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A Second Chance in Style: The Revival of Abbie Fashions

Abhilasha Srivastava

Founder, Abbie Fashions, Jaipur, Rajasthan

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Have you ever passionately pursued a dream, even when the world was hesitant to support it? That’s my story, a tale that traverses through textile lanes, designer aspirations, and a resilient heart. A tale where setbacks only fuelled my ambition further. And while my journey with Abbie Fashions started as a modest dream, it later became a saga of learning, transformation, and newfound hope. If you’ve ever felt the pangs of passion or the allure of a second chance, my story might echo yours.

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Commencing an Endeavor Driven by Passion

In the city of Jaipur, as a 37-year-old with a B.Tech in Textile from the Apparel Training and Design Centre (ATDC), I felt a hunger that a comfortable job at a top-tier textile brand couldn’t satisfy. Every fabric tells a story, every design sings a song, and I yearned to weave my own tale. Despite the family scepticism and the pressure of balancing my regular job, in 2015, I saw a dream materialize—Abbie Fashions was born, with the unwavering support from my dear husband.

“Abbie” – a word synonymous with joy, became the ethos of my designs. Being passionate about the craft, I could create unique designs, making it easier to source materials and onboard skilled artisans. But as every dreamer knows, the path to realization isn’t without thorns. Funding was elusive, logistics became a complex puzzle, and marketing the brand in a saturated market tested my mettle. Just as I was navigating these challenges, a pandemic loomed, threatening to wash away the foundation I had painstakingly laid.

COVID-19’s relentless grip on global economies forced many ventures, including mine, to pivot to a survival mode. From a brand that once promised joy through fashion, Abbie Fashions momentarily transformed to produce face masks and COVID-19 essentials. The hope was simple: stay afloat in these unprecedented times. However, by 2020, the tides of loss seemed too strong, forcing a heart-wrenching pause on Abbie Fashions. The period that followed was a blur of despair, introspection, and a haunting silence that questioned every decision I made.

Rising from the Ashes with Walmart Vriddhi

Yet, as they say, the universe has a mysterious way of bringing light into our darkest hours. 2021 became the year of my renaissance, thanks to the Walmart Vriddhi program. The initial scepticism, born from the scars of loss, soon gave way to hope and renewed vigour. Walmart Vriddhi wasn’t just a program; for me, it was my guiding star. Their structured approach to e-commerce, their mentorship, and a deep understanding of market dynamics acted as a catalyst.

With Walmart Vriddhi’s guidance, Abbie Fashions found its digital voice on Flipkart in 2022. My designs, once limited to audiences in Rajasthan and Delhi, found admirers across India, leading to a significant 25% surge in overall sales. For someone who had experienced the abyss of shutting down a venture, this resurgence felt nothing short of a miracle.

Building a Future: Sustainable, Inclusive, and Grand

Today, Abbie Fashions isn’t just a brand; it’s a testament to tenacity. The Walmart Vriddhi program has helped the company grow from a three-member team to a robust team of 12, collaborating with external manufacturers during peak seasons. Embracing sustainable fashion, the brand promotes eco-friendly products that enhance their lifecycle. The CSR initiative, Zaptex, is another feather in our cap, turning textile waste into innovative products, backed by generous German investors.

But the dreamer in me isn’t done dreaming. As I chart out the future course, I’m excited about plans to further grow our team, to dive deeper into the e-commerce world, and introduce ‘LilMod’, a brand that focuses on transforming waste fabric into toys. This new initiative isn’t just about sustainability; it’s about empowering rural women artisans of Rajasthan, weaving their skills and stories into our brand narrative. As Abbie Fashions steps confidently into the future, it is enriched with tales of setbacks, resilience, dreams, and the undying belief in second chances.

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