Meet The SHEROES: Devhuti Minocha, Founder & CEO Dhrohar
Devhuti works under her brand name ‘Dhrohar’ and creates exquisite home furnishings, garments and accessories inspired by the rich Indian handloom heritage and design legacies. She tweaks traditional patterns to present creative contemporary artifacts.
Devhuti completed her master’s in business management and then went on to work in different capacities with various multinational organizations in India. With an experience ranging beyond 12 years in the Software/IT industry and having made her first entrepreneurial bootstrapped venture “www.Dhrohar.com” a successful e-commerce business, it is only fair to consider her the best in the business.
It is through her hard work, commitment and sincerity, that she laid the founding stone of Dhrohar. Devhuti is an entrepreneur who juggles work and kids smoothly and believes that prioritizing work is the key to success. She is a mother of two beautiful kids Harshit 7 & Dhriti 2 years.
She is on a mission to bring forward the high quality and affordable products from the bottom of the pyramid from rural handloom industry in India. Through Dhrohar she not only nourishes and nurtures the local craft of India but also links craft based rural producers to modern urban markets, thereby creating a base for skilled, sustainable rural employment, and preserving India's traditional handicrafts in the process. Devhuti devotes her time working towards women empowerment and helping the local artisans promote and revive their unique craftsmanship.
Aside from Dhrohar, Devhuti loves to travel, paint, watch movies and read.
Tell us a little about your life
I was born in a family of royal lineage in a small town Tajpur of District Bijnor in Uttar Pradesh. I did my schooling in the beautiful Doon valley and then I went on to do my master’s in business management. I was always fearless and focused and knew that I wanted to become an entrepreneur. I worked in different capacities with various multinational organizations in India for about 12 years.
After my first born I took a two year career break but kept myself busy doing freelance work and could easily get back to main stream work with the help of my very supportive Husband. Now I have two lovely kids my son Harshit is almost 8 years and my daughter Dhriti is 2.5. They are my inspiration as I firmly believe that if children have working mothers, they treat women very differently, with a lot of respect. So when they marry, they will treat their wives differently.
How and why did the idea of Dhrohar come about?
I have seen closely the distress of the weavers as the hand weaving industry was in a slump and how despite being the best in their trade they have limited business due to lack of exposure to the national and international market. Since the beginning I was very keen to do something for the economically weaker section of the society and especially for women empowerment.
Dhrohar not only means the beautiful Indian legacies that our store aims to promote, but is also the initials of my children. “Dhr” from Dhriti and “Har” from Harshit with an “O” in between that symbolize the infinity.
Dhrohar was registered to do business in Novenber 2014 and we launched our online store in January 2015. Our products are now available across all the leading ecommerce marketplaces like Amazon, Flipkart, Jabong, Snapdeal, PayTm, Shopclues, Limerod etc…
When setting up a venture in this space: what are the challenges one can typically face?
For a first time entrepreneur life is full of challenges. You eat, breath and sleep thinking about your next strategic move. Fortunately for me the weaver were very supportive because of their long affinity with our families and we have had a mutually beneficially smooth relationship with the weavers. Also, coming from a Software/IT industry helped me to understand the Ecommerce business easily and tech has not been much of an issue. But being bootstrapped, the financial is a big challenge. I have to juggle a lot of odd jobs from being a designer, quality checker, marketer, accountant and what not. We constantly have to keep a strict check on our expenses as we cannot afford to spend wastefully. Every expense has to make business sense.
Also, unlike a brick and mortar store that will at least get organic foot falls just by being there, a major challenge with an online-only business is that no one knows that you exist till you reach out to them. That again meant money for marketing. Understanding what the customer is looking for and providing over and above is the key to success.
What differentiates Dhrohar from other ventures in the industry that deal in rural handlooms / handicraft products.
Dhrohar creates exquisite home furnishings, garments and accessories inspired by the rich Indian handloom heritage and design legacies. We tweak traditional patterns to present creative contemporary artifacts.
Dhrohar is on a mission to bring forward the high quality and affordable products from the bottom of the pyramid from rural handloom industry in India. Through Dhrohar we not only nourishes and nurtures the local craft of India but also links craft based rural producers to modern urban markets, thereby creating a base for skilled, sustainable rural employment, and preserving India's traditional handicrafts in the process.
All our handloom products are unique in terms of feel, texture, design and carry the feel of human touch in every warp and weft. Everything Dhrohar creates is genuinely inspired by the regal past, yet it is reproduced to fit contemporary life-styles. The trick is in making old turn new, the intricate simple and that which is heritage, very modern. Our range of products are durable, strong, light in weight, absorbent, washable and holds color permanently. The products are widely appreciated for unmatched quality and durability.
Where do you aim to see Dhrohar and yourself professionally in the next 5 years?
We initially started with home furnishings but now our collection includes men's ethnic wear, women's apparel, fashion accessories, scarves and stoles, in cotton and silk. We plan to add a lot more categories and products to our pallet in future.
At present our products are available on all major marketplaces along with our own ecommerce portal. We are planning to build an offline presence also to showcase the best of Dhrohar, in our own unique style.
We have been successful in being unit economic positive and over the next years we aim to be more profitable and be able to generate more employment and empower our weavers.
Presently we are only catering to the domestic market but we soon will start shipping internationally. We intend to establish Dhrohar as a global brand.
As a working mother, what does it take to balance the home front / life as a parent and your business?
Hard work, commitment, sincerity and a lot of patience! It is the zeal to excel that keeps me going. My husband is very supportive and my pillar of strength. It is with is unconditional support, advice and motivation that I can easily juggles work and kids smoothly. He is the wind beneath my wings.
I believe that prioritizing work is the key to success. A lot of focus and determination is required to keep your self-motivated to achieve your dream. Our main topic of discussion at home is also always about “Dhrohar” and how we can grow the business and make it more profitable. It really amazes and inspires me how the entire family is so helpful and excited to see Dhrohar do well.
What is a typical day at work like for you?
My day starts pretty early at around 5:30 in the morning. Morning Tea with my husband is an essential ritual that kick starts my day. I play a round of chess with my son before sending him to school. I chalk out the day’s important task that needs to be accomplished as per their priority so that the day is not lost in closing the routine challenges.
I always set targets for the quarter, month and week. This helps me keep track of the progress and also to take corrective actions if and we are deviating or lagging from the target roadmap. I make sure that despite the busy schedule I am able to spend some great quality time with the family.
What has been the most inspiring part since inception of the venture?
Since the day I started, I have learnt so much — the importance of an idea and its execution, of taking people with you and of focus and hard work, of getting outside the comfort zone and of learning from one’s and others’ mistakes. I have transformed in the way I view problems and hurdles – that every problem is an opportunity too. More importantly, I have discovered that entrepreneurs need to be patient and must be true to themselves.
There have been ups and downs: ups when the products find appreciation with people and when the weavers are happy. The downs are when I did not have enough money and when production in villages do not happen the way they should. The whole journey has been so inspiring.
Any thoughts you would like to leave our readers with?
We need more women entrepreneurs. It is important not only for economic well-being, and that it makes business sense, but also from a social perspective.
We’re just human beings at the end of the day, with one life to live. Just go out and do that! DREAM, WORK HARD AND SUCCEED!