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You are listening to Uncommon Women on Red podcast when fashion designer Anita Dunn restarted her business with two sewing machines in her bedroom balcony in the early 1990s. Little did she imagine that one day she would be dressing people like Kate Middleton, Hillary Clinton and Ivanka Trump. Today, I need those at the top of her career. She enjoys huge success. But it wasn't always this way. As a young designer, her clothes were rejected when she tried to open her own store.
People didn't take her seriously. Did I need to give up? No. Instead, she decided to never take no for an answer. Hello and welcome to Uncommon Women. I am your host guy, Teranga Asia, and I bring you inspiring stories of women breaking barriers to make the world a better place. Just society but love. Later, he hit two years ago at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. I had the pleasure of meeting Anita, India's most successful fashion designer.
She was speaking at an event there and the room was packed. It's not hard to see why. Twenty one years ago, Anita opened her first store in Mumbai and today sells out of 1000. She even has one in New York City. She has created successful fashion brands Lebas Like and Global DC, Anita Dungaree, Bridal Couture Grassroot and jewellery brand Big City. Her company has a turnover of a thousand crores or one hundred and thirty million dollars more than any other Indian fashion designer and from her humble beginnings in a tiny space.
Today, she works in her own state of the art, environmentally friendly office building. Anita, it's lovely to have you on the show.
I go to thank you so much for having me on your show. How are you doing doing this? Go with dames? Oh, well, on a professional level, very challenging.
But on a personal level, you know, just to stay at home and working from home has been wonderful.
The Colbert pandemic has really affected businesses everywhere, and fashion in particular has taken a beating. How are you faring?
You know, the stores have just started opening up. I think it's just been about Denby's and two of the stores have opened up and some of them opened three days of the week. So it really hasn't started for us. I reckon it also just started shipping two weeks ago. It's a little too early to tell, but I know our whole focus is just on, you know, just making sure that everybody is well looked after. We have so many people depend on us and just, you know, just making sure that we're there for the teams, trying to think of ways to bring in more revenue, maybe to digital, because the brick and mortar stores are facing challenging times, doing business, WhatsApp, just trying to see how best we can get everything back on track and how the factory has started.
It's just started with 10 percent of people waiting for when we will all be able to walk together and, you know, working on how will we do this effectively, how will you do this? So, you know, keeping everybody safety in mind. So, so much of what is going on before we all come back to work.
How many employees do you have an estimate?
About two thousand five hundred employees in the company who are directly employed by us. That's the number that comes with your responsibility? That's right. That's that's a very large number of employees. And, yes, like I said, it's a huge responsibility, and especially in the last two, three months during covid, you know, just the concern for everyone has kept us busy, actually. Right. I work with the various local group. I basically look after design.
So Michael that I work with is actually quite small. And then you have a lot of front end of the stores. You have funding staff. So when I say this number, it includes front and back and all of it. All right. So we're just pissing everybody apart. And I'm just feeling so blessed and thanking God that I have this wonderful space. But I can observe sort of distancing for everyone because it's a very, very large space.
And I'm grateful that I invested in this space about four years ago and they had the foresight to do it because I used to hate working in Bombay, not Auckland Industrial Estates. You know, as a young fashion design student, I went into these little little factories and liberal and the or she got up and asked, what is one that is by far the most beautiful clothes in the world made in these places. And it was always a dream of mine that I will walk from a space that so that's I mean, it's quite utopian, my space, to be honest.
It feels like a holiday resort home with all of these lovely is there's a lot of space. There's we have we have six dogs we've adopted there. So it's it's a great space to work. So and I'm grateful for that. In a time like this, it's a green building and everybody will have the space and we all come back. And of course, it allows me to practice social distancing, which just to do so important. Very early on in the pandemic, you set up a medical fund of one point five crore to support smaller vendors, self-employed artisans and your partners who do not have medical insurance or coverage to prepare for medical emergencies arising from the crisis.
How did you decide to put that together?
We I just struck us and we were just actually, you know, just dealing with the impact. Well, Michael, you know, it's not up to India. No, my God, this is what's going to happen in this one year for us and our country. And like Southeast Asian countries will experience this problem in the past. For us, it's so new. And, you know, my brother and me were sitting there and I said, oh, my God, you know, this is going to impact so many of our people.
And, you know, we don't know to the people who directly work for us, who work for the company, which is a staff of two thousand six hundred, they all have, of course, medical insurance. But you have a lot of vendors and you have a lot of other people who actually are supplying to you, but they're not on your payroll. So this fund has really started to just be there as a blanket for them in case any of them ever need any help.
You've got women you work with in villages in Maharashtra to create employment and they've started making mosques that you're donating to various organizations.
And they've been amazing. So that we are I firmly believe that, you know, it's women, especially women in rural India, who in impact our country really positively if they are brought back to the workforce. Three or four years ago, I was chatting to my husband and she said, you know, why don't you put the margin, the politicians? Yes. Yes, she's a good friend. And she said, you know, I've adopted this village and there is no employment for anybody there.
And why don't you come and then what is it that you can do with them? Can you come in? And she wanted me to do maybe embroidery with them, but that is not possible because we work with skilled artisans. And what you do, I think, is something that's inherited from your parents and grandparents. But even to this village and mother should be discovered that they had more goods at all. And we started pursuing training center and we were very surprised they said this.
And that's basically we're not going to be the game changers in our country, is that we put up a notice that you just said anybody can come and enjoy for the training and not a single man. And it was only the women who came forward. Forty five women came forward and wanted to change and impact their lives. And we started that one center. Today we have five a.m. and I went to school, obviously, because of the lockdown. We couldn't open our head office in Mumbai, but we got government permission to open the unit and into other units.
The women came forward to start making the mosque. So it was wonderful that they did that. And they still it I mean, they're still I think we manufacture the best of in two thousand so far and there's still seventy thousand monasteries. Yes, that's remarkable. I'm using all of these to donate. We've been giving them to various government organizations and whoever needs them to NGOs, whoever's supporting us. We've been giving this we've not yet started selling any mosque that any of the rents.
These are being used specifically to just spread, you know, keep them out and people use them.
I would like to circle back and ask you about your early days. You started your career with two sewing machines. What got you interested in designing and what were those early days like?
It was I was very fortunate to do that at a very young age. I knew what I wanted to do. I think when I was about fifteen and I was in the 10th grade, I was quite sure that fashion is what I want to take up. So after my 12th, I enrolled at S.A.T., which is of course the only fashion design school board, but a bandwagon that wasn't always convenient for my parents. And they agreed to be in Mumbai, but with my heart and soul in Jaipur because my parents come from Jaipur.
So every year my summer vacations were in jeopardy. And I think that's where the love of design really marched, because I used to go to war three months in summer vacation right from the time I was born to the airport. And I was spending a lot of time in the bazaars of people who like my mom to remember. She said, you know, when you were about twelve or thirteen, you were not interested in going to the garden and you were sitting with the lap band Goodbye getting your Bangles design.
You were sitting at the bottom. She says you were always very stubborn, but you didn't want to buy anything from a store. You'd want to get it made to your specification. And yeah, I went to design school, totally found my passion. And I think it's so important that all of us find our passion to become our professions as soon as it entered SMPTE. And after one week I said, this is it, I love this. I had some great teachers grateful to them and started school with a couple of years.
There were no fashion week. There was not dorm like a fashion designer. Then you had to women particularly that because there was no thing like a boutique, like she's a woman. Should we be taken seriously then? Not even now. Sometimes so much has changed. And I was just just actually dying to, you know, to create. And I got. This is also to join this cause because actually she just didn't know what to do after the tour as.
Why don't you join fashion design? So we both started it together. It's been a great journey from two sewing machines in my balcony to move to a two hundred square foot garage. From there, we move to a 500 square foot little office. I just moved and moved literally every two years. And I need this where I am today. Did your parents instill in you the idea that you have to work?
Kayapo could become Konarski here in today's generation. Will not believe this, and a lot of that is engaged with it. When I took up my first job after my internship, my father, when he got to know it was it was a big drama in the house. He was like telling my mother, how can you send it for a job? Hamady That my father sat me down and said, the girls in our family don't work. They don't have to clean and they get married.
And that's what you will do. How dare you go to look, I have to really, really fight it out with my father. I had to make my then boss to call my father and said, no, she's coming to work. And, you know, we were going to make sure he came to my office to check it out. The first time he was a baby protective father. He was very I mean, I was the first girl in my family who took up a job, and then I was the first girl in the family where we even started our own business to.
And the money I bought the idea. Where did you get this courage and how did you decide to do this?
I don't know. You know, see, my and this is also always ask me, this is how come you are different? You know, I don't know. I sort of feel a sense of independence. And I think when I was very young. So what do you it why the man was so intelligent, always trying to play, you know, what women do when used to do these stories, undermine themselves and try to show that they're not that smart or, you know, I used feel that women are as smart as men.
Why do they play this slightly secondary role in the house? Why is the father figure out the man was Hooved and unities? Because he brings an I think a homemaker is doing an equally important job in the house. But I think somewhere I come from a very traditional Sindhi family. I saw that the ultimate power in the family always was in the man's hand. And I noticed that. And I noticed at the bar looking in the man's hand because he was the breadwinner, I was always very sure that I'm never going to depend on a man to be economically independent.
I was very fearless about that right from childhood. I always wanted to own my own money and taking up a job, and I was very lucky that I started in a profession which is also my passion. But I did have a fierce drive to be economically independent. I don't know why that was very important to me. So I was very different from everyone else. But I argued with my father saying I'm not going to get married off to somebody.
You say I'm going to own my own money and I'm going to earn more money than a man. I used to tell you and my dad used to look at me and wonder where this comes from.
You then moved into a five hundred square foot space and your business really took off. How did that happen?
In the last ten years of my career, you know, it was very new and there were no towns like fashion designer. There was no Fashion Week. So I was basically supplying to a lot of mom and pop stores all over the country. I remember I used to take a suitcase assumptions and take the train to Delhi and ensure my samples to the big stores in Delhi, come back with my orders and then my dad got an order to five 500 pieces from the store.
So I was in business, but I was applying to other stores is exactly twenty years ago. Well, I wanted to kind of change the kind of clothes I was making and I was a little tired of being or embellish clothes, you know, doing clothes with a lot of embroidery because that's what the stores wanted. And I really wanted to I wanted to launch design boys of my own. You know, I'd see I was seeing and friends on me had started working.
Everybody was entering the workforce. I think my generation kind of was the first generation that is among my associates. Everybody now was like, well, you know, I think it's cool that we should work. Let's take up jobs at some of the more important jobs. And in is dressing change. We what we were wanting to wear, what to attribute to him as Western clothing or global clothing. It wasn't available here and me and my friends. But I was like, you know, why do we have to go abroad to shop for our clothes?
So I was very keen on starting a line of clothing that was global attire, what you see and available in sizes and something you could just come and pick up off the rack and buy. At that time, designers were all just making one medium size or embellished clothes. And I wanted to do like simple white, simple linen trousers, shift dresses, the kind of guilt I like wearing. And I wanted to create this brand. And so when I created the first collection of what I really visualized with the contemporary Indian woman at that time wanted and what I wanted when I saw the line to all the stores.
They completely reject it, I mean, each store that I've been supplying to for the last 10 years and doing fantastic business with it. Do you should to buy embroiled in the country? They got the store that they've been to understand the individual witnesses and then they have to. And I'm so upset with none of the court's willing to stop the line because they still want to go and embroidered Langata items. But I just decided that if I were going to stand on my own and it took a lot of convincing to you, this unknown God who wasn't the brand name wasn't on 20 years ago, who gave her this piece to give me a tiny little two hundred square feet, store all the international brands.
And remember, I was right opposite philosophy and took a lot of thought. We should probably forget that store. And then there was no looking back because that's store from day one, just the old. And, you know, I think it was the highest four square foot selling store in the mall. And that's when I really loved what I was doing much more because I said, God, I'm creating and selling to the consumer. I'm creating manufacturing and selling to the consumer directly.
And that's something I've always loved because I love to be close to that woman whom I'm selling to. I love to listen to all. I love to see them. I would love to see how what I make to sponsor impacts because they said fashion is it's an emotion, right? There's so much emotion behind what you do. I meet women who say you and I want you for my first interview. I wore that black jacket and I still have it or I bought this.
But my engagement I bought this when I went on my first date. So I just think it's interesting to do what I do.
How did you face some of these challenges?
And I just think challenges we come into everyday, like so many times when we start mini mall or those who refuse to give me space, because that was not a big global brand. I mean, I face a lot of rejection in my career. I just want to get let it get me down. I just see when it has to happen. It'll happen. It'll come. And you just don't give up. I think you just I think you just believe in what you're doing.
You don't give up. It's as simple as that. And is that the advice that you let people bomb you down with your vision and what you want to do? Then I'm going to get what you want, but you know what you want.
And I think you have to just keep hammering at a bit by bit as a young person, starting a business to constantly facing rejection. Mushkin here get you carried on. Is that something one can learn or is it neat?
I think when it's rejection all the time, of course it's going to get any run down. But I think I've always had my moments also, like I suppose when I opened my first work that hadn't worked out, that would have really got me down that close to a wall. So I think you can have a series of rejections. But one fine day, one that like, you know, like for me, that store was the game changer happens, you know, you're on the right track.
So I think all of us need that. So maybe is destiny. Maybe it's a lot of good luck. Also, it wasn't a rejection all the time, to be honest. My destiny and luck really quivering me at times. And then again, I don't know, maybe destiny and luck for you were the ones who are going to give up. So I don't know. I don't know who am I to say this. But the store is a success.
Touchwood, God bless. And I said sometimes a lot of hard work and a lot of determination. I think I think the universe just gives you back. No, sometimes. Absolutely.
You've talked about not being taken seriously as a young woman building a business. Do you think that that's still the case today?
I think so, too. And I hate to say this, but yes, sometimes women and I think it seems my son's generation, I think is going to be the game changer. And I think it's, again, how you bring up your kids, for you, for him. It's the way he's been brought up. You know, men and women are always about it. So his generation is definitely going to see the change. So up to us parents to make sure that we we bring up our boys.
Well, you're the first Indian designer to get private equity investment, which made big news. Is it difficult for a woman to get financing for her business? How difficult was it for you?
It wasn't difficult or easy, actually. It just came out of the blue. I mean, General Atlantic was so I just opened an office in India looking to invest in a fashion company. And I think when they came to us, they had done their full research. So it really took us by surprise as to how much they knew about us. They just came. And we we like them. We you know, we had the same vision and it was actually very small.
We didn't go looking for investment. They were looking for a good company. And we were at the right time wanting to divest. So it just happened very, very seamlessly. So these women today to get investment, I think to be the investment banking community is extremely smart. And they know that women run organizations can. Equally successful, I don't think today it it matters if you're a professional and you deliver, it doesn't matter whether you're a man or a woman, you've got multiple labels.
What inspires your designs?
You're not usually a victim at a time of someone. 20 years ago when it was and I wanted to create contemporary clothes for the Indian woman in sizes, she was actually an offshoot of this. He was actually that I just started calling me because nine days to always do a lot of, you know, printed garments from the because I love Rajastan or if someone in the organization has said, you know, vital to this business up in a separate label and then global, he was born and became like a cult label, usually copied, admired, bought and divided.
There was something I always wanted to do. I always said that I will one day to bridal and I felt it was the right time. And it started at about seven or eight years ago. I don't enjoy that brand so much because again, it's crafted in Rajasthan and it's just uninspired and grass. Whatever just happened, I had to do an awful of grass because I was getting a lot of messages from a lot of relatives and NGOs saying that they'd like me to intervene.
It was really at the behest of SABR, which is one of the largest women's organizations in the country, do phenomenal work with that. I went and met them. I fell in love with them. I fell in love with Gujurat, and I said, we have to do something. So I had wanted to create that as a separate subliterate underneath a donkey just so that there's a separate team that works on it throughout the year and make sure that we are doing of Minecraft work and making it, you know, making it into contemporary Indian fashion.
And I felt it was very important to have that as a separate company. But lest we forget that, we need to do this constantly. So in the last four years, yes, we do a lot of what we think is in jeopardy, both of us in different parts of India. And again, that was very close to my heart because in that labor, we actually need work and we obviously need it doesn't follow any person cycle with more like a small drop and keep going, keep going every time.
And you need to go back to the design, the woman who designs and all the other stores. And it's the people I love working with. It's all fashion ages. I was just seeing a production report today that are some designs. And six months ago, some six months ago, I still haven't come. But it's challenging, but it's not fashion and it's beautiful. And I'm happy that I am so, so happy. Go to grad school because I just feel happy that I do that.
Anita, are there any more iconic designs apart from the lingo with Pocket's that was such a game changer that you could share with us that we've always tried it? I know we're dealing with pockets of the pocket. So, I mean, I just felt the ball gets it up with them and I didn't know that it would become such an iconic statement that I would actually say boards to me and say, oh, my God, thank you for this. Lovely stories about them use their pockets and pockets of all these dresses, the pockets of pockets, and should be extended to the longer.
I will just try to just create clothes that I think any comfort for me comes first. I think you need to wear the design the design doesn't need to wear. You said, well, it is very simple. Comfortable, happy clothes is what clothes that make a woman feel confident and happy.
One thing you've spoken about is fashion is a force of good. A lot of people who don't take the fashion industry seriously consider it very glamorous and full of frivolity. But of course, that's far from the truth.
It's a force of good only because it provides employment to thousands and thousands of people. Not only that, not only does it provide employment, it's also the industry that is sustaining the legacy of our country. I mean, today we work with skilled, but not as good as we look at skilled artisans all over the country. It's a privilege to be able to work with them and it's an honor to be able to continue providing them work. And to do this is exactly what our country needs in rural India needs employment.
I would rather give birth to a people who's working from his home in a remote village in India than anything else. Today, I'll give a woman who was a member of Siva and sits in a village in the house and after finishing the house, expensive. She was working. She's working part time. She's working from the comfort of her own home. And whatever money she makes is gives us such a sense of pride. It's such a game changer for her, a game changer for the way the men in our family look at.
It's the same story everywhere and economically independent woman is treated just with more respect, whether it's South Bombay, like you should obey that. It is what religion? Gujarat because the negative Gujarat. And that was to do with codependents. She was laughing at me and saying Punggye me to Hamady. We could be insulting to the men who consider to be. So like this, this is now because we're all winning money, it means that the economy is a big winner.
It's a game. It's a game changer all over the world. I mean, today I was in New York and it's so surprising that we haven't seen stories sitting in a school who respond to New York from women. And I hear the same story sitting in a village in which the women are the same everywhere they have been. It's really been so short changed by my society that they want women are just looking to be treated as equals and to be living a life of respect and dignity, which is a part of the world we live in.
And it gives me goose bumps to see the same conversations in two different parts of the world. And I don't think fashion can do that because fashion is one industry that employs a lot of women.
How did you decide to open a store in New York and how is that store doing the last few months? Of course, even New York is in a lockdown and it creates a certain amount of stress because you're still paying your bills. Why did I open a store in New York? Walgreens always had the desire to take my designs to London, Paris or New York. I started with New York. That's a city I think is so similar to Bombay in the sense of the vibe of New York is something the vibe of always something I always loved.
And I was just very, very passionate about taking Indian designs and having them in a fashion capital like New York. And it was a lot of hard work, but it finally paid off. And it continues being hard work, too, because to manage a store that far away. But it's very, very gratifying. And I didn't realize, you know, for me it was just a passion to take my designs to New York. But I didn't realize what a moment it was when I opened my first door.
And so it's it's a fairly large store, lost so many Indian brides and they didn't go. And I just kept visiting the store in the first few months and they felt so proud. And I could see the pride in their eyes that an Indian woman designer from India had come in like a beautiful space and soul, had created this lovely store. And there was some very emotional moments. I still remember this young girl walked in in the first week because I was at the store for the first couple of weeks.
And her father said that, you know, she stood outside your store and she wept and she didn't know she was just a fan of the brand and like very, very, you know, India lover born, brought up in the US. But obviously, you know, they miss their country, all the Indian Americans there. And she just walked in and she said, I just felt so proud to see an Indian name on Saumarez Broadway and the dealers wouldn't stop calling.
So when I saw this kind of reaction, I kind of feel like, oh, my God, I've done something, something different, you know? But when I do this, I just know this is it. I want to open a store in New York. And I just went and went ahead and did what I desire to do, actually, without doing too much of market research and without it just a pop up store for six months. And I felt that said the pop up stores doing well.
Now let me go and invest in a store of my own. So the only, I suppose, market research I did, I did a pop up for six months and kind of tested the market.
What did it feel like when you had that actual store open with your name emblazoned on it? Only that one feeling I had when that girl cried and said to me, you know, honestly, otherwise, everything just goes in a daze. You know, you go there, you put another you open a store, you're exhausted, you're happy. People come in, appreciate your designs. I mean, obviously, as a designer, you want you want to be appreciated.
You want to be part. And when that happens, it makes you happy. But that goosebump kind of feeling I got when this young girl made that statement and then a lot of a lot of lovely young women came and, you know, said some wonderful things. And all of them are young professionals, all of them looking at careers. And, yes, a lot of them feel inspired by you. And now and then. Yeah, that's it.
You wear it so lightly, Anita. This kind of you know, the feeling that these women have when they see you, you kind of take that sort of all in your stride. Yeah, I just suppose I do, because I'm very self-made and I've got the hard way. And to me, even to the video is is a certain amount of discipline and hard work to what one brings to the job. I think. And I don't think that ever stops.
I don't think you can just sit back and say all of a sudden there was always a large company. I don't think you can ever see that. I think you have to go in every day and do a job. It's 200 per cent every single day that should never stop. Or when you're a professional and you want to give everything your best, it should never stop. And it's frustrating sometimes because I look for perfection all the time. And this morning itself, I had a little bit of an internal tantrum because I wanted something done that we want to do it.
And I visualized it and I thought by today we could fix it. And if I didn't achieve my deadline of fixing it and I can see that deadline, Mr. Months away, and then you had your days of frustration, but I think you've just got to be determined and say, OK, fine, it didn't happen to be. If you go back and I'll give it another two months, but I'll make it happen. I just think how we go about it, you I don't think the hard work and the discipline should ever stop.
You don't use leather or cashmere. You work with recycled fabrics. And sustainability is a key part of your vision. You've been talking about sustainability where before it became a popular issue in fashion. Why is it such an important part of your ethos?
Have been a vegetarian all my life. And then a couple of years ago, I turned vegan when I saw some videos on how the industry is treating cows and specifically because of that. Then I finally turned vegan when I saw that video. But I worried about using animal skins or right from the beginning of my career, which is 30 years. I've never touched leather. That means no for no animal skin, nor will I. Even when I was opening in New York and for the winter, I never wanted to do.
But then again, I wasn't convinced that the wool source would be without any cruelty. I do use silk, so I'm not one hundred percent in my brand and I'm looking for opportunities to sell and I'm just hoping in the next couple of years we can replace all the silk in the company. I'm an animal lover and that's a nature lover. Yes, I know you've all been very conscious about the environment, but I just think that all over the world, it's just I mean, Gore would have taught us that mankind has just grown capitalism and industry has grown so much in the last 30 years that somewhere we've we've neglected nature, that we're cutting down forests to build more factories, to build more homes.
And the entire world is being a huge price for that. And if I could and if I had a dream today, I would just predict every animal in every tree and every plant on the world and just sustain them and increase their numbers. But it's unfortunately that human beings are growing. And then we are encroaching on on the land of animals and nature. And I don't know, somewhere this balance has to come back with where we both coexist together because, you know, human beings and other animal species and nature, we all have to coexist together because we are interdependent on each other.
And right now, this means that we have a need to do. And so much is happening all over the world and even in India, where, again, not everybody is that conscious of but preserving our ecosystem. And I need to do something. I think we all need to do something to preserve, to preserve our forests, to preserve our land the way it should be, because it's not important. It's it's crucial.
Now, what kind of advice would you give someone about becoming more conscious as a fashion consumer? How should we think about how one buys one's clothes?
I think one should buy quality clothes. One should wear your clothes till they absolutely fall apart once to recycle clothes, you know, get them to go on them very often, give them away to someone who really needs them and just buy less and buy quality. I know I'm in the business of fashion, but I wanted people to buy less and buy quality and buy from brands that are more conscious, sustainable. Just use less in your life. I mean, you know, today in this knock, you just become so sensitized to how much oil we're still creating and making so many other changes in my lifestyle, the amount of plastic we use, the amount of packaged food we eat, the amount of waste we create, I think of every person just becomes mindful of the waste.
You are creating enough what you're using. You just listen carefully on this planet, just like you shouldn't be greedy about everything. You should just use less. So use less at home. Don't waste. Just be mindful of how you live your life.
Anita, you run a foundation are very focused on helping women. I know you're working with a few villages in Maharashtra. Do you have plans to rebuild the foundation out across the country?
We have five sets and does and for we will do more in the future. Definitely think when things come back, we would definitely like to start more centers. We've got so many applications from so many other villages. Panchayati we want a similar program. We want to probably to run them and make them independent. We want to involve other industrial manufacturers. Also to participate in this program is what we are planning so that we will of course go on. Coming back on the sustainability effort, a very important point that all of us can practice.
I believe that composting is the simplest thing all of us can practice at home. I would urge everyone who's listening to this podcast to get a home compost cute. And that is just compost your kitchen waste to start with regarding the celebrities who wear your clothes when they visit in.
Kate Middleton or Ivanka Trump? Do you like the rest of us, find out that they're wearing your clothes from the news, or are you contacted beforehand by their people to source your designs?
You know, sometimes most of them buy it online. Sometimes you'll get an e-mail from the office and, you know, but it's always nice when they reach out and it's wonderful. Like the game changer for me was when Kate Middleton would address. She's lovely. She's somebody I admire so much. I subsequently met in London at the palace for a dinner. And she was she's amazing. Such a lovely, lovely human being and so well-dressed and elegant. And I'm proud and honored that she supported my creation and she's worried about of being asked to do so.
In fact, after she wore that dress, your website crashed. Yes, it did. And we still get orders on that dress that we it yesterday we had this really sweet email out of the blue again after so many months. Please, please, please, can you make the dress for me? Because she's such a role model and she's I think she's idolized by so many.
Did you ever imagine this level of success when you started out, all these celebrities wearing your clothes and that one day you would have a thousand stores in your network?
No, I never thought that the lawyers would ever get me on this be the last to keep telling my dad, you know, I'm going to be the biggest fashion I was in India and you never take me seriously. And I used to love them now, but I never thought that the royals were so grateful on it.
What are your future plans for the company?
You know, I have to see you in the company now. And I keep telling you for me, sustainability is on the top of my list for the future. And I really want us to grow as a company very, very mindfully, very, very carefully. And I want us to make sure that as a company, we achieve sustainable steps step by step towards our goals. So for me right now, I just want to go mindfully that through.
And a final question I need. What advice would you give a young person looking to be an entrepreneur, whether it's in fashion or any other industry, is the latest to, especially if you're a woman, to start something in this country?
Because I think India is it's a great place to do to start anything that so many young people have some great ideas. And we need young people with great ideas to come in and create their own companies. Just make sure that what you do, you're passionate about. Just make sure you do all your homework and just make sure you're disciplined and don't give up. Don't give up. There are two pickups on the way. It's a great time. It's a great time to be an entrepreneur in India.
That was Anita Dungaree, for whom fashion is an emotion and sustainability, a way of life. Her entrepreneurial journey wasn't easy, but she never gave up because she loves her work. Tune in next week for another episode of Uncommon Women.
You were listening to Uncommon Women on Red Podcast.