Many of us struggle with staying in our jobs, helping someone else build their brand off our talents but not many have the courage to take the leap and create their own empires. Ghaziabad’s Prachi Bhatia is one such person who left her high-paying job and took the plunge and the 24-year-old is now enjoying the fruits of her labour. From getting just one order when she started her business in 2018 to making Rs 14 lakh turnover amid the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, Prachi is living her dream.
The Ghaziabad local was always an achiever, and in 2017, she was awarded by the Haryana government for topping her graduation class for product design from GD Goenka School of Fashion & Design. She then went on to get a job but always had the idea of starting her own business in her head all along, although she never planned on it to happen so soon. After many stints of working in unsatisfactory jobs, Prachi quit her last job where she was making Rs 45,000 monthly just two days into it. She rushed home in tears, leaving her friends and family extremely concerned. However, when she expressed her desire to start her own venture they were supportive and encouraged her, but somehow she would have to manage the funds on her own.
In 2018, Prachi started Chokhat, her business venture for home decor and gift products from a spare room in her parents’ home with an investment of Rs.1 lakh, taking a number of freelance graphic designer jobs to manage her expenses. Prachi shares that Chokhat’s products are quirky and inspired by elements of nature like flowers, animals, and birds. When she first launched the brand’s website, Prachi was certain that she would get at least a few orders however in the first month she only managed to get one, and two in the second, while she was quite dejected she pushed on.
Prachi shares, “I was worried that I had made a bad decision and wasn’t as skilled in business as I thought, but I did not give up and using YouTube tutorials and articles I understood marketing strategies that would work for my brand. It took almost five months but then business began to boom.”
In 2018, the first Diwali brought Chokhat Rs. 40,000 in sales and by the Diwali of 2020 sales went up to Rs. 2.25 lakh and Prachi’s business generated Rs. 14 lakh turnover despite the coronavirus pandemic. Prachi shared how she used people’s increased social media activity due to the lockdown to her advantage, saying, “Since people were constantly on social media as lockdown had been imposed due to the coronavirus pandemic, I decided to make hay and increased my budget for Instagram and Facebook marketing. This helped boost sales, which only happened because the products are unique too.”
Prachi has now rented an office and hired a team of interns, graphic designers, photographers, and vendors to help in the making and marketing of her products. However, Prachi shares that she has experienced a bias on account of her gender saying, “On several occasions, vendors have not followed instructions and taken me a little lightly because I’m a woman. I feel sometimes men do not wish to be instructed by a younger woman who they think is inexperienced. But I don’t think women should focus on this and keep fighting for their dreams and become successful.”
Talking about her plans for the future, Prachi shares that while home decor and gifting products are easy to ship and the foundation of her brand, she also wants to start selling furniture and kitchen products. She shares, “In 10 years I want Chokhat to have all the products that are used inside a home, from furniture and curtains to kitchen appliances and plates as well. And the designs are unique, quirky, and inspired by nature, what’s not to love?”
This story is submitted by Bilal Khan and edited by Alfea Shaikh.
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