An artist, an entrepreneur, a mom, a mompreneur.. shes everything a woman can be. A Software Engineer by qualification, Nithia Chacko Eric always had a knack for fashion. She was born and brought up in the Gulf until marriage got her to Bombay, a city that was totally new to her. As she gave birth to her 1st child she also decided to pursue her passion and venture into the fashion industry. Fighting all odds and believing in herself she took a leap of faith and founded Nithrik, an online fashion boutique inspired by tradition and a touch of modernity that goes beyond ordinary. Read about her interesting journey here:
Nithrik will complete 5 years this month. It was a risk I took 5 years back. I’m originally from Saudi Arabia, born and brought up there. I got married to Bombay. I always wanted to be a Fashion Designer though by qualification I am a Software Engineer. I felt Fashion was my calling. When I came to Bombay I felt there was an opportunity while I was going across the market and I asked myself, “why not start something I love?” I just took a risk and it worked out really well for us. Luckily I had a great support system. That’s the story of Nithrik. It just happened in a market and I’m glad, it started from a small scale and then we took it forward. The idea of Nithrik came to me when I was pregnant with my elder son and it started after I became a mom. It was a huge decision I took for myself, being an entrepreneur. I feel I’m very privileged, getting married into a business family. When I told them I wanted to do something regarding fashion, they were like “okay, why don’t you go ahead?” and with such support from family and friends Nithrik just took off. It was scary in the beginning but now I’m glad I took that step, that risk. I had my vision, I had a target to achieve and it did work out.
KYE: How do you manage both fronts, being a mom and an entrepreneur?
Nithia: I honestly think being an entrepreneur is much easier than being a mother because being a mother is more challenging. Being an entrepreneur you know exactly what your client needs, they tell you what they want, what they need. Whereas being a mom to such young children it is difficult to adapt to their needs which are constantly changing as they grow, and they grow really fast at this age. Being a mom is like learning every day with them. Now as my kids are growing up it’s getting easier to handle so that’s great progress. I’ve learned to balance both my work life and my family life. The best thing about being an entrepreneur is you are your own boss so you can choose your timings, you know exactly when to go for your work and when not to go for your work. You also get the discretion to choose your clients and designs accordingly.
KYE: What was your motivation behind being an entrepreneur?
Nithia: As I said from childhood I wanted to be into fashion but it did not work out. The whole norm of being a South-Indian, the whole Indian family mindset kicked in, you know, “we don’t think it’s a good opportunity for you”. I was brought up like that. I always knew I could do it, I knew I could start up something on my own. I just thought I’ll give it a try and just took a jump. It’s very important when you’re an entrepreneur, you need to do something you love. If it’s not something you love it’s not gonna work. It’s very important to love your work. I had a lot of examples, people who were entrepreneurs who I look up to. So it was slightly easy for me to understand that its quite difficult but that’s how the process starts. A lot of motivation came from there.
KYE: What in this venture gives you a sense of accomplishment?
Nithia: So being a designer, your major accomplishment is seeing your client wear your designs. From the time a client approaches, they tell us what they envision or what they dream is and we put our heart and soul into creating every single design. Once the design is done, when we see our client wearing them and hearing great reviews for our designs and other people appreciating our work. That gives us a sense of pride and accomplishment. It’s amazing. Also being a South Indian we had several connections with boutiques and we send them several patchworks and embroidery designs. Every 3 months we get to hear their reviews and they are always good.
KYE: What were the barriers/challenges you faced through your journey?
Nitia: As I said before I came from Saudi Arabia
One of the biggest barriers I faced before starting up this business was the language. I wasn’t sure if I could actually speak Hindi. I did know Hindi, I mean we used to watch movies but I wasn’t sure I could work it out. The second major barrier was I didn’t know Bombay. It was very new to me, it was a very new city for me to understand where the market was and how do people work it out here, I wasn’t really aware of any of it. These were the 2 major challenges I had to overcome. Now being from the gulf I had no experience of traveling in the Bombay local trains or the buses
KYE: At this point, what factors are required for you to achieve your business aspirations?
Nithia: Right now, everything is digital. It’s all about digital marketing and online shopping, I think 2017 onwards this has been the market. It has been online. We had from day 1 decided we will only be an online portal, we will not have a retail store. Because of the same we have to make sure we work harder to be stronger in social media and know that the target that we have has to work through social media or digital market. That is one of the main factors I feel we need to be focusing on right now.
KYE: How has this venture changed you as a person?
Nithia: When I decided to be an entrepreneur, it was a huge risk, I wasn’t sure it will actually work. When you’re doing business by yourself you’re facing a lot of challenges. One thing I have realized is that doing Nithrik has made me self-confident. I feel I have become more secure. When you start something you feel very unsure, there are many people trying to pull you down questioning your abilities. Going against all that negativity around and believing in myself has made me more secure and confident in myself. The difference between 5 years back and now is I believe in the brand. While starting anything new there are 3 challenges you face:
Convincing yourself and believing in your brand.
Convincing your family and friends to believe in your brand and hoping they support your brand.
Convincing your clients that your brand is good and they can achieve the result that they dream of.
Once you face all these three challenges, you become more confident in what you’re doing. You believe in your brand more.
KYE: What are your words of wisdom for the budding entrepreneurs and moms out there?
Nithia: I think I’m a very good example of how did I turn out to be an entrepreneur. From being a girl who just had a dream, hoping to make it happen I came to Bombay a place which was completely new to me. I took a risk and I thought to myself why not? Not knowing if it will actually work out especially me being a software engineer I was very unsure. I took this risk because I just wanted to follow my passion and love my work. So my advice would be to take a risk, maybe it won’t work in the first go so keep trying. Once you have an idea and believe in it you should work hard to ensure it will be a success otherwise its no point. Be persistent to achieve your goals.
Watch the entire talk here-