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Helping Small Businesses White-Label Apparel

July 2024 | Megha Patil

With my recent interview for BBB- Behind my Business Story.

 

Helping small businesses white-label apparel

Megha Patil, a biochemist turned apparel designer and fashion business consultant in Acton, MA, shared her journey to entrepreneurship with us. Growing up in India, Megha always wanted to become a fashion designer but pursued a more stable career in biochemistry. After realizing she couldn’t shake her desire to create, Megha followed her heart and studied fashion design in India and fashion styling at the University of the Arts London.

Several years after moving to the United States, the fashion designer opened Happy Lilliput, an online children’s clothing store specializing in celebration wear for girls. Megha designs special occasion dresses and skilled artisans in India bring them to life. The sewing is overseen by Megha's mother, who owns and operates the production house.

During our conversation, Megha explained that Happy Lilliput is more than a fashion brand. It's a platform that empowers marginalized women in India and promotes sustainable practices. Megha’s mother’s production house is a sanctuary for these women, providing them with a means to support themselves and their families. “I wanted to do it right because I have a mission to support the marginalized women in India and bridging the gap between the Indian market and the small business owners around the world,” Megha said, reflecting the depth of her commitment to social change.  

The business owner went on to explain that in her home country, there are some families where the women are breadwinners, and in others, the men are the earners, and she wanted to help women who were prevented from getting traditional jobs. “There are some women who really want to desperately do something, but their husbands never allowed them to work. I'm just trying to bridge the gap and trying to help these women who want to do something but are not supposed to do anything. They feel so happy and proud that they made a living. They can buy a lipstick from this money, you know, without taking permission from someone.”

Not long after launching Happy Lilliput, Megha began receiving requests from other small business owners. "A lot of people have started asking me to design clothing for their brands," she explained. For example, a spa owner requested Megha to design a uniform for her aestheticians. And a small clothing brand needed help designing a kimono. This demand led Megha to broaden her services to include fashion business consulting.

“I help businesses who want to customize their own T-shirts, sweatshirts and other pieces with their logos. I also help small clothing business owners who've been sourcing from different parts of the world, but they really want to start something of their own. Everybody has some designs in their mind, but they need help with designing. I can help them with the tech pack, sampling, fabric, sourcing and then manufacturing and packaging as well.”  

Small business owners who want to produce only small quantities of an apparel product may be interested to know that Happy Lilliput offers low minimum-quantity manufacturing (MOQ).  Additionally, one of the standout features of Megha’s business is its commitment, sustainability and ethical manufacturing practices. Plus, Megha gives 10% of Happy Lilliput’s proceeds to programs that benefit women artisans in India. 

When asked how Happy Lilliput finds new clients, the entrepreneur noted that she leverages word-of-mouth marketing and networking through organizations like BBB. 

Megha’s impact extends beyond her business. She is actively involved in her local community, volunteering with the Acton Economic Development and the Acton PIP STEM program, where she combines fashion and technology to create educational programs for children. "I'm trying to do my bit by doing fashion and technology, you know, combining it together."  

For more information about Happy Lilliput, check out their BBB profile. To learn more about BBB and read more stories like this, visit Behind the Business Stories with BBB in Eastern MA, ME, RI & VT.

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