Meet Nidhi- The Mompreneur Behind NeedyBee
When a woman becomes a mother, her priorities change. Her life starts revolving around her kids and their safety becomes her number one priority. It was Nidhi Mehta’s search for safe, chemical-free and natural clothes for her children that led her to realise a void for such products in the Indian market. When time turned favourable, she and her husband Alop Mehta embarked on their entrepreneurial journey that led to the launch of NeedyBee. Now, in addition to selling online, NeedyBee products are sold across various boutiques and chain stores like BabyOye, FirstCry, KoochieKoo, Just Moms, and more.
In this interview, Nidhi B Mehta talks about her journey as an entrepreneur and shares some inspiring advice for women who wishes to pursue entrepreneurship.
Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
I am an MBA holder from SP Jain Institute of Management & Research and had a two-year work stint with McKinsey & Co. and now an entrepreneur. I completed my schooling from LaMartiniere for Girls, Kolkata and graduated in Business Commerce from LSR, New Delhi.
My first experience with entrepreneurship was in 2002 when I started my Dance Fitness company BollyBeatz.com. Today, BollyBeatz is a global Bollywood Inspired Dance Instruction company with classes in USA, Singapore & India. I do several Corporate team building workshops in India and Internationally.
I now spearhead the Creative and marketing team at NeedyBee. I am passionate about traveling and exotic cooking. Cooking and dance are therapy for me. I love writing too and I write a blog on women who have turned entrepreneurs and who inspire us(www.supermompreneurs.com) . I am a big supporter of women entrepreneurship and I also give talks and mentor women on this subject,
What inspired you to start NeedyBee?
We are parents first . Safety of our kids is always a priority! When we became parents we were searching near and far to find the best of natural fabrics kids’ clothes which were chemical-free, synthetic free, fashionable, safe and functional.
We found some (expensive ones though!), but we felt that there was a gap in the market for safe, chemical free, design-driven, affordable kids-wear and accessories like we could find easily in the USA.
The seed was planted then. We shortly moved to Singapore and got busy in our work roles. Destiny beckons. Five years later we relocated to India to embark on our entrepreneurial journey, and thus NeedyBee was born, and began to grow – initially, as an e-tailing business, soon followed by various boutiques, chain stores buying our products for in-store sales.
What makes NeedyBee different from the other online kids wear boutiques?
NeedyBee is a baby and kids Brand providing Head2Toe Dressing ensembles for newborn to 5 Years – fulfilling every parent’s dream! We pride in offering clothing and accessories that are made with the finest, natural, breathable and the purest fabrics to suit children’s sensitive skin.
How we are different from other brands is that we do not use any synthetic threads or fabrics in our product lines. We only work with pure and natural materials which are chemical-free, safe, eco-friendly, beautiful, functional, and affordable. We cover the entire range of products from Head2Toes for dressing a child but it is all done naturally!
We make infant and kidswear with stylish, cutting edge contemporary designs, patterns and color palettes that have timeless appeal. We are parents ourselves, and it is our humble attempt to bring back the memories of our grandmothers’ handcrafted clothing into our children’s wardrobe! Our clothes are easy to wear, wash and while being of utility, they are beautiful handcrafted simple yet classic pieces. They are finished with traditional embroideries and age-old evergreen techniques of chikankari and smocking which will appeal to every parents’ quality conscious contemporary sensibilities. Our designs defy the “whats in fashion” statement by being timeless classic pieces that can be passed down siblings and through generations!
We use Swadeshi (Indian) fabrics like Cotton, Linen, Muslin, Lawn, Long cloth and Mulmul fabrics which are lightweight, breathable and non-irritable and have been around for hundreds of year. It is great for kids clothing since it absorbs moisture and keeps the child’s skin cool. It can be dyed easily and the best part is that it gets softer with every wash.
What were the initial challenges you faced while starting NeedyBee?
Initial challenges were more related to funds, understanding how the government policies and regulations work in this field, the tax implications and finding good vendors to make our supply chain more robust .
Are Indian parents’ tastes changing when it comes to dressing up their little ones?
Yes absolutely. We have seen the growing consciousness that parents have these days to select products that are natural, breathable and good for their child’s skin, thus being a safe product. Parents look at the fabric composition and sustainability before buying. Parents are a lot more eco-conscious and want to buy products that do not harm the planet in their production process.
What was your happiest moment as an entrepreneur?
Every good customer review and feedback, every recognition, award and accolade, every successful meeting and every small inch of growth is a Yahoo! Moment as an entrepreneur. Its amazing how small things provide so much joy when you are on your own entrepreneurial journey!
What are your plans for expansion?
We plan to expand through online and offline channels like our brand presence at chain stores and having our own flagship store very soon. We aspire to be a 200 crore company within this decade creating value for our employees, customers and the planet!
Do you have any message for other women who wish to pursue entrepreneurship?
I have been to various colleges to give talks and encourage women to be entrepreneurs. All I will say to each woman reading this is that, we all have great talents, we are multitaskers and we have a survival mode that comes naturally. It’s about being confident enough to know that you can do it. Don’t waste your life living it the way others want you to. Go and take that first step to start something of your own. It will give you flexibility, sense of financial independence, self-respect, self-worth, ownership and will help you grow and be an example for your children to follow. If you are happy you will make this world a happier place! So do not hesitate. Ask for help. Ask for advice and you will be amazed how things will start falling into place!