Gone are the days when women were asked to stick to their mundane 9-5 jobs. Nowadays, women not only have started taking up jobs which society had barred them from but also have started their businesses. We, at The Free Press Journal, are celebrating International Women's Day by highlighting such women for their creativity and strong-willed personalities.
We have listed five female entrepreneurs from Pune who are marking their presence in the field of fashion and lifestyle. These 'by the women, for the women' designs, have grown from small businesses to renowned brands in the state and India.
Cotton Village by Swati Thorat
This MBA graduate who belongs to a family of female entrepreneurs started her venture in the city more than a decade ago. She is now known as a veteran of the fabric industry. Swati has been successfully running her brand ‘Cotton Village’ for the past 12 years.
Cotton village has several outlets in Pune and a few more outlets in Mumbai and Goa. They provide modern Indian wear which are hand-made in small batches by native artisans. From its Kurtis to summer dresses, this cotton store in Pune has taken over the market with its comfy and breezy fabric. Swati has also founded two more brands - Jungle stories and White Balcao.
Baani Quilts by Manisha Iyer
The brand ‘Baani Quilts’ has been around for five years now. The inception of Baani Quilts started with Manisha Iyer- the founder- taking what had been her past time and passion for over 20 years and building it from ground-up. Soon it was a mother-daughter duo running the show, with her daughter Soumya joining in. Soumya oversees the design aspect of the venture. It also involves her son Shrey- who handles all the administration. This year, 2023 marks a milestone for the company as they joined hands with a partner, Vedantika Bhonsle from Satara- to start their first large scale manufacturing unit.
Baani is a one-stop quilt shop where they sell quilts, quilted products like bags, pouches, stationery with logos etc., fabrics, threads, notions- basically everything one might need for anyone’s personal or corporate need as well.
Karagiri by Pallavi Mohadikar
This COEP and IIM Lucknow alumna started Karagiri in 2017. Now, with its mix of traditional and trendy clothing, it has become a trendsetter in the world of Indian ethnic wear. Her grandfather would earn living by weaving silk sarees. Later when she graduated, she thought of preserving the art and artists of weaving. Her husband Dr Amol Patwari is a co-founder of Karagiri.
They have collections of Sarees, Lehenga Cholis, and Anarkalis. The brand also believes in supporting weavers around the country to present their art to the world. They have a collection which has different patterns that represent the differences in cultures and tell a story about the region and its artists.
Pratha by Kavita Koparkar
Kavita Koparkar, an established bridal makeup and hair artist with a vast experience started this Saree brand. Sarees at Pratha are handwoven, and handcrafted by weavers from all over India. Every saree at Pratha is personally handpicked by Kavita Koparkar.
Aadyaa by Sayalee Marathe
Sayalee was a graduate from Cummins College of Engineering and successful SAP consultant when she decided to embark on the journey of jewellery designing in 2013. She has worked for more than eight years with reputed firms like IBM, Deloitte, Siemens, CSC and Capgemini. While travelling to UK for work, she fell in love with jewellery making as a hobby.
Aadyaa is premium, handcrafted silver jewellery brand creating collections based on history, revival, nature and abstraction. Sayalee, the founder of Aadyaa, works with artisans to create authentic silver jewellery and make it available worldwide. It has been incubated at IIM Bengaluru and is part of Cornell University’s first cohort for accelerator program with Maharashtra.
Earlier what was started at a small 180 sqft studio in Pune has now reached abroad and Bollywood movies. Their handcrafted jewellery in silver became a trendsetter in Maharashtra.
Saylee was recently given Women Transforming India Awards by NITI Aayog. As part of the Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav to celebrate 75 years of India’s independence, the WTI Awards were conferred on 75 women achievers.
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