This Boss Mom Has Built A Leading Fashion Exhibition And E-Commerce Brand
You’re never too old to learn and start something, and if you ask for a real-life instance for this phrase, then we will tell you to look at Shalini Agarwal. A Boss woman, who she set up one of the leading fashion exhibition company, along side an e-commerce brand, in India, named Aspiration .
How it came to be
After Shalini’s youngest sister’s marriage, their mom greatly felt her absence. To keep her occupied, Shalini along with her father opened a small boutique in Kolkata to sell sarees and suits made by her mom. As Shalini had shifted to Jaipur after her marriage, she, in 1999, planned for exhibiting her mother’s authentic creations. With these exhibitions continued, overtime Shalini started getting requests from her friends and relatives to place their product stall at her exhibition events.
Over the years, this small scale exhibition was received with great response, and finally, it turned into a commercial space in 2007- Aspiration. Aspiration is an event company that organises offline lifestyle and fashion exhibitions thereby connecting vendors or brands and customers directly.
During the lockdown, in July 2020, Aspiration Bazaar came to be, which is the e-commerce portal . Their purpose is to approach designers from various cities across India and display their products at a common ground which are not readily available in that particular city.
About the lifestyle and fashion exhibition brand
The Jaipur-based brand organises exhibitions mostly in the cities of Rajasthan and Gujarat, and in other cities like Chennai, Kolkata, and Delhi.
Since the initial days of having 3 – 4 stalls, Aspiration has now grown to exhibit over 100 vendors, with more than 5000 customers visiting these exhibitions. As well, they designate some space at the exhibition for start-ups to showcase their product(s). Shalini claims that almost 50 vendors in Jaipur are able to sustain great businesses because of Aspiration.
Target customers for the brand are people between the age of 5 – 55 years, who wish to experience exotic fashion and lifestyle products. With attractive décor, food stalls, freebies, and fancy photo booths, Aspiration events do not just aim for sales but delight customers with a fun-to-be-in environment as well.
Aspiration Bazaar has 200+ verified vendors, each selling more than 50 products through the e-commerce portal. The sellers are charged a certain registration amount at the time of sign up. Also, for easy access, the customers are provided with a direct link to the vendors wesbite. For better perspective of the market, the vendors are acquainted with the Google insights and analytics of Aspiration Bazaar as well.
Bootstrapped, the company started churning out profits and turned cash flow positive within three years from their commercial launch. The core team of Aspiration brand consists of 4 members, for both online and offline businesses.
Aspiration events used to organise around 10 exhibitions every year, at various places across the country. But with the lockdown coming in effect, they couldn’t host a single event.
“The entire year of 2020 has been horrible for me. Even then I managed to make the best out of this situation; getting Aspiration Bazaar up and live. My daughters find it cool that I’m going digital at the age of 63 years. *laughs*
But, Aspiration is anticipating a good comeback in the offline space, once the unfortunate pandemic is under control.
Surely, I Boss Mom!
Agarwal, who has always been a barrier-breaker, proudly says,
“It is because of my husband’s support that I could be, where I am today.”
The successful mom entrepreneur, born and brought up in Kolkata, was not able to receive the education she wanted in her childhood during ‘those conservative times’; she was married off at the young age of 19. So, Shalini made sure that both her daughters get proper education and can achieve what they set out for.
“A working woman evolves as a person. The family, including the children, gives respect rather than taking her for granted. We can achieve everything we aim for, as we have amazing multitasking skills, but one must ensure to move forward in life by taking our family along, as after all we are homemakers too.”