How a painful twist of fate turned this woman into a champion entrepreneur

How a painful twist of fate turned this woman into a champion entrepreneur

Varuna Anand never thought she would be an entrepreneur, but the demise of her husband changed her life.

A qualified textile designer, Varuna, used to design sarees and home furnishings, which were exported to Europe, according to a report in Her grandfather was a well-known textile businessman from Amritsar. She spent years learning and designing home textiles and sarees for top fashion brands like House of Fraser, John Lewis, Galleries Lafayette Printemps, Laura Ashley, Tommy Hilfiger, and Satya Paul.

When she married Praveen, she found that their interests matched. Praveen, who was from Jammu, was passionate about shawl-making, and Varuna, with her expertise in textile designing, could be of great support. Praveen was keen on starting a project on shawl-making. It was called Splendour of Kashmir, and Praveen wanted to start this for his wife in 2011 and also spread awareness about the local art and craft of Jammu and Kashmir.

However, Praveen passed away in 2012. He was always confident that Varuna would be able to market the shawls well. Varuna plunged into the business in 2012 and invested around Rs 15 lakh. She promised to provide a comprehensive range of curated shawls.

Shawl-making is the largest cottage industry of Jammu and Kashmir that involves a large part of the local population. Varuna hopes to provide work and revenue to the locals and touch a large number of lives in the region through her business.

Varuna said that women are an integral part of the shawl-making industry. She pointed out that the government runs training centres to help women learn the art of Kani shawl-weaving, and it is no longer a male domain. Today, women are involved in embroidery, spinning, and sorting of the yarn, she said.

Varuna confessed that she was very insecure about carrying on with this venture. She had been sheltered a lot by her husband and never felt she could carry this venture forward without his support. She shared that her greatest high was when her work was acknowledged by connoisseurs and she was given the outstanding woman entrepreneur award by a large media group.

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