pankhuri myshka

Indian entrepreneur Pankhuri Raj. (photo provided)

When the sales of a 3-year-old online clothing store exceed that of bigger and older brands in the market, you cannot help but take notice of it. One such brand is Myshka, the brainchild of Indian banker-turned-entrepreneur Pankhuri Raj.

In 2017, Pankhuri started Myshka with her husband’s savings, according to a press release. With no outside support, she was fueled only by the ambition of creating a successful brand with sheer hard work and determination, it said. Her efforts bore fruit and her company’s sales picked up rapidly, and in 2018, she quit her job.

“I hail from a middle-class family from Ranchi, Jharkhand. My father was a government employee and nobody in our family had ever dabbled in any kind of business,” said Raj. “Ranchi is also the city which somebody like M.S. Dhoni comes from. He has been an inspirational figure to all of us. I was working as a branch manager in HDFC bank and had not really think about setting up a business for the longest time. Most businesses start with a simple but unique idea and that is what happened with me.”

Raj’s banking job took her to smaller cities like Dhanbad, Dehradun and Patna. She realized that there were very limited options as far as e-commerce was concerned in these places. She would often fulfill her shopping needs when she visited relatives in Delhi. A decade ago, e-commerce was yet to become the big force it is today, but Raj saw potential in it.

“Around 2012-13, there was just one mall in Dhanbad. People did not have a lot of options when it came to shopping for clothes. I toyed with the idea of launching an online clothing brand. I started working on ideas and started meeting manufacturers in Delhi. Since I had never done any business earlier, I wanted to be careful about everything. Things were taking a while to fall into place, but I was patient,” she said.

Raj personally visits artisans in cities like Jaipur and Surat and all the material used in making her clothes is 100 percent Indian, she said.

“We do not even use Chinese buttons,” said Raj. “All the fabric and other material we use is sourced from different places in India…We have a huge population and the interest in online shopping is growing rapidly.”

Myshka’s office in Noida has close to 80 employees, many of whom are women. The brand offers more than 500 designs and has a monthly production capacity of 50, 000 units. While the brand largely follows an online business model, it has a physical store each in Lucknow and Balliya, Uttar Pradesh, and there is one counter in a store in Malaysia. Myshka ships its products across the country. The company registered a turnover of around Rs. 12 crore in 2020, added the release.

“Working women often face discrimination and people do not tend to take them seriously. That has happened with me right from the time I started working as a banker. But we should not let any kind of challenge stop us from doing what we want to do…You must believe in your dreams and work persistently towards achieving them,” Raj said.

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