The Ladies of Le Mill (Women's Day Edition)

Le Mill asks a series of inspiring founders to share the words of wisdom that have stayed with them as they have built their brands.

From L-R: Sanaa Ruia of Nomada, Jhalak Mittal of Happï Space, Virginia Borrero of De Castro and Roshni Singhal of Agaro Jewels

Every day should be International Women’s Day when you see the amount of effort and passion with which women do any task in a day – be it at home or running their brand. Over the years, multiple women have shaped the fashion scene in India, making it what it is today. This Women’s Day we spoke to 4 of our favourite female founders on what their day looks like and what inspires them on the daily – Nomada’s Sanaa Ruia, De Castro’s Virginia Borrero, Agaro’s Roshni Singhal and Happï Space’s Jhalak Mittal.

What pushed you to start your brand?

Sanaa Ruia, Nomada: "No fun Indian labels were doing cruelty-free handbags? We identified this gap in the market which led us to start Nomada. Our brand, we believe, is one-of-a-kind, bringing a wild side to everyone's wardrobes."


Nomada accessories to add a bit of the wild side to your wardrobes

Virginia Borrero, De Castro: "De Castro was born out of my need to redefine the term ‘Indo-Western’ we so loosely throw around after I was spellbound with the architectural marvel of Rajasthan, intricate details adorning the palaces. With De Castro, India meets Colombia in its truest sense via my ready-to-wear designs."

Roshni Singhal, Agaro: "A blend of spontaneity, creativity, and a whole lot of enamelling magic – Agaro came to be when my spur-pf-the-moment decision to take up an enamelling course in the UK led me to create my very first jewellery piece for myself. I got a lot of interest from friends and family who wanted similar pieces, and their encouragement nudged me to start Agaro. It wasn't a grand plan; it just felt right to turn my passion into something tangible."

Jhalak Mittal, Happï Space: "Happï Space is my sheer love for abstract art come to life. A lockdown baby nonetheless, I started out just with creating fun loungewear in vibrant colours and prints for myself. I wanted to create something something happy and unserious, hence the name."

A piece of advice you would give young female entrepreneurs?

Sanaa Ruia, Nomada: "If you don’t ask, the answer is always no. And never take no for an answer."

Virginia Borrero, De Castro: "Believe in your capabilities, and know that with patience, hard work, and persistence, you're unstoppable in creating the future you desire."

De Castro

De Castro's love notes on the perfect 'Indo-Western' styles

Roshni Singhal, Agaro: "Once you set your sights on your grandest ambitions, all you need is courage to take that leap of faith. Trust me - when you embrace your vision with unwavering courage, the magic will follow."

Jhalak Mittal, Happï Space: "Focus on your signature style and build on it. Do not hesitate to launch it for the world to see, people love honest expressions. Also, trust and hire people at the right time, remember, you cannot do everything yourself."

One thing you’re tired of hearing?

Sanaa Ruia, Nomada: "Excuses."

Virginia Borrero, De Castro: "I refuse to accept 'no' as an answer. However, it has motivated me to embark on a journey of opening people's minds, demonstrating that there's always room for growth and improvement."

Roshni Singhal, Agaro: "One thing that never fails to irk me is when I encounter resistance to innovation and experimentation. I believe in the power of creativity and the thrill of exploring uncharted territories. After all, isn't that how breakthroughs happen?"

Agaro Jewels

Agaro's enamelling magic for your jewellery box

Jhalak Mittal, Happï Space: "Unsolicited advice. One thing every woman in India is tired of hearing and I assure you it isn’t just me, is how will we juggle the pressure of business or a job and family responsibilities or treating the work we do as a passion project rather than something serious or a genuine flourishing business."

A day in the office looks like?

Sanaa Ruia, Nomada: "The day starts with the usual - order reviews and production updates.  After that it’s on to focussing on designing and sampling new products and launches."

Virginia Borrero, De Castro: "A day in the office for me is a vibrant blend of colours, fabrics, crafts, and fresh ideas, interspersed with new challenges to tackle. While there's a deeply fulfilling creative aspect that fuels my passion, there's also the practical side of running a business. I've found it crucial to have a broad understanding of various aspects of business operations to steer my company in the right direction. However, amidst the administrative duties, I never lose sight of the importance of nurturing creative spaces."

Roshni Singhal, Agaro: "Well, it's a mixed bag of the usual: replying to emails, diving into design meetings, updating production progress, and client calls. But let's not forget the cherry on top—the inevitable drama! From enamels not cooperating to production glitches and export hurdles, there's always something keeping us on our toes. It's all part of the fun, right? Gotta love the unpredictability!"

Jhalak Mittal, Happï Space: "Exciting. The first half is usually dedicated to resolving managerial stuff and the second half, I intend to work peacefully on designs, future collections, graphics, social media, research etc. Chai is a constant companion that gets us through the day, of course. But it's very relaxed and sometimes stressful, especially during the summer months or around new launches. The entire team is always encouraged to go through ideas and work together at HS."

Happï Space

Happï Space's sheer love of abstract prints come to life