It all started with a mini-terrace factory, Neha of Peperone shares her story today.
Neha Aggarwal the founder of Peperone shares the story of her business and how she started-up with limited funding. Peperone is a dynamic handbag manufacturing brand that focuses on creating unique, colourful, quirky women’s handbags and accessories.
Let’s see how Neha started-up with a small factory in her father’s terrace only to turn it into a major force to reckon with in the world of handbag e-tail.
Tell us a little about yourself and the idea of Peperone
I started working right after I got my MBA degree. Since my first job I always knew I wanted to do something that would help me satisfy my inner creativity.
It was in late 2009 that I decided to start with handbags manufacturing. I participated in the India International Leather Fair in Chennai 2010. I got a tremendous response and managed to fetch orders as well. That’s the time I realized that there was a big gap in this sector. There was a shortage of educated & cultured manufacturers.
I decided to start my own Label “Peperone” & launched it in late 2011. Our products are not only colourful and fashionable but also have the value of functionality and durability. We use faux leather which is durable and recyclable. This brings the cost of the final product down too, thereby making it cost-effective for the buyer!
How long has it been since you set-up and what were your initial challenges?
Peperone came into being in Nov 2011. Being a woman, it was difficult to set up a manufacturing unit and coordinate tasks with labourers. I was quite determined, so I started a mini-factory in my father’s office terrace. With no prior experiences everything was done on a trial-n-error basis initially. The other major challenge was funding.
So how did you initially manage the funding?
My parents supported me and gave me an initial lumpsum of 10 lakhs to start the company and fulfil orders.
After the initial support by parents, what did you do?
Within a year, Peperone was getting more popular but in order to grow I needed more funds. So in 2013, I took a loan from Central Bank of India. The loan was given on free collateral on the basis of the growth of the business. I started reaching out to Investors then.
In April 2014, Future Group Invested in us against 12 % stake in our company and gave us the opportunity to sell through retail platforms like Central, Fashion Big Bazaar, Reliance Footprints etc.
What is a typical day at work like for you?
I am a morning person, I get up early and do some Yoga followed by some household chores while getting my daughter ready for play school. I begin working after this. The greater part of my day goes into designing, R&D and execution of the business. The other part of my day goes in monitoring and creating new strategies.
What are your future goals for the company?
On the product front, we are enhancing our range to include belts and other accessories. In terms of geographical expansion, we want to go Pan India and be known as a colourful, dynamic handbags brand. We would definitely be opening our own EBO (our own retail stores). The EBO would showcase our handbags as well as other accessories.
What according to you is a must-have for an entrepreneur?
Don’t play safe, start taking risks as it will help you explore new dimensions. Accept failure again, and again.