The first order for one’s startup is an emotional experience that no entrepreneur can easily forget. Ask Deepali Trivedi, a single mom, whose startup DeepArt received its first order this festive season on Amazon.in for art products—quilling frames and handmade dream catchers. An elated Deepali told About Amazon India, “It was an overwhelming moment for me. Currently, I am a one-woman army for my business.”
“I am glad that I am finally open to a bigger pool of the e-commerce market for DeepArt and my products are now going all across the country. I am very excited about the sale of my diyas, candle holders, and dream catchers that I have designed especially for the festive season,” Deepali said.
She is a member of Amazon Saheli, an initiative launched in 2017 by Amazon India to bring to the fore locally created products by women entrepreneurs in India. Since its inception, Saheli has digitized over 1.6 million rural, small town, and urban women-led businesses through its partner network. Saheli continues to accelerate digitization across multiple categories such as fashion, home, and consumables among others, through key partner collaborations.
A platform for women who wish to become financially independent
As a single mother from Gandhinagar, Deepali had endured many ups and downs. Each time she faced a challenge, she evolved into a stronger person. She was quite young when her husband fled to Africa, abandoning his family. To financially sustain her family of two, she resumed practicing as a lawyer, and transitioned to teaching a few years later. Her professional journey was adversely affected during the pandemic when the world slowed to a halt even as she recovered from terminal tuberculosis. However, resigning to adversities and circumstances wasn’t her way. So, she picked up ragged newspapers and immersed herself in the world of art and crafts.
Soon, her art gained the appreciation of friends and acquaintances. With the boosted confidence, she decided to pursue art and crafts as a full-fledge business through Amazon Saheli in January 2022.
Amazon Saheli proved to be one of the biggest milestones I have achieved on the entrepreneurial path.
“Amazon Saheli proved to be one of the biggest milestones I have achieved on the entrepreneurial path. I am truly thankful to Amazon for all the handholding, guidance, and skill training sessions it gave me to establish my business and empower myself,” says Deepali.
Deepali also highlights that the manager assigned by Amazon right after she secured herself a GST number helped her throughout her journey. “My manager helped me with everything, from keeping my business records, maintaining, and sorting files, to getting the photos of my products clicked. It has been only two months since I joined Amazon India but the love and support that the team showered upon me is something I am grateful for.”
Empowered women empower more women
Despite the apparent differences, stories of empowerment are the same in spirit. Through Saheli, Reshma Krishnan and Manali Adani, two best friends from Mumbai, felt the similar undercurrent of financial independence just like Deepali.
Aiming to better menstrual hygiene standards for women, Reshma and Manali incepted GreenHack during the COVID-19 lockdown. High on affordability, GreenHack offers a specially curated range of pads, panty liners, tampons, and condoms to ensure health and hygiene for women across India. Krishnan and Adani registered their business on Amazon Saheli in January 2022. There is no looking back since then.
With Amazon Saheli, we witnessed greater avenues to grow our business pan-India and spread awareness around menstrual health and sustainability.
Reshma said, “Ours is a social enterprise. We make recycled and upcycled paper products to dispose sanitary waste and maintain overall menstrual hygiene. With Amazon Saheli, we witnessed greater avenues to grow our business pan-India and spread awareness around menstrual health and sustainability.”
With Amazon Saheli, Reshma and Manali not only grew their business, but also started employing over 20 women from suburbs of Mumbai, empowering them along the journey. “Our business skyrocketed with Amazon Saheli. We secured 25 times growth because of which we were able to provide livelihood to women who wanted financial and social empowerment. This helped us improve our production and give back to society,” said Manali.
Manali added that the duo’s business journey is not just about securing financial independence as a homemaker but to also evolve, meet new people, and learn new skills along the way. “Thanks to Amazon, I have learned abundantly about how to grow a small business and get noticed pan-India. I feel that there is no age to growing and learning. It instills self-confidence.” Manali’s daughter now sees her in a different light. “I think I have been able to set an example for her as a businesswoman,” she says.
The duo are hopeful that the festive season will accelerate their sales. “I think the demand for our socially-conscious products will likely increase during the Great Indian Festival as people would like to try simple hacks to maintain menstrual hygiene while they are traveling and not litter the religious places that they visit.”
A good idea becomes a great idea
They say every dark cloud has a silver lining. This stands true in Vibha Closepet’s case. She was bit the entrepreneurial bug when she was diagnosed with debilitating Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Quick fixes were not solving the root cause of the problem but only provide a short-term solution. So, she decided to establish a skincare and wellness brand by taking the ayurvedic route. Cosmix was born. Vibha’s venture is based out of Bengaluru and offers variety of products including gut health powder, skincare, and haircare products, among others. Within two years of her journey as an entrepreneur, Vibha decided to grow her business with Amazon Saheli.
Vibha said, “It's been an exhilarating period with a great learning curve. Being a woman entrepreneur has its own challenges.”
“We were selling exclusively on our website for the first two years and this year we partnered with Amazon Saheli. The team at Amazon Saheli has been extremely helpful in getting us started on Amazon. They have been a constant support,” she added.
The team at Amazon Saheli has been extremely helpful in getting us started on Amazon.
Currently, women account for only 14% of the total entrepreneurs in India and about only 2% of the women entrepreneurs are able to raise capital.
“There needs to be a lot of encouragement in that area, and I hope to inspire other women to start their own enterprise.”
Vibha highlighted that Amazon Saheli opened a wider customer base for her business. As a result, she is better able to market her products. “Amazon Saheli has boosted our visibility on Amazon, which has added to our brand awareness. With the help of their incredible marketing campaigns and Amazon A+ content, we've reached a greater customer base.”