Pratiksha Mundye may be a small-town girl, but she has never let that define her dreams and has instead chose to live out-of the-box, aided by her quirky mix of creative and business sensibilities. Determined and self-driven, she has always had her eye on the trend, but ensured she stood out with her singular approach to popular demands whether couture or fashion jewellery.
She started her first independent venture in her town of Bicholim in North Goa after completing her diploma in fashion designing and cloth manufacturing from the National Institute of Fashion Designing in Hyderabad.
“I was always inclined toward the creative be it craft, painting or needle work. Being the youngest of three children, my parents had not only over protected me, but also indulged my every desire,” Pratiksha says, adding that when after completing her graduation she decided to follow a career in designing instead of law, she received all the support from her eldest brother, who was at the time based in Hyderabad.
Thereafter, following an internship with Laxmi Reddy for a year, Pratiksha reached a new crossroad in life — to live in Hyderabad, a city with many opportunities to offer, or to return home and start her own business. The former choice was lucrative as it offered the lure of a fat pay check, but in the end Pratiksha opted to strike out on her own, to be her own boss.
“With my parents’ support, I started a boutique in Bicholim after conducting thorough market research,” says Pratiksha, adding that during her research she learnt that clothes coming to Goa were mainly from the wholesale market of Belagavi and Mumbai. “These were very ordinary and common fashion. I made up my mind to stand out from the rest,” she says.
For this she resorted to her experience from Hyderabad and took the decision to specialize in varieties of ethnic south cotton, like Pochampally, Ikat, Mangalagiri, something no one had looked at before in Goa. All her scrutiny of the market and its lacunae paid off, reaping rich profits. “The unique designs of such cotton fabric had never been tapped and was an instant hit. Word spread increasing my customer base to major cities like Panaji and Margao,” says Pratiksha, pointing out that it was a time when she relied on word of mouth, exhibitions and print publicity, when there was no social media to facilitate her foray in the boutique industry.
However, seven years later, in 2006, she was to reach yet another turn in her life. This time it was more than just a new twist, it was an entire new chapter. Pratiksha got married.Everything changed. Since her husband was from Mumbai, it meant shifting base and shutting down her successful business.“Life changed dramatically. From a quiet town I was thrown into the hustle bustle of Mumbai and to add to things as a new bride I was adjusting to a new life, a new family,” says Pratiksha.
The gritty lady that she is, Pratiksha took all of it in her stride and eventually rebuilt her business in her new location, working out of rented premises.As the saying goes, people who bravely go after what they want are more successful than people who try to live, Pratiksha tasted success yet again. Her penchant for market research stood her in good stead yet again. “I found that, in Mumbai too, ethnic south cotton had not been explored and instead the fashion industry was heavily dependent on textile from Surat,” says the lady, who successfully juggled family and work.But destiny had other things in store for her. Two years later, her husband, now in the employ of a leading national daily, had to move base to Goa and once again Pratiksha had to shut shop.
“I was happy to be back to my home state, but also a little sad at having to close down my business that was doing extremely well,” she says.The family moved to Panaji and soon Pratiksha and her husband were blessed with a son. This temporarily put paid to all her entrepreneurial dreams as she decided she would like to enjoy her motherhood to the fullest, a decision wholeheartedly supported by her husband.But those blessed with an independent streak are not among those to sit on their laurels for longs. As soon as she felt her son was old enough to take care of himself she decided to strike out for herself again.
“But this time, I realized, it would not be possible to establish a fashion designing setup. For one I had the challenge of raising the capital and two my husband’s work schedule is unpredictable,” says Pratiksha was clear about the fact that business or not, her son was her priority.In January 2019, after almost six months of research, she hit on a new idea. “Fashion trends had changed in the intervening decade and more and Panaji had many boutiques by now. As usual I was clear that whatever I did had to be unique and yet simultaneously creative,” she says.
She had the education and the skill, all that was left was to now let the two meet to birth something unusual. And thus, the idea of handmade terracotta fashion jewellery, like that not seen by the Goan ladies before. Thus thereafter ‘Sringar Jewellery’ commenced.
“Unlike when my earlier two businesses, this time, my business ‘Sringar Jewellery’ was aided by the power of social media networks,” she says, adding that not only was the love and response she received from day one overwhelming, but also the exposure to other intelligent business entrepreneurs was empowering.
“With growing popularity, I got the chance to meet some very intelligent women entrepreneurs. At Goa Gowomania event held on Woman’s Day, I made some very sweet friends like Siya Shaikh, Sweta Chari, Mansi Govenkar, Smita Patil and Gouri Joshi, who used their clout on social media to promote my business.”
“Special thanks to my family nembers and close friends for being my support system in the initial days of my new venture”, Pratiksha says.But Pratiksha still dreams of revisiting her original idea, that of dabbling with ethnic fabric.
“There is a lot to be achieved. One day the brand ‘Sringar’ will go back to its roots — ethnic south cotton fashion wear — with the aim of adding a range of fashion businesses to the brand,” Pratiksha says.
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