In order to run a business there has to be something unique from the rest. We have many entrepreneurs in our nation, but here we roped in Myaraa brand’s owner Namrata Lodha.
Namrata Lodha started Myaraa in 2019 at the age of 52 in a drive to make sustainable accessories fun again. This entrepreneurship journey started in a living room with a germ of an idea- (re)introduce the concept of hats as an accessory but with a unique design element in it and grew into a social media community with customers in over 50 countries across the world from Germany to Australia.
So asking about the motivational forced which drove her to start this business, she shares “My inspiration initiated from my own backyard in Madhya Pradesh where I grew up in Harda, Madhya Pradesh. There are many wheat and other grain farms in the area and after the grains have been harvested, the local artisans (or karigars) use the remaining wheat grass to create baskets, simple tools and handicraft items made from it. When I was travelling to the US to visit my children, I saw many people wearing hats made of the exact same wheat grass which were moulded and styled in different shapes and sizes.”
As Myaraa is only famous for hats, we asked her about the reason behind that on which the entrepreneur went on to say, “To the world, it must be just hats, but for us, there are more than 100 types of hats designs and variations that can be made and styled. It feels like we are just getting started. Also thanks to nearly every single 2020 Fashion Week runway, there are a ton of 2020 hat trends to try out — from major statements like cowboy hats and turbans to more low-key, wearable picks like berets and bucket hats. Right now our goal is to embed deep in the segment of hats and down the road maybe diversify to bags made out of natural grass and cloth”
Myaraa hats are popular amongst celebrities too, to which Namrata quoted, ” We live in the 21st century, where two things resonate with everyone i.e. 1) Quality & 2) Personalisation. Be it from buying iPad to a wallet, we want it to be personalized with our name or initial and want it of greater quality. Similarly at Myaraa, we focused on those aspects from Day 1, by never compromising in the quality of our hats and an option to add a personal touch of the liking of our customers. In my opinion, these two were the strongest factors amidst celebrities that made it so popular. Unlike footwear or any other small accessories, our hat sits on the head like a crown, so made they are of good construct. If not best, at least better than the rest! That’s what our workshop strives for”
Asking on how the product exactly empowers women, Lodha said, “We are supporting rural women by providing them with employment at Myaraa and also donating 5% of our profits into the wellbeing of their welfare. This includes providing clothes, food, education and basic domestic repairs for rural households and their community.
At our workshop and design studio, we continued to pay salary for our team even during this pandemic. We have also made arrangements to work remotely on the orders that we are getting. The work that we do at Myaraa has empowered my women to support their household expenses even when their partners have lost their jobs by impacted factories or nearby stores. At Myaraa, we have built a strong sense of women empowerment and motivation for my team.”
Inspired by the natural grass fibre baskets and tools from her childhood home in Madhya Pradesh, Namrata designs these accessories with the same material- which are beneficial for the planet. We asked some environment-friendly message for other beginners, on which Namrata suggested, “With climate change a growing problem there’s never been a more important time to collectively become more aware of how we – as individuals, corporations and businesses – are affecting the planet. With a purchase of our product, you are making health, environmental, and social impacts in society.Myaraa products are born in India and delivered worldwide. Our natural straw hat allows us to reset and return to our roots. Our Hat Collection is inspired by the positive impact of natural and eco-friendly material that is used in making the personalised hats. They may look like a classic hat, but these are natural grass products that are wildly popular and eco-friendly. The classic silhouette makes these incredibly versatile, and just because the lightweight design is made with natural wheatgrass. Inside, that hat a cushy insole made will hug your head for all-day comfort. Our pride is in sustainable products with high quality, design, and sustainability.”
Pandemic hit every other business, so here Namrata shared their unique selling and a changed point from a revised perspective, She shares “We have focused on personal customer service even in the world of online bots and 1-click purchase through our website or Instagram. We have a ‘Build your own’ category where the customers schedule a call with me and I help them in designing a hat that is special and unique to their needs. This personalized customer service makes the overall experience very personalized and special of them. We believe if they are happy, they will come back with more customers or referrals, isn’t that what everyone is striving for!”
Everyone faces a difficult phase during startup but still standing strong is what is important. “An entrepreneur of any gender needs a determined belief in what they’re doing and a cast-iron resolve to get things done if they’re to succeed in a highly competitive marketplace. Unfortunately, the evidence still seems to indicate that if you’re a female, you need that little extra something to break through the proverbial glass ceiling. As women, explaining the importance of my business to men has been incredibly challenging. I had to be absolutely ready when I talked about my business to men. Additionally learning to do business through social media channels was a new concept for me, as I grew up using the old fashioned in-person shopping experiences. This has been a rewarding learning experience as well. Starting my workshop in Harda, my first official customer was from Portugal through instagram, I would have never thought that in the wildest of my dream. Apart from this shipping & operations still remain our current challenge. Due to the lack of proximity to the airport, we are still unable to provide 1 or 2-day express shipping in India. My biggest goal for 2021 is to enhance our operations and increase the shipping network.”, Lodha shared their story.
Talking about the next step Namrata shared her future plans, “Our next step is to expand new offerings – this would open up new styling territory and expand our business in a new direction. Also, staying up with current technology & demands for instance making reels and showing more behind the scenes from our team at Myaraa.”
Here are some pictures of Mayraa brand hats: