The advent of e-commerce has produced many spinoffs but one that has not been talked about at length is the emancipation and empowerment of women. In the backyard of the rustic terrain of the north Indian state of Haryana, where male chauvinism and skewed gender ratio rule the roost, online trade provided a level-playing field for women who have long faced the brunt of an age-old patriarchal society.
Hailing from a small village near Sonipat, Haryana, this is the story of Ritu Kaushik, a woman who has made a big empire online. Ritu is one of those few women who saw the potential of e-commerce and found it as a means to pursue her passion.
The Early Days
In 2016, Ritu registered herself as a seller on Flipkart and started selling her passion- the handcrafted bags under the name Ritupal Collections. Little did she know back then that she would become one of the top sellers on Flipkart. Her monthly income today is a whopping 8 lakhs and she aims to take it to 20 lakhs a month.
The number of women sellers on Flipkart has been on the rise in the recent past. In 2018, women entrepreneurs across India accounted for 10 percent of the total number of sellers on the Indian online retail giant, Flipkart.
“Maine apne shauk ko hi apna business bana liya (I turned my passion into my business),” says Ritu. Ritu truly has been a woman for substance and proves to be an inspiration for all. Even before setting up her business online, Ritu also took a rare decision of completing her graduation and going back to college. Married at an early age of 16 years, Ritu feels that her husband has been the pillar of strength and has provided all the support she needed to fulfill her dreams.
The Seed Of The Idea
Despite not many people approving of her online business idea, Ritu simply chose to ignore the negativity and pursued her ambitions. The idea of online business came to her when she saw many neighbors doing online shopping regularly. She thus thought of building a unique category of handbags that she designed herself.
“Many of my neighbors and relatives told me that there was no need for me to earn, as I am, after all, a woman.”
“Flipkart has offered me the guidance and support I needed, right from advice on how to make the most of selling online to promoting products on the platform. Flipkart even offered me a loan, but as I wanted to be financially responsible, I decided to use my savings instead,” Ritu says.
She adds, “I learned how to use a computer with my husband’s help and practiced on it when my children were at school.”
The Brand Ritupal
Ritu earned approx 1 lakh a month on Flipkart in her first year and now after almost 3 years in business, she rakes in a revenue of around 7-8 lakhs per month
To elucidate, at the end of the first year, Ritu was earning around Rs 1 lakh per month on Flipkart, as she began offering shoppers from all corners of India a product category in a brand new avatar.
Ritu’s Ritupal Collections, which features bags in the price range of Rs 200-1,500, are a particular favorite with her loyal customer base from south India. But Ritu is determined to grow her business with a specific aim of growing her customer base in the eastern and western parts of the country.
“While my income is an achievement for someone like me, I am aiming for my monthly sales to increase to Rs 20 lakh,” she says.
To be clear, Ritu’s single-minded focus is to grow Ritupal Collections into a well-known brand across India through Flipkart. Or as Ritu very pointedly says,
“Mera khawb hai ki duniya mujhe mere naam say pechanay (my aim is that people across India should recognize me by name).”