Through our intriguing conversation with Mrs. Purvi Rohit Pugalia lets us explore her fascinating entrepreneurial experiences, and understand what led to the incorporation of her apparel brand Not So Pink.
Q 1. You and your husband are serial entrepreneurs, having launched and successfully run multiple ventures across various sectors. When did you first realize you wanted to enter the fashion world?
Ans- I happen to be from a textile background and have always been fashion-conscious, staying up-to-date with the latest industry trends. It was not late before I identified a gap in the women’s workwear domain in India since not many brands were offering western workwear keeping the body shapes & sizes of our women in mind. It also occurred to me that determined & fearless Indian women need a brand that they can call their own; one that complements all their aspirations & beliefs, which most international brands have been unable to do. Hence, I took it upon myself to create a brand that could speak the language of Indian women at the workplace & beyond.
On the other hand, my husband Rohit Mohan Pugalia, being a very sociable person, was fortunate enough to interact with personalities from all walks of life during his entrepreneurial journey. During this journey, he observed an unexplored market gap in India where western workwear apparel & accessories for women could use some vibrancy to break away from the monotony set by the standard boardroom colours.
Through our own set of unique experiences, we both arrived at the same conclusion, and that’s how Not So Pink was incorporated.
Q 2. Tell us, what is your definition of fashion?
Ans- Fashion isn’t about what malls highlight just to make clothes take off their racks, or what some international brands make you believe after setting confined beauty standards. Fashion is a way to express one’s personality. Some buy apparel to suit their shape, and others, after seeing a famous personality flaunt it. But I have learned that it should be the other way round because your fashion statement should reflect your personality. Also, it’s vital to keep comfort at the forefront when choosing outfits while also ensuring you pick versatile statement pieces that can be mixed & matched effortlessly all year round.
Q3. What prompted you to think of this unique name for your brand?
Ans- The Indian woman of today is setting the benchmark in the business world every single day. Her powerful presence in the corporate environment has proven that she’s got what it takes to take any challenge head-on. She’s not one to follow the crowd, which is why she makes it to new unexplored heights of success very often.
She’s achieved so much and aspires to do so much more, but society still looks at her through the lens of some age-old stereotypes, like her association with the colour pink! Her personality has often been incorrectly assumed as girlish, soft, and overly emotional, while the ground reality is drastically different for Indian women & the colour pink. At Not So Pink, we aspire to challenge the many stereotypes faced by Indian women at the workplace & beyond.
Q4. What is the essence of your brand and how does it cater to women beyond preconceived notions and age-old stereotypes?
Ans- Not So Pink makes bold & expressive western work wear to fit ambitious & impressive Indian women. Our outfits are created keeping comfort & versatility at the forefront – western work wear that can easily be donned from noon to moon with ease. We came into existence so that women don’t have to pick between comfort & style. Also, there was a dire need for contemporary apparel & accessories that offer an incredible fit to Indian women of all body types, which is why we offer every style ranging from XS-XXXL.
It caters to women beyond preconceived notions & stereotypes because why should everyone be confined to dull boardroom colours & patterns? Our vibrant apparel gives a spin to the otherwise drab workwear and redefines office attire for Indian women. Moreover, there’s an age-old saying in the fashion industry – ‘dress according to your shape’. But we encourage women to ’embrace their curves’ because they are beautiful the way they are, and nobody can tell them otherwise. We want women to be proud of their shapes and not feel pressured by the narrow-minded definition of ‘ideal beauty’ introduced by some brands in the fashion industry. Just wear what makes you happy, feel confident and express yourself comfortably.
Q5. If you could go back and tell yourself one thing before launching your brand, what would it be?
Ans- Before the launch of Not So Pink, we had two plans in mind. One blueprint was more dominant on establishing a retail presence, to begin with, and another one that targeted digital & online platforms. The pandemic really transformed people’s purchase behaviours & the definition of western workwear since ‘work from home’ emerged. That’s why I would go back in time and tell myself that we opted for the right business plan that was more dominant on the online front and it was the correct decision to create comfortable & multi-utility apparel & accessories that are ideal for women at every level in the corporate ladder.
Q6. What is your favourite part about owning ‘Not So Pink’ and how do you want women to feel when wearing your clothes?
Ans- My favourite part about owning Not So Pink is that we follow a body-inclusive approach and aspire to redefine the traditional size chart for women’s workwear in India. Not So Pink’s focus is to make garments that are long-lived. We are constantly working towards offering fresh styles to our consumers with similar aesthetics. I also feel proud of the ability to highlight the high-flying nature & the remarkable journey of the quintessential Indian woman with our #NotSoTypical marketing campaign on our social media platforms.
I want women to feel confident, comfortable & reassured when they don western workwear & accessories by Not So Pink. She will exude confidence because the outfits reflect her personality, experience comfort since we are a ‘desk to date’ companion and feel reassured because of our presence at every step in their journey to success and celebrations after.
Q7. Where do you see yourself and the Indian Fashion Industry in the next 10 years?
Ans- The fashion domain is an ever-evolving space, and the pandemic has also contributed to changing how workwear today is perceived. Women are slowly starting to demand professional apparel with comfort & functionality as the cornerstone. I see a rise in demand for zero maintenance workwear and eclectic styles at the workplace in the coming years. Today the old-fashioned Indian corporate environment dominates how people dress to work, but I foresee young independent working professionals in the future taking matters into their own hands and wearing whatever resonates with their style. Not to forget the trend of sustainable fashion that’s on the rise. Many new practices are being developed and support being offered towards sustainable fashion each day because it bodes well for the future of the industry, planet and humankind at large.
Once Not So Pink has established itself in the hearts, minds & wardrobes of Indian women, years later, I see myself being receptive to the pain point of consumers in another domain and trying to solve a problem for them to the best of my ability.
Q8. What advice would you give to young designers/entrepreneurs just starting out and hoping to make it big in the fashion industry?
Ans- Many conversations & campaigns in the world of fashion revolve around ‘perfection & ideal beauty’. But beauty isn’t just limited to a select few women with a zero size figure. In my opinion, this isn’t even a topic of discussion because beauty comes in all shapes & sizes, which is a change emerging slowly but surely in the fashion sphere. For anyone just starting out in the fashion industry, I would like to say that fashion should always revolve around size positivity & body inclusivity because then you are not only part of the industry & business – you become part of a movement. My message for young designers would be to create apparel that boosts confidence & complements people’s personalities. Don’t just create pieces to wear; make designs that people can carry with pride. My advice to young entrepreneurs would be that they should not let fear get the best of them and always follow their dreams and move ahead with utmost self-belief. The life of an entrepreneur is full of challenges & risks, but it is precisely that which makes the journey fruitful. Take calculated risks that will eventually define your character, and always have an alternate plan of action in mind. Also, ensure that the people in your organization are growing alongside the company and your words & actions are constantly aligned. This should assist budding entrepreneurs to leave an impact in the world of business & fashion.