Celebrity Stylist to Fashion Entrepreneur: A Curvy Story
Akanksha Savanal is not your normal starry-eyed 26-year-old. She’s one of the successful women entrepreneurs in India whose keen eye for the latest trends and dedication to design has seen her stitch a story from being a celebrity stylist to becoming a successful fashion entrepreneur. In a short span of 8 years, Akanksha has been a fashion stylist for Bollywood heartthrobs, studied in London, and founded a business that has already received a round of funding. HerMoneyTalks caught up with Akanksha on her fascinating story of dreams, determination, and dynamism.
Garment construction and the process of creating a clothing line had always fascinated Akanksha. She went on to pursue a Diploma in Fashion post junior college to get a taste of the industry she wanted to step into. Her career kick-started at the age of 18, assisting a senior fashion stylist for 2 years. Here, she worked with the likes of Ranveer Singh and Parineeti Chopra.
She then went on to start her own styling company with a business partner for 3 years. She also studied at CSM London to further her skills in fashion forecasting, advanced styling, and creative entrepreneurship.
Fashioning a career out of nothing
“Travel made a huge impact on my level of exposure and perspective towards the Fashion Industry,” chirps Aakansha. Back in 2016, she wasn’t creatively satisfied with the work she was then dabbling in. To put it bluntly, she was personally frustrated with the various drawbacks of the industry.
She perceived this as a great business opportunity and began researching in the clothing sector. She observed that the demand was huge, given the average Indian body type. Yet, there was a dire lack of stylish and comfortable clothing options.
Travel made a huge impact on my level of exposure and perspective towards the Fashion Industry.
Akanksha founded ‘A Curve Story’ to usher in clothing with the perfect balance of aesthetics and functionality, fitting all body types and sizes. Her core belief was that this is what any lifestyle brand should strive to do.
Having recently released a line of ‘Tees with a Purpose’ aimed at creating a space for conversations on matters of body image, mental health, and the LGBTQIA community, Akanksha wants to build the brand into a platform that facilitates important discussion and feels like an inclusive space.
Wrinkles in the path of fashion entrepreneurship
While most women would like to believe that their gender is a major hurdle in doing business, Akanksha feels differently. “I don’t think it is difficult to start a business only due to a difference in gender. I feel obstacles are same for all when you start anything new. It is unfamiliar and scary and this feeling goes away only with time and knowledge,” she opines.
According to her, the key is to create a business plan with justified projections and to believe in your idea. So, if the project looks profitable and the passion for the idea comes through when approaching a VC, there’s a high chance it will get funded.
Initially, I wasn’t very good with handling money. Time, exposure, and lessons have taught me to work much better with money. Today, I’m much more confident.
“I have been bootstrapping the business and that means tighter control on expenses. However, that seems like the best way to go until we need to scale up and involve external investment,” she reveals.
She raised a round of seed funding through her close circles of friends and family. The challenge was to put across her vision and prove viability of the company in a way that convinced all. Like most successful women entrepreneurs, she has taken the financial decisions for the company since day one.
“Initially, I wasn’t very good with handling money. Time, exposure, and lessons have taught me to work much better with money. Today, I’m much more confident to take a calculated risk and work on the viability.” Akanksha’s confident smile says it all.
Weaving her way ahead
Akanksha says her biggest challenge was to prioritize what was absolutely necessary and what was optional for the company. “I’ve become better with that after creating a clear vision statement; that helps streamline the goals as per timelines,” she says. She feels very grateful to have a family that fully supports and understands her vision. She comes from a family of varied interests and professions and have found the best mentor in her cousin. “We reason, justify, and discuss every big and small decision about the company with an unbiased view. This adds a whole new perspective to help decide better.”
On being asked about future plans, Akanksha is firm: “We are coming up with a collection of formal wear soon. For which, I want to focus on the power of a working woman. We design the cuts, styles, and patterns keeping in mind the lifestyle of an entrepreneur.”
She sees ‘A Curve Story’ creating a global mark for its attention to detail, great product quality, and stand on inclusiveness. She aims to create an offline presence with stores and pop-ups to make her products accessible and available off-the-rack. Interestingly, Akanksha plans to start shipping globally in the next few months.
“Always believe in yourself and have a strong support system in the form of friends who you can trust and openly communicate with.” True to her tag of being one of the successful women entrepreneurs in India currently, Akanksha’s words strike home.
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