Passion for fashion
In 2004, Anu Chadha founded the 3A Clothing Company to provide a better life for her two young daughters. She paved her way in the fashion industry all by herself and knew the importance of empowering other women. Anu was also a speaker at the 13th WIEF in Kuching, Sarawak in 2017.
With a passion for fashion, Anu Chadha leads the 3A Clothing Company as its founder and CEO in India. 3A Clothing Company is a fashion apparel and accessories manufacturer founded in 2004 which exports and does contract manufacturing for and sells to fashion retail chains, importers and emerging fashion designers around the world. The company also adds value by conducting in-depth studies on upcoming international fashion trends and gives design input to its business clients.
With 25 years of experience in the fashion industry, Anu sees the need to empower other women in business and she does just that through her textile business. ‘When you’re in a position of power in your life, you have an obligation,’ Anu said as a speaker at the 13th WIEF in Kuching, Sarawak, in 2017.
Passion behind fashion
Anu began her journey by setting her goal to get both her daughters to study in international universities and help them establish strong careers. After many years of hard work, Anu managed to do just that. ‘I realised the success needs a purpose and purpose was so important in my life. I just had to find innovative ways to start my journey and that’s how I started,’ she says.
Anu owes her gratitude to her first business buyer who believed in her. ‘A business buyer met me at a fashion trade fair in Scandinavia and he was looking for a representative in India and I was looking for a new project to grow and shape after working in a fashion export company for more than 14 years,’ she recalls.
Anu had never worked as a representative before but she took up the challenge head-on. She delivered the project and started earning USD2,000 a month for two years. ‘I worked hard, hired my first employee and set up my office from one of the bedrooms at my home that I converted into an office space,’ she says.
Though she has achieved her goal and her daughters have already grown to become independent women, she still aims to continue doing what she enjoys doing. ‘I always say that learning is a constant process. You have to keep innovating in your businesses because when you reach a particular level, then you have to just go a step further, raise the bar,’ she says.
As a single mother of two girls, Anu is determined to help women gain control over their lives. Her company is located on a 12,000 square feet area in Udyog Vihar, an industrial state southwest of New Delhi, India. There, she trains other women which make up 85 per cent of the workforce in her factory. In 2016, she incubated a women entrepreneur who wanted to do home textile but didn’t have the money or know how to get to the next level. ‘I felt that was wonderful because when she came and told me that she’s finally found an investor, she was thanking me for the space and ecosystem,’ she says.
Her goal is to harness the tremendous potential of these women, beyond their homes to the workplace so that they can be financially independent and a good role model in their families and communities. The company also works with and empowers local weavers in rural areas by promoting their textiles. ‘The fabric they weave ends up in scarves and garments that the company manufactures,’ she says.
Expanding the fashion industry
As one of the fastest growing customer segments, the fashion industry has been significantly affected specifically by e-commerce, fast fashion, fast turnarounds and new collections that pop up very regularly. ‘Many fashion brands are under significant pressure and our goal as their trusted vendor and partner is to make their journey easier and better. So, we’re prepared to offer the best suited designs and contract manufacturing solutions,’ she says. Anu recently invested in new digital printing facilities that are more eco-friendly, avoiding the toxic printing processes that are prevalent in the industry.
The company offers product development ideas for private labels, fashion brands and works with independent designers to compete with value additions to their products. They also customise fabrics and products that are in demand by her buyers. ‘We work with artisans and weavers who specialise in beadings and embroideries, all handmade,’ she says. Some of the apparel the company manufacturer’s include scarves, palazzos and culottes, fabric, embroidered bags, belts, resort wear, ponchos, tops, kimonos, kaftans, tunics and others such as head beadings.
In 2016, the 3A Clothing Company became a registered vendor to Walmart India for fashion apparel and accessories from India and was certified as one of top eight women owned businesses across India. Another achievement was in 2017-2018, when 3A Clothing hit record sales of fashion apparel at Walmart selling 75 per cent of their shipment within 20 days.
Anu looks forward to working with socially conscious companies to manufacture beautiful textile products for them. In turn this would provide a source of sustainable and stable work for the women at the factory, as well as give her company the opportunity to train and hire additional women, so they and their children can have stable and empowered lives.
Anu suggests that women entrepreneurs should identify their purpose and define their success. ‘That is the why for any business venture,’ she says. ‘The next step is the how, and for that it is extremely important to network and take some professional risks. Anu took that risk with her first customer. ‘It was a new role for me that I had never done, but I took the challenge head on and I learned very fast how to do it. It’s also important to have a panel of mentors you can tap into for knowledge, validation, and ideas keeping pace with disruptions happening in the industry today. It is extremely important to innovate and be abreast of the changes happening in our industry,’ Anu concludes.