If you’ve ever shopped online, you would know of Pernia’s Pop-Up Shop. India’s first luxury e-commerce platform, Pernia’s Pop-Up Shop was considered quite a revolution in the Indian retail industry. Some of the country’s top designers are listed on this platform. Such a concept made it easy for customers to get their hands on the latest trends easily. To start something like this obviously needed a sharp sense of business and identifying a gap in the market. We caught up with the woman behind it all, Pernia Qureshi, for a quick chat on female entrepreneurship in India and the road ahead.
Pernia Qureshi was also a part of the recent Bumble Bizz campaign, led by Priyanka Chopra Jonas. Debuted in June 2019, Find Them On Bumble Bizz celebrated 25 remarkable Indian women with inspiring stories of personal and professional success, including Pernia Qureshi.
All About Eve: A woman in business used to be unusual in India, and now we have Bumble Bizz, celebrating such women. How do you think this will help to encourage more female entrepreneurship here?
Pernia Qureshi: When young girls see women in business celebrated it is extremely encouraging. Especially when there is a like Bumble Bizz where there are women entrepreneurs from every field, it acts as role model to the next generation. Students and young adults can gain confidence by seeing living examples of women who have come before them and paved the way.
AAE: What do you think is the step forward to bring more Indian women into the professional fold?
PQ: The step forward is to form communities like Bumble where women feel safe to openly engage in conversations, gather information and find mentors. Many women have the ambition but lack a guiding hand. Business forums can help them get the right answers and connect them to the right person or place. It can also open their eyes and horizon to new opportunities that they may not have thought of before. Exposure is what these women need.
AAE: Everyone faces some sort of obstacles in their line of work, initially at least. What kind of challenges did you face?
PQ: In my career my biggest obstacle was creating a brand from scratch and making it into a successful well-known business. There are so many brands created daily that never see the day of light and remain obscure. It has to be a combination of staying true to yourself, using logic, and putting in the hours in order to get over obstacles. There have been so many moments of self-doubt where one wants to give up, in those moments pushing yourself to keep going and keep the enthusiasm is what, many times, determines success.
AAE: What inspired you to create Pernia’s Pop-up Shop?
PQ: I created India’s first luxury e-commerce platform because there was a gap in the market for designer wear online, nobody was doing it and I saw an opportunity. It seemed to be the perfect business for me where my interests and market demand aligned.
AAE: What advice would you give to young women who are just starting their careers, especially in fashion and luxury?
PQ: I would advise them to gain as much experience first in the industry they want to be a part of. Interning is the best way to become an insider and make yourself familiar to the people who will potentially hire you one day. It is crucial to work for other people before starting any business.
Some welcome inspiration for young women in India! For more, check out our interviews with Pooja Dhingra, renowned pastry chef who started Le 15 Patisserie, and illustrator and entrepreneur, Alicia Souza.