Hema Malini Nidamanuri on Blending Passion and Determination to Empower Women Entrepreneurship with Aaboli India
“As an individual, I love to face challenges gracefully. I’m dedicated towards empowering women with a rare talent who are in need of a platform to shine.” – Hema Malini Nidamanuri
There are more women entrepreneurs than ever before in the numerous spheres of the business world. The long-established role of a woman has diversified in the last century. Today’s women are dressed with enthusiasm, energy and determination. During our lifetime, we come across many success stories of women entrepreneurs and professionals but rarely do we get an inside view of the personal challenges and hurdles that contribute to their success.
To recognize and honour such powerful women and their extraordinary efforts, The CEO Magazine presents you a series of interviews of women entrepreneurs with transformational life-experiences and catalysts that triggered their passion into a thriving business venture. Here’s to one such superwoman, Hema Malini Nidamanuri, a visionary leader determined to empower thousands of women through Aaboli India Pvt. Ltd. In 2010, Hema established Aaboli to showcase and nurture the talent of Indian women artisans and the rich heritage of Indian ethnic wear. The company brings a unique collection of kurtas, sarees, accessories, jewellery etc. and caters to the needs of women from all walks of life. Aaboli India, a team of 22 proficient and top-notch designers, is a haven for regional artisans to earn their art’s value. The medium has gone beyond its online purchase model and reached out to traditional artisans in distant corners of the country.
Acknowledgement, persistence and the belief that she could achieve anything, sums up Hema Malini Nidamanuri’s approach to business. She has been in the apparel business for close to two decades. Her brand vision is to make designer apparels affordable to the common (wo)man. In less than 9 years since inception, Aaboli India has made a whopping 11.2 Crores revenue in 2018-19.
Here are excerpts from an interview with Hema Malini Nidamanuri from Aaboli India and The CEO Magazine crew:
When did you decide to be an entrepreneur?
It was always in me. I always wished to do something for myself and for passionate women who want to scale their career graph towards higher latitude. There was a turning point in my life when I moved to the US for a few years. . My globe-trotting gave me the exposure and technical knowledge required to pursue my dream.
What makes Aaboli India stand out?
Unlike other retail brands, we are striving to cut down the cost-margin barriers on our online purchases. Earlier, there were either very expensive apparels or low-economic apparels in India. The price-sensitive market didn’t care about designs and vice versa. By cutting down portal commissions on Aaboli’s designer creations, we are trying to bridge the gap between excellent work and low prices.
Share your ideology on the challenges faced by a woman to establish her own business venture.
I personally have never taken “being a woman” as a challenge. I embrace who I am. The more you get engrossed by these external perspectives, the more you lose sight of the goals right in front of you. To that I always say, don’t, they are not worth it!
How do you earn wings in work-life balance?
I have been fortuitous that my children understand me well. My husband and I are in a similar line of work, so I get to see him a lot. My day is divided between my children and my work. I travel a lot, and I make it a point to take my children with me whenever I get the chance.
Explain entrepreneurship in your favourite metaphor.
Entrepreneurship is the way to pursue a dream. It is something which brings happiness.
I found the following quote by Mark Manson most inspiring: “To be happy, we need something to solve. Happiness is, therefore, a form of action.” So, don’t pursue a business; pursue happiness.
Present your point of view on the significance of entrepreneurship and working women in India.
Indian industries need to get their heads out of the hole where business is still a man’s world. Excluding women means excluding half the indigenous workforce and expertise. I don’t think any industry in the world can see that as profit. In the same way, entrepreneurship is carrying forward the legacy of Indian businesses to the world and opening the market for young minds and fresh ideas.
If you could change anything in the Indian market, what would it be?
Online retail hubs have made the Indian market more inclusive. While these have opened many opportunities for mega-brands and mid-level retailers, niche markets outside have suffered because of them. It’s time to bring them into the fold and give them an equal playing field. If I could, then I will reduce the number of offers on portals. It will provide small- and medium-scale local businesses with a fair chance to survive and compete.
Who is a perfect business leader? What are the qualities you find in a great leader?
A perfect business leader for me is the one who has the hunger to take up challenges and see them through. Not ignoring and willing to act on it are the qualities I admire the most in a leader.
What pearls of wisdom can you give other women that are striving to reach their potential in the present era?
Embrace who you are. Be financially independent. Get the professional exposure you need. Don’t be too expectant of others.
What do you like to do the most when you are not executing your business operations?
I’m either having guests over, or I’m out with friends and family. Traveling is another hobby, but to new places. I rarely frequent old vacation spots.
Describe yourself in one word.
What do you enjoy most about what you do?
Being involved in every nitty-gritty aspect of my work. I like to see the small parts coming together to form the big picture.
How would you like people to remember you and your company?
Our focal point is to provide affordable designer wear that anyone can relate to, feel comfortable and confident in. That’s what I want to leave as my professional legacy.
What are the forthcoming Plans for Aaboli India?
We have already established good connections in both my home states – Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. Now, we are planning to expand to regional art hubs across India in the next two years. Another step is open-sourcing Aaboli’s sales for women from all walks of life, whether she is a housewife, mother, labourer, professional expert – they could host one of our shops at their own convenience.
Piece of Advice to Aspiring Entrepreneurs:
Be reasonable with yourself. Believe that you are your strongest ally. Everything else will fall into place.