MONIKA SHEKHAWAT: INTRODUCING UNIQUE BLEND OF MERCHANDISE TO EMPOWER EMERGING ENTREPRENEURS AND CRAFTSMEN
In this golden age of globalization, digitalization and start-up booms, India is clearly seeing a revolution vis-à-vis women entrepreneurs. Today, Indian women are making headwinds in just about every industry there is.
The CEO Magazine through this issue of women special intends to bring a wave of motivation to women community around the world by narrating success stories of women who explored their capabilities; were determined to rise above barriers and successfully carved out a reputation for them.
One of these gems is Monika Shekhawat, who stepped into a unique venture of bringing the authentic Indian craftsmanship to the centre-stage of today’s retail ecosystem and bridge the gap between emerging entrepreneurs, retailers and craftsmen and premium malls across the country. Monika hails as a Managing Director at X5 Retail, presenting a unique blend of merchandise and offering product categories usually not available in modern retail spaces. This enterprise works on brilliant and innovative concepts and explores relatively untapped business opportunities.
Flamboyant and Enterprising, Monika Singh is a postgraduate in Business Management and Journalism. Among the sphere, she is renowned for her dynamic approach towards all aspects of the business.
Monika currently manages all offline operations, booking of various exhibitors and manages all collections. All this while, always thought of doing something different, which, not only is less Capex Oriented but also could create hundreds & thousands of entrepreneurs.
While talking about her entrepreneurial inspiration, Monika shares, “Since childhood, I dreamt of doing something. Always made short goals and put/pasted them at a place that would give constant reminders. Once achieving these, creating another set of goals. This way, I kept moving and discovered my Inner Self a bit and therefore went on to become the Entrepreneur I am today.”
PRESENTING AN EXCLUSIVE SPACE
X5 Retail works on an exclusive space selling model, by creating a melange of fresh traditional designs with contemporary ideas and presenting it in a modern exhibition-style concept at premium shopping malls & other popular venues having high footfall, across the country. The firm puts forward a perfect mix of fresh contemporary designs with traditional Art & Craft presenting it in a modern exhibition concept in high traffic premium malls across the country.
X5 Retail employs 50 Plus people directly and an equal number of people on contractual basis. The company now boasts of creating at least 125 plus entrepreneurs and thereby creating more than 1000 jobs directly and indirectly. Ethos is very simple too. Smart & Healthy Team – Work Hard & Party Harder. The team is always enthusiastic and keen on new and creative ideas in the product offerings. They have always tried and continued in developing the unique positioning, in maintaining and growing in brand recognition and in attaining the highest quality design standards.
Today X5 Retail is the rising star with capital efficiency and is a profitable business – marketplace model. And it is probably the only enterprise in the country that can do weekend popup markets continuously every week of the year also keeping in mind that the product mix varies from season to season and festivities to festivities.
THE INFANCY STAGE
Monika decided to get into different crafts from the different states and that these crafts are usually not available in modern retail environments (like malls, metro stations, and airports) but everyone uses them. A person from Punjab, his lifestyle, home, get-together, etc. will always reflect Punjab. Likewise, it’s the same with a person from Gujarat or Bengal, Andhra, etc.
These craftsmen, entrepreneurs faced the uphill task of taking risks of 8-10 lacs to open a small 10ft x 8 ft kiosk (Deposit to the mall, Lock-in period, making the Kiosk and then investing on the Stocks). On the other hand, crafts were a good offering modern retail could offer to its customers.
Further Monkia added, “Smelling this as an opportunity, we started in 2013 and bridged this gap. Took space in bulk and did all the formalities. Made these 10ft x 8 ft kiosks and offered it to craftsmen / entrepreneurs where their only risk is 1-month rent. Rest all the risks, we took care. This way, entrepreneurs’ risks became 1/10. Conceptually, it became worthy for entrepreneurs to take the plunge.”
AND IT CLICKED!!! Not only that the business model became a success overnight but also, it gave an opportunity for hundreds of people to become entrepreneurs. These 125 plus entrepreneurs, in turn, created at least 3-5 direct jobs and at least equally several indirect jobs.
JOURNEY SO FAR
“The journey has been memorable so far a few hick-ups as well. But my husband and I work together & we love our work. And we feel that the biggest asset one can create is to make a good & fully empowered team,” stated Monika.
After inception, soon the wheels were set in motion to start first of a kind flea market which brings all the small scale merchants, retailers, manufacturers to a bigger platform in the best of high traffic shopping space.
X5 retail started its first Exhibition ‘Crafts of India’ in Infiniti Mall, Malad (west) Mumbai on October 4, 2013, with 10 exhibitors displaying a variety of products relating to the arts and crafts of the country. The product mix ranges from several categories from ethnic apparel to traditional jewellery including Wooden Craft Items and almost everything from everywhere.
FAVOURABLE ENVIRONMENT FOR ENTREPRENEURSHIP
An Organization must always encourage entrepreneurship. This generates new businesses, this generates jobs. This plays a very important part in the economy & nation building. Indian education system must have something to do with entrepreneurship and start-ups. Every kid, when He / She grow up as an adult should know the basics of Entrepreneurship / Making Money.
EXCELLENT SUPPORT SYSTEM BEHIND THE STRONG LADY
While talking about her support system, Monika Shekhawat has given credit to her brother, husband, and team. She shared, “I am Thankful to my brother, Abhishek Singh for being very supportive and always encouraging through-out since my childhood Days and also being part of this journey. My Husband Pradeep Singh Shekhawat whose exposure, knowledge made us super strong. Like it’s said 1 & 1 makes it 11. That’s what our core strength is.
My friend and colleague Agnes Alexander who has been instrumental in this hardcore space selling & collections. Like my right-hand person who also takes full ownership in all that she does. And, a very formidable team of young dynamic energetic people.”
2020 NEW LAUNCH – WEDDING SECRETS
The Company is now venturing into themed weddings business. It’s not just a destination wedding business venture but a proper themed one for the very special event of their lives.
- Royalty Weddings will take you into the Era of Royalties with the Grandeur and Activities revolving around this. People could choose between real Palaces, Forts, Castles, Havelis, etc. Both Indian & International Destinations.
- Nature Weddings. Like a Wildlife Sanctuary, or the Sand Dunes, or the Hills and will be themed into various aspects of Nature
- Beach Weddings. The name suggests the theme effectively.