th time, turned out to be Mr. Ratan Tata’s solid handshake and approval instead. What a way to end the streak!
There was no reason for me to quit my job or to seek more challenges at work. It was simply the need to solve a dire problem that led me to quit my job and start this, because I was convinced that this would work.”
Thus, began the journey of a clothing brand and its founder, amassing extraordinary success in less than a year. Nidhi was well settled and accomplished, as the Director of Strategy at Honeywell India. The entrepreneur says, “There was no reason for me to quit my job or to seek more challenges at work. It was simply the need to solve a dire problem that led me to quit my job and start this, because I was convinced that this would work.” Steadfast in her idea, Nidhi says, “We created KAARYAH – a brand focused on offering wardrobe solutions that help discover not just the ‘Best Possible FIT’, but one that flatters different body types.”
The protagonist of this success story, Nidhi, takes all the challenges thrown at her sportingly, and with quite a thrill. She says, “We were being given an opportunity to truly disrupt a legacy manufacturing process, and become the world’s largest catalogue for Shirts and Trousers in less than a year; overall being near break-even twice over in 30 months of operations – how could anyone say no to that thrill.” Operating from Gurgaon was yet another addition to the long list of trials, something as basic as security. But no obstacle has been so prominent as to have shaken her foundation permanently.
KAARYAH products come with intelligent features such as- ‘Anti-gape’ buttons, ‘Stay-in shirts’, ‘Love-handle concealers’, ‘Variable-Length’ trousers, ensuring our clothes are both fashionable and functional.”
Having the confidence to move forward despite the long list of roadblocks would not have been possible without the support and guidance of others. For Nidhi, her parents were her balancing pillars of strength. She says, “My father who is also my greatest mentor taught me that there is no substitute for ‘hard work’, and that persistent hard work can help you overcome almost every obstacle. While he pushes me hard to ‘go-get’, my Mom instils the importance of patience and the power of acceptance to get over difficult times.”
Nidhi claims that Karyaah has a tremendous chance of being one of the world’s most popular women’s western-wear brands. What gives this entrepreneur such bold surety to make such a claim? Her cool confidence stems from the fact that her brand’s USP is ‘to disrupt women’s western apparel industry with true product innovation.’ They work closely with ‘Voice of Customer’ and ‘Consumer Data Analytics’ to churn out products that are genuinely disrupting the legacy fashion apparel industry. Nidhi elaborates, “For instance, KAARYAH products come with intelligent features such as- ‘Anti-gape’ buttons, ‘Stay-in shirts’, ‘Love-handle concealers’, ‘Variable-Length’ trousers, ensuring our clothes are both fashionable and functional.”
Having carved out a steady and progressive path for herself, Nidhi gives her two-cents on making it in this fast paced market, “The last year specifically of my journey at KAARYAH has reiterated the importance of honesty, and the brutality it brings along; perhaps that being the reason for its rarity. It is critical to know what matters most, to be honest with oneself; it becomes the biggest source of strength that cannot be penetrated, let alone obliterated.”
To be or not to be; to convince or get convinced; these are the questions you often ask yourself when in doubt. Ask them, and answer them with brutal honesty, to know where you want to head next, just as Nidhi Agarwal did, and made it big and bold.