My journey from Freelancer to successful Entrepreneur

12:17 PM Jun 16, 2022 | Team Udayavani |

I started with just four tailors in 1993 and built my business from scratch which has now grown into a huge company that currently employs over 3,000 people and has a turnover of more than Rs 130 crore.


While doing my BA from Banaras Hindu University, I studied painting as an optional subject. My father was a railway employee and his transferable job meant that I spent my childhood in Delhi, Punjab, and Benaras.

I got engaged to Amit Mohan, an IIT-MBA professional, in my third year, and got married at the age of 21.

I moved to Delhi with my husband and got my first opportunity as a designer. I did some freelance designing for men’s apparel promoting several export houses. I was paid around Rs 3,000 per month.

Since I could draw well, it really helped me come up with creative designs. Soon, I had a regular job in a company where I started working in 1977.


I was 22 and I was heading their sampling department. In 1978, I was expecting my first child and left work in the seventh month as I could not travel by bus anymore.

Once my son, Siddharth was born I wanted to dedicate all my time to him but an old friend who owned an export house suggested I work for her half-days and she said I could bring my son along. I relented.

I continued freelancing and started earning Rs 500 per hour. An Australian buyer, Alice, who was a client of my ex-company, was not happy with what she got after I left so she hunted me down and offered me 50 per cent money in advance so that I could start working for them immediately.

With Alice’s Rs 50,000 advance money, I teamed up with a friend Harminder Saldhi, who had a garment production unit. In 1983, I started a company along with him and an ex-colleague Sushil Kumar and commenced production for the Australian client.

The first year’s turnover was Rs 15 lakh, which doubled every year from there. Things were going great for me until 1991 when I and my husband drifted apart and separated.

The next year due to differences with Harminder and Sushil, I quit the company selling my stakes in it for around Rs 3 crore.

Before going, I designed my best collection because I didn’t want to leave the company with any rancour.

On 2 January 1993, I launched my own company, with four tailors and a handful of other employees. I had bought a house in Panchsheel Park worth Rs 1 crore 40 lakh in 1992, which was turned into a factory, where the employees would work all day, eat and sleep as well.

My son, Siddharth took on the reigns of the company eventually in 2007 and, with his skills and modern outlook, took the company from Rs 30 crore to Rs 130 crore in the last decade or so.

Since 2009, I devoted my energy to developing a home for senior citizens. Called Panchvati, it is a state-of-the-art facility for the elderly, and now I focus entirely on this project.

Neelam Mohan, Director with Magnolia Martnique Clothing Private Limited

Source: The weekend leader


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