How lower middle-class background Bharti Chandra Empowering Women Entrepreneurship

UNNISHAA (U-Nish-Aa) literally means true power lies within yourself, in Hebrew language. However, we interpret it as “Respect yourself”. And that is the foundation stone of our business philosophy. We help and empower only those, who want to live with respect and are ready to work hard for it.

The company has a well-integrated structure of supporting Indian Handloom (direct association with Weavers and Craftsmen) , Skilled Workmanship – by conducting free upgrading sessions for Masters and karigars (Tailors), helping them finding jobs as well as absorbing them within the company , and Women Empowerment (most of our Management team , Reseller team , Associates are Females who want a respectful place in a healthy and positive working environment , taking care of their priorities . We train and equip them both.

At UNNISHAA, we Curate exquisite hand-crafted apparels, in western cuts and patterns, concurrent to the concurrent fashion trends, using our Indian Fabrics and utmost finishing. We cater to the Fashion-conscious, yet economically viable needs of the working class (males/females). We Curate equally for Classes as well as Masses, without compromising on the quality.

Tell us something about your education & family background.

I come from a lower middle-class background. For us Education was everything. My father was a Senior Scientist with a Government organisation, my mother a homemaker. I’m second among three sisters.

Though I had aspirations to join NSD, Merchant Navy, Hotel Management, Software Programmer, but had to leave everything for lack of permissions, though got selected everywhere I applied.

Took Engineering against Medical because staying in Hostel was not allowed. Completed my D.Arch from Women’s Polytechnic , did Interior designing , Vastu training , jobs and own practice to learn faster and better . In between managing relationship, family, kids, managed to successfully run my own company in Building Construction for 12 years. Due to medical emergency, took a break. That’s when the idea of UNNISHAA was born….

How did you come up with the idea of UNNISHAA?

In 2013, I was facing a severe medical complication. One failed surgery led to the damage of my spine, due to which I now had limited/restricted movement of my body. My earlier business required tremendous physical stamina, and I knew I couldn’t go back immediately. Someone known to my Father-In-law, got his son to work as a driver for us, because he didn’t want him to continue the family tradition of weaving fabrics. I knew a lot of talented artisans, out of business, because of Automation and Chinese copies flooding the market. Sellers and Buyers were only interested in their personal short-term profits. One thing led to another. Somehow, I felt this story needs to be told, but not to gain sympathy but enabling empowerment. To those who think – it’s impossible: I wanted to say I M Possible.

How much time did it take you from conceptualization of UNNISHAA to actually launching it in the market and please share your experience of initial days?

The concept was born in early 2015, when I could regain most of my movements, however it could be formalised only in around September 2016, when I had formally shifted base to Mumbai – the fashion capital of India.

What was the most challenging part of your journey of UNNISHAA?

When I came to Mumbai, I knew no one. I didn’t know where to start. I used to roam on the streets asking shopkeepers, Rickshawalas, where I could rent a space for my workshop. I started in a Chawl, in Amboli. It was a 1 room space, but neat and tidy. We had Asbestos sheet as our roof, but we survived. The biggest challenge obviously was leaving my cushioned practice in Delhi, and restarting my career at an age where people usually are well-settled. Starting from a ZERO. That was 3 years ago. Today I have one of the most efficient management team and we are continuously working towards our goals. Hence, the challenges we face every day, are only part of our Growth Curve.

What is target market for UNNISHAA?

Our Tagline explains it completely. Statistics show that your SELF ESTEEM is directly proportional to How YOU DRESS. And that’s what we do. We raise your self-Esteem. Our clothes are meant to compliment the person who wears it. All shapes and sizes are beautiful and must be respected equally. We design to complement Our Caucasian Body Types, imbibing our deep-rooted culture, in the form of Handloom Fabrics.

How do you plan to market UNNISHAA products and services?

Until now we believed (and still do) that word of mouth is the best form of publicity. However, we have realised that it can have a limited reach only. So now our marketing plan includes

  • Targeting Customers through Social media.
  • Using Testimonies from actual clients
  • Participating in educative forums to empower the customers with true knowledge and best practices
  • Writing blogs/articles/videos to educate the consumers in making informed choices.
  • Developing a strong chain of referral business practice

Who are your competitors and what is your competitive advantage?

We believe in positive collaboration rather than negative competition. Our technical expertise, inhouse manufacturing enable us to collaborate and serve the industry as well as serve a market, that’s been neglected far too long. 

What is your larger goal or vision for UNNISHAA?

We want ourselves to be identified as the most Authentic, Aesthetic, Attractive yet Affordable brand available in the market.

What expansion plans are you looking for the next 5 years, next 10 years and in next 25 years?

I’ve seen the wrong side of life a little too early. So, I believe in Performing every day, rather than projecting. One step at a time.

My Dream for Unnishaa is too big to be described in few words. I just hope to be able to drive it until that point, soon. And then I will talk.

Do you consider yourself successful and by what means do you measure success?

Success is a very delusional parameter. Sometimes it means Money, sometimes spirit of freedom. Its highly situational dynamics. For me Success means along with my financial and emotional Independence, if I’m able to create a difference to a few more lives without offering them charity, and inspiring them to do the same to the lesser fortunate than them, is SUCCESS. For me, it’s more like a chain reaction where I act as a catalyst.

Whom do you consider your idol or biggest motivator?

I find my motivation in people around me, rather than celebrities or well-known faces. The type of hardships, a commoner goes through can give you the best management lessons, never taught in B-schools.

How your current profile has transformed you as a person?

I have always been an efficient communicator between Clients and Labour force. Though industry has changed, my job remained the same.

If you had the chance to start your career over again, what would you do differently?

I would have initially worked in a Corporate Environment, learnt first-hand how an organisation grows, made efficient contact system and then started my venture. Probably that would have saved me a lot of energy and money, but I still don’t know how much would it have been practically possible, as I see personal struggles of individuals every day.

What skills Do you want in your employees/team at the time of hiring for UNNISHAA?

The skills can be developed, but not attitude. A U-nish-aan needs to have a creative mind space and passion to grow fast. This is of prime importance to us.

Our core foundation is based on empowerment and skill-development. We built the capacities of an individual and creating earning opportunities for them. Apart from this, we also undertake group trainings in collaboration with TEAMLEASE, for under-privileged children and get them inducted as Sales Associates, in companies like Whirlpool.

Anything, you would like to say to our readers or fellow business people?

Always have a back-up plan for your primary plan-of-action and another one to support your backup-plan. This will ensure your Success.

Bharti Chandra to Business people

Anything, you would like to say to Young Entrepreneurs and Startups?

Do not enter this field with hearsay ideologies and fan following. This is a dark, thankless and lonely journey. Those who undertake it do it because they believe in the “ripple of change” they can stir.

Behind every Entrepreneurial Success, there are thousands of failed untold stories too.

Learn more to end better. Because everyone can Start, but it’s the end that matters the most. And always be open to change and adaptations.

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