Introducing Abhinav Daga from Jodhpur… A student of 9th batch of Post Graduate Diploma in Management – Business Entrepreneurship. His journey undoubtedly testifies the statement – Don’t stop believing in dreams.
While Abhinav’s polite mannerisms cannot go unnoticed, one is particularly attracted by his exclusive sense of fashion – subtle, classy and intricately detailed. He begins with an ear-to-ear smile, “I got into all this by default. Never knew I had this in me. I had joined EDII with different plans but the course and the Institute made me realise my potential which I had never acknowledged.”
Abhinav hails from a family of farmers and agriculture was all that he had always thought about with the only difference that he held a contemporary approach to agriculture. Abhinav wanted to associate agriculture with his modern education and do something worthwhile for the upliftment of his village. He joined EDII to study PGDM-BE with specialisation in agri-entrepreneurship. He says, “My only goal was to study agriculture from the perspective of entrepreneurship and modern approaches but at EDII, I realised the difference between my preference and talent. My preference was to study agriculture and because of this I could never pay attention to my talent of fashion designing; to my keen eye for style and trends.”
Abhinav had never thought he would take up any other profession other than that related to agriculture. At EDII, he realised that the peer group was always in appreciation of his taste for clothes. At some of the in-house events, Abhinav even designed clothes for his classmates and was applauded for his work each time.
He recalls how a friend had once chided him for studying agriculture and had mentioned that he must take up fashion designing. That was the first trigger for Abhinav and as he says, “From that day I started taking every small task of fashion designing, very seriously.” Although Abhinav was pursuing agripreneurship, he consulted his mentors about the scope and options in fashion designing and tried to simultaneously build his network and knowledge.
Abhinav learnt the art of doing business and with the help of his mentors, crystallised his plans. He says, “I am grateful for all the mentorship and help that I received in setting up a business outside the domain of agriculture, which was my area of specialization. My guide helped me firm up my action plan and in the meantime, I crossed paths with Priyanka, a fashion graduate. Our friendship blossomed and while we decided to get married; we also simultaneously floated our new venture : Abhipri – The Jodhpuri Paridhan.”
Abhinav envisioned ‘Abhipri–The Jodhpuri Paridhan’ primarily to cater to global customers who, he researched and discovered, did not have access to authentic ethnic attire of Jodhpur. His clothes carry his trademark taste which is reflected in every minute detail of his outfits.
Abhipri designs Jodhpuris – bandhgala, sherwanis, Hunting Shirts, Breeches, Indo-western wear & Nehru Jackets that bear the genuine Jodhpuri signature and showcase the most contemporary western cuts.
No wonder Abhipri is a top brand today. Just this name is enough for customers to bestow faith; for them Abhipri stands for quality, ethnicity and modernity.
But was the journey easy for Abhinav? He reminisces, “It was difficult to convince my father. He had always thought that I would join agriculture. My family had spent lot of money in my training in the area and to mention to them that I was thinking about venturing into the fashion industry was quite a task.” No one in Abhinav’s family had ever got into anything to do with textiles and hence, the level of apprehensions was high. His family even tried to discourage him but Abhinav had done his research and crystallised his plans – there was no way he was backing out. Finally, his family had to relent.
The first challenge Abhinav had to face was finance. He had his project proposal in place; the banks were ready to loan him but his father who harbours an anxiety about availing bank loans did not allow Abhinav to take this route. He offered to loan him which Abhinav accepted. Abhinav says with pride and relief, “Within three years, I repaid the amount which I had borrowed from my father.”
There were struggles for him, especially in the first year of operation. He was dependent on fabric producers, and processors, and a delay on their part meant a breach of commitment on Abhinav’s part. There were complaints about the accessories used in his outfits, which he purchased from the open market. As rectifying measures, Abhinav entered into a contract with a fabric supplier and a processing house, ensuring a fixed number of work days solely for him. This gave him control over their functioning. He also started manufacturing every small accessory in-house. Even the threads used in stitching were monitored personally by Abhinav.
“The first year was full of complaints,” recalls Abhinav. In several situations, in order to win the trust of his customers, he even returned payments in case of outfits for which he received complaints. Going by the bleak profits in the first year, for a moment, anybody would have thought of closing down but Abhinav was there to persevere. He started off the second year with a better control over all departments of cloth-making and his hard work paid. Today Abhipri – The Jodhpuri Paridhan commands a turnover of ₹7 crore. Abhinav smiles, “There is still a lot to do; there are still markets which I haven’t tapped, both nationally and globally. Very soon, I will go online with my products. I am sure this and the other initiatives I am planning will yield even better results.”
May you be always embellished in success. All the best Abhinav.