The 14-year-old has Started Her Own Clothing Brand
Tie-dye fashion has been around forever, but its recent popularity has led to fashion experts and magazines predicting that it will last beyond the lockdown, bringing different hues to our lives as we battle the coronavirus.
Maya Anandan, a 14-year-old student of American Embassy School in New Delhi, has used her free time during the lockdown to launch a new business of tie-dye clothing called BoardBurn six months ago.
“I have always loved tie-dye clothing. I used to do it every weekend during my third grade. I would tie-dye T-shirts and watch all sorts of video tutorials to make them look super cool and funky. Then, as I got older, tie-dye became a very popular trend,” Maya recalls.
Trending and more
Last summer, Maya realised tie-dye was all over social media when influencers continuously posted photos in tie-dye sweatshirts and tank tops. Her friend, Flora and she were in love with the trend and decided to hop on. They tie-dyed a few sweatshirts and immediately fell in love. Right as the coronavirus pandemic hit, they started to brainstorm. They thought it would be an incredible idea to start a tie-dye brand of their own, but make it exclusive to India. This is because there are hundreds of tie-dye brands in the US and other countries around the world, but hardly any in India. They wanted to change that.
Maya has been sourcing white clothing and COVID masks from various manufacturers and websites and using the tie-dye technique to make them colourful and funkier. This has helped her figure out which manufacturers are the most reliable. “We have been using social media platforms such as Instagram and word-of-mouth publicity through family and friends to advertise and sell tie-dye sweatshirts, T-shirts, scarves and face masks. This has been a great way for us to get some product research done as well as receive feedback. We made Rs 10,500 in the first two months since launch, which is a great start,” she adds.
Once restrictions ease, BoardBurn also plans to partner with eCommerce platforms to sell its products. She is confident that once the pandemic settles, they can ramp up production with the help of NGO, Vivekananda Foundation. Maya and her team plan to train the women of the NGO to help them mass-produce the clothing. In addition to paying the women for manufacturing, they also plan to donate a percentage of their profits to the NGO.
Talking about the importance of mentorship, Maya says, “My mother is an entrepreneur and I have watched her grow her business. My father works with startup founders as an investor. Both have been invaluable to help me start my business. Namita Thapar, the director of YEA, has also been incredibly helpful and gives amazing advice. Whenever I have questions, I know I can reach out to her!”
Entrepreneurship for social good
“Without YEA, I wouldn’t have learned about how to size the market, price products, figure out sales and marketing strategies, and learn how to pitch to a panel of investors,” she adds. Maya says, entrepreneurship is all about doing new things, trying, and improvising.
“From kindergarten to high school, I have gone through different phases of being an entrepreneur. I started by selling rainbow looms to raise money for camp kids across from my school. Then I experienced selling jewellery on an online platform called Shopo.com. During my months at YEA, I also came up with a business plan to launch Indian flavoured lip balms that found traction with potential customers,” says Maya.
However, she has chosen tie-dye as it combines her passion for the art, which is trending across the world, and yet has a vacant niche in the Indian market. Most importantly, she says it allows her to develop her ideas in partnership with an NGO where she gets the satisfaction of helping women make their livelihoods.
“I want to create a niche and specialized brand that is trendy and cool and also all about social impact,” she adds.