Some may regard the birth of a child to herald prosperity and success. Others may consider the onset of motherhood as the beginning of a sabbatical in one’s life. However, in the case of this young achiever, life had other plans. The responsibilities that accompanied the tag of having become a mother threw her into ‘introspection mode’, redefining her role from merely ‘caring for’ to ‘providing for’ her daughter. And thus began the successful story of this woman entrepreneur, who on Mother’s Day pays tribute to the apple of her eye for being the driving force in her life and the raison d’être of her transformation into a mompreneur. Meet Munira Gheewala, founder of the hugely popular Indian ethnic fashion brand, Nallu Collection.
A Newfound Purpose
It was the year 2013, a year after the birth of her daughter, Noorie. Both mother and daughter shared an intricate and fathomless bond of love and trust. That’s when Munira reckoned that her role as a mother had to be far more significant than just changing diapers, feeding, and burping little Noorie on her shoulders. She wanted to give her the world. And the world to look up to her as she grows into a fine young lady. She wanted to be a role model for her daughter; an archetype of a mother who strikes the perfect balance between caring for her children and providing for them. And one who conquers the world with determination, hard work and dedication, busting the myth that a mother can do nothing more than just nurture her baby. She believed that the best gift she could give her little cherub was not just tender love and care, but the best of what life could offer her, and a successful venture for her to inherit.
Fuelled with this desire of giving a bright future to her daughter, Munira set off on a little quest, searching for her own aptitudes and passion. No sooner, she realized that she had a penchant for fashion, and an eye for design. That was enough for her to hang out her shingle and don the mantle of an entrepreneur.
Getting Down to Brass Tacks
Munira got her home garage dusted and made hospitable enough to commence and conduct her business. She named her venture ‘Nallu’ the sobriquet by which everyone lovingly addressed little Noorie. However, her transformation to a mompreneur involved much more than just a change in verbal reference to her new status. There were materials to be sourced, designers to be collaborated with, embroidery and handwork artisans to be employed, tailors to be identified, and of course technology professionals to be outsourced for creating her e-commerce website. Thankfully for her, she inherited the entrepreneur gene from her late father, Mohammedali Gheewala, who at his time was fondly regarded as the pioneer of the Gulf recruitment in India. Having seen him single-handedly grow his business, she passively acquired some of his people management skills, which stood her in good stead.
Operating out of the garage also made sure she could be close enough to her family and her daughter whenever they needed her. Yet, there were numerous times when life tested her resilience and dedication. With every pitfall, she resolved to emerge unfazed. “It was certainly not easy, but without a doubt worth it,” reminisces Munira. Entrepreneurship and nursing a child are traditionally full-time, jobs that demand high energy levels. Late nights at work, and dropping the child to playschool and picking her up were just a few of the activities that threatened to drain her energy each day.
Moving the Needle
With family members and destiny on her side, the business started reaping rich rewards. Nallu Collection now had a large enough range of ethnic fashion wear to be offered to its customers. The website was hosted, and merchant partnerships were struck. The brand began to be accepted within the trade and customer fraternity, and started making new inroads into the competitive space.
The Nallu Collection, as it Stands Today
The Nallu Collection has scaled new heights and has grown from strength to strength. Today, it boasts of a wide and mesmerizing range of ethnic designer wear for women, including sarees, salwar kameez, kurtis, Bollywood dresses, lehenga cholis, anarkalis, gowns, blouses, accessories, and bespoke creations at affordable prices. The entire collection also has a presence in other online stores such as High5store, Voonik, Junglee.com, Sweet Couch, and Snapdeal.
The team has grown rapidly from just two to over 25, with resources specifically dedicated to quality control and customer service. The team has also moved out of the garage to its very own office. Most remarkably, the brand has become a strong intellectual property and a household name, encapsulating and resonating Munira’s everlasting love and affection for Noorie.
In the next five years, the business sees itself generating more employment and empowering underprivileged rural women from marginalized societies, whose dexterity translates into awe-inspiring designs in handwork, threadwork, weaves, and handlooms.