Anjali Ramesh Chawla, runs her own proprietorship Anjali Enterprise. Her registered brand is Gujattire. She is a 29-year-old female ecommerce entrepreneur, a loving wife and a full time mother. She operates out of Gurgaon but her roots go all the way back to Gujarat. She specializes in the home furnishing category and she sells her products on numerous marketplaces.
When we asked what excited her about she said, “The fact that ecommerce has no barriers! I can sell pan India, anyone and everyone can see my goods. It gives me an unlimited reach to the furthest corners of the country. Then there are the satisfied customers and the even happier artisans back home in Gujarat! That’s the most exciting thing about ecommerce for me.”
IOS spoke to online seller Anjali Chawla, who was featured in Paytm’s women’s day special. Prejudice against women may still exist in this country, but Anjali’s inspiring story tells us there’s no limit for women in ecommerce. All you need is determination and dedication.
Let us take a look at her journey as a Womentrepreneur.
Why did you choose online selling as a profession? What about it drew you in?
Originally I’m from Gujarat. I married at the early age of 22 and moved to Gurgaon. After setting up there, I had to get a job. So I joined a recruitment firm and led a team for about 4 years. But during all my time as a recruiter, I always had this thought playing in the back of my mind, “I’m doing this for someone else!”
I come from a business family. So I’ve always wanted to get into business some day. The problem was how? My business goal was to succeed and help others grow along with me, but I never got around to it.
After I had a baby, I felt sitting at home was not my cup of tea either. So what work could I do that still allowed me to look after my daughter? I did not want to raise my child at a retail store that was for sure. This is when I thought of ecommerce. I got in touch with Browntape. They set up my accounts on different marketplaces and I was ready to sell!
Why did you choose home furnishing as your category?
Like I said I’m from Gujarat and the state is known for its handicraft among other things. Handmade dholas, quilts, bed sheets and other artistic goods that would make for vibrant home décor were available here. However, most of these goods were restricted to the village areas of Gujarat. I had noticed this from childhood. This wonderful culture deep in the villages of Gujarat would never be seen by the rest of the country. So right from the conception stage of my business I thought, why not bring these handicrafts to Gurgaon?
That’s when the experimenting and researching began. I started out in a really small room. I got my own designs manufactured and initially named my brand ‘Colours of Gujarat’. People liked what I had to offer and the artisans in Gujarat were overjoyed. I began with 5 SKUs then 10 to around 15 and one tiny room became two. Later on as we expanded our operations I hired a larger workspace and now from 20 items I’ve reached 180. There are more goods native to Gujarat and I plan on adding them to my item list and increasing my 180.
Which marketplaces do you sell on? Which do you prefer best and why?
My home furnishing goods are available on Flipkart, Amazon, Snapdeal, Craftsvilla and Paytm.
From all of the marketplaces I sell on, I prefer Flipkart and Amazon because they offer the best remittance facilities. Payments are always on time. There is no need to constantly keep a check. Also their packaging is simple and deliveries are made on time too.
I also also have my very own online store and a physical store in Gurgaon that exclusively carry my own brand.
Is ecommerce a level playing field for men and women? Why do you think so? Are there challenges specific to female online sellers?
I don’t feel any discrimination in ecommerce especially because of my gender. In fact, I see ecommerce as an opportunity for women. Out of a hundred women, may be 30 would succeed as physical store retailers. When it comes to ecommerce though, you’ll find more success.
Do you encourage other women to join the ecommerce scene? What’s your advice for them as an ecommerce entrepreneur?
Yes! Sure they should.
In today’s world you can sit at home and grow your business. What’s wrong in that? Sitting at home and running a business is no big deal, anyone can do it.
“In life when you want to make a name for yourself and earn fame, an online platform is the best place to do it. There is absolutely nothing like it.”
Women are said to have inherent qualities like patience, inquisitiveness and shrewdness. Do these help in ecommerce? If yes how so?
Being a woman and a mother has taught me how to be patient. For me it’s not about making lakhs in one go. A slow and gradual approach is what it takes to last in this line of work. If you have patience, you will learn many things that will help you in ecommerce. Like how the marketplace works, what people are looking for, how to get it to them and how to improve your product marketing. It gives you time to do necessary research to sell online.
What challenges and difficulties have you faced through you ecommerce journey?
As a woman entrepreneur I do not have gender specific challenges with ecommerce. However, I do face challenges with my ecommerce as an online seller. I have 3 main difficulties in particular:
I have registered my brand Gujattire and taken the trouble to build my brand image. It is not fair when other people pass off their goods as mine. Online marketplaces need to check into this and take quick action. It should not take 6-7 months and longer to get justice. This should be a prime priority for marketplaces.
This is specifically on Flipkart. Every month some of my listed products disappear from the marketplace. And by the time I alert the authorities and relisted my products which takes 2-3 days to complete, I’ve already lost so much of business.
It is not a major issue at the moment, but it still needs attention. At least twice in a month I have to deal with returned goods that are not my own. Once I inform the marketplace authorities they take about 15 days to investigate the matter and ultimately the refund paid is way less that the sale amount. As a result I lose out.
Anjali is as business savvy as they get! Guattire may signify the ‘Colours of Gujarat’, but her team of local artisans offering fascinating home furnishings is what captures her wide audience. And she couldn’t be happier.