Radhika Goenka: “Despite being born into money, I know how to fend for myself”
Why one heiress decided not to join the billion dollar family business
One look at Radhika Goenka’s lineage, and you’d be fair in assuming she was destined for a career in the textile industry. Radhika was born an heiress to the Welspun Group fortune, even her mother Dipali soon joined the family business after marriage. So what made the young entrepreneur take a pass on a lucrative career in the $3 billion conglomerate and instead, strike out on her own?
“I’ve worked with my mother, but it just wasn’t for me,” Radhika confesses. “I’ve always wanted to do something on my own, and textile has been a good learning ground.” The urge to do develop her own legacy has led her to create The Lingerie Shop, an e-commerce initiative that has been four years in the making.
“I still remember how taken aback my parents were when I presented my business idea,” she laughs. “But they eventually gave in; they’ve always been very supportive. We are a whole family of dream chasers. Long as I’m doing something ethical and providing an honest product at the end of the day, they will always be there for me,” she adds.
The Wellesley (Massachusetts) graduate is going in with both eyes open to the challenges though. “There’s a huge mental block in India when it comes to openly buying lingerie in public. Which is really odd, because you’ll be buying lingerie for your entire life. The biggest question for me was how to make it just another commodity that people won’t shy away from buying.”
Lingerie Shop’s first line Be Mine serves up 50 shades of black
The answer came in the form of her two-pronged business plan that consolidates the e-commerce portal with the country’s first-ever lingerie vending machine. “I knew that to inspire customers, I had to cut through the noise and create something different. A lingerie vending machine cuts down on the time it usually takes online shopping portals to deliver the products, in terms of logistics. This is quick, convenient and oh-so-sexy. Our first offering is an all-black collection, because for me, that’s the universal colour of sexiness. The thought of wearing something provocative under your workwear… It’s a private feeling, it’s just for you and it immediately makes you feel more confident,” she reasons.
The 26-year-old is aware of the privilege that comes with her family name, but knows enough to check it in at the door. “I’ve worked and studied hard for this. I’ve specialised in lingerie at the London College of Fashion, and worked with a string of ethical fashion labels across USA to get hands-on experience. Though me and my sister have been born into money, we were taught how to fend for ourselves,” Radhika insists.
You won’t have to look too far to know where that fiercely independent streak comes from. “My own mother was a full-time working woman soon after we were born. I will admit that I didn’t fully comprehend her commitment to her career at that point of time, but now that I’ve grown up, I couldn’t be more grateful that she went after her dreams and showed us how to be truly independent,” she raves.
As the clock ticks down to the launch of her brand, Radhika is following her father BK Goenka’s (Managing Director of Welspun Group) golden rule: “Always stay vigilant and on top of things.” So pull up your socks under your stilettos (yes, that’s a trend now), keep an eye on the ball and you’ll find yourself in good company with fellow entrepreneur Radhika.