Success is not just earning money and achieving financial goals, a part of it, yes but not all of it. One needs to feel satisfied at the end of the day when they say they are successful. Keerthi Gehlot, an Alumni at JD Institute of Fashion Technology talks to us about her definition and how she is a successful businesswoman, running her own design label– Roj and Kee label.
An Alumni of B.SC in fashion and apparel design from JD Institute of Fashion Technology , Keerthi began her journey of starting a design label amidst the First lockdown in 2020 with just 13 designs she posted on her Instagram through which she received brilliant reviews. With that, she started Roj and Kee label- an Indo western brand that believes in customer satisfaction like never before. “I had prior experience of working with designers and companies in the retail sector but starting your own brand can be a somewhat intimidating feeling. Being a fresh graduate(almost) I had immense pressure from my family to search for a job and start earning. What they didn’t seem to understand is that during that lockdown, it was almost impossible to get one as companies were laying off employees, not hiring fresh ones. This is one reason why I was pushed to start my own enterprise which currently has over 60 happy clients in the span of a year.” Says Keerthi.
Although encouraged to earn money, Keerthi was discouraged at the same time from a few people who believed women are not good businesswomen and was told she needs to take help of her uncles and male relatives in ensuring a successful business or else she will lose all her money. She built the brand with her own money and savings and no additional help. Not only proving them wrong, she showed them that a 21-year-old with no prior experience of running a business, made it into a successful team of 20+ laborers and a creative group who handles her shoots and makeup departments.
Keerthi wants to break all fashion norms that dictate how plus size women should dress and creating plus sized clothing is just a small step towards achieving her goals. She believes in ensuring the utmost customer satisfaction by seeing to every little detail and changes they mention personally. “Success for me means ensuring all women are absolutely confident in their skin and wear whatever their heart tells them to! No girl should be told to hide her flab or her heavy bust. No girl should be told to wear layers to make them look healthier than they are. I want all women to embrace their absolute selves as we are all goddesses in ourselves.”, Adds Keerthi in a talk with us. Being vocal about Body positivity, Keerthi is a bold, strong woman to say the least. She is the eldest among 3 sisters and the sole bread earner for her family after the death of her father last year.
Roj and kee caters to clients between the age group of 18-30 years of age who reach her through the details provided on her Instagram handle- @Rojandkeelabel. It caters to Indo western occasion wear consisting of evening gowns and lehengas that are customized as per client demands. At least 40% of her clients come back for a repeat order and give testimonials consisting of their utmost satisfaction with her products. They have also said the fabric she uses is so beautiful and strong, it endured an entire night of dancing and did not pull or stretch at any given point.
Apart from being a designer, Keerthi also has another page- @flashesofmypoise, that talks about body positivity and provides styling tips to all women. It is through this page that she also markets her label and believes it to be her baby. Keerthi Gehlot was also invited as a content creator for an app launch for MYN which took place in Bangalore Last year. Apart from that, she is also a panellist for a women’s day talk entailing sexual wellness and mental health. She believes every woman must stand up for what she believes in despite multiple people and society pushing you down.
Keerthi says, “Although I was discouraged and looked down all my life in various fields of life, be it education, friendships, or just at home. I was always given ‘this look’ that made me feel and believe I couldn’t achieve anything in life. Well, I am sorry guys, I am not letting you dictate my life anymore. I shall stand on my two feet and show you what I am made of.” Being in a patriarchal society, she was made to believe that women are only meant to cook food and serve their husbands. She is 21, a successful businesswoman who manages her work, home and the needs of everyone at home.
When asked what her message to young women and girls aspiring to be entrepreneurs would be on this woman’s day, her response was- “Never let anybody tell you how to lead your life. You are your own boss and only you get to decide what makes you happy. To achieve success, one must follow their dreams. Be a risk taker to achieve your goals. The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do. ”
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