Why Shweta and Prachi Set Out to Make Workwear With a Cause

The Sharma sisters have been busy. After graduating from IIT Bombay, and then doing her MBA from Wharton, Shweta, the older of the two, went on to work for over a decade in ecommerce, retail and management consulting across US and India, before returning home to start her own dream venture.

In the meantime, her younger sister Prachi graduated from NIFT Delhi and worked in apparel design, product development and category management.

Over endless cups of coffee, and an unsuccessful shopping trip, the duo started discussing why it is so difficult to find versatile yet sophisticated workwear for women.

Born and brought up in Indore and now based in Bangalore, the sisters set about researching workwear for women in India, and realized it was a neglected space. “It is predicted to grow manifold over the next decade,” says Shweta, who has worked with ecommerce major Flipkart and beauty e-store Nykaa in the past.

And so, they decided to combine Prachi’s deep expertise in fashion and Shweta’s experience in ecommerce and business to create a homegrown premium brand for working women. They called it Ombré Lane.

“We wanted the brand to be extension of our thoughts, aspirations and personalities,” say the sisters, both in their early 30s. While they were clear that they wanted to build a profitable business, they also had a desire to give back to society.

“We wanted to involve our customers so that they can see the impact that they create in someone’s life,” says Shweta, talking about their tieup with Goonj, a non-profit that collects and supplies clothes to the underprivileged in rural areas.

Ombré Lane has a ‘buy-to-give’ model: it donates a garment to Goonj for every product sold.

“We wanted to do something about lack of adequate clothing and basic hygiene items to improve the lifestyles of the women living in the interior pockets of rural India,” explains Shweta, who as CEO manages day-to-day operations, marketing and product for the brand, while Prachi is the creative brain behind their designs.

We asked them to share their top 3 looks for working women.

ombrelane

First published in the September 2017 issue of eShe magazine