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The first woman to join the 89-yr-old family business doubled revenue from $44 million to $100 million

By | Usha Prasad | www.theweekendleader.com

Lavanya Nalli’s great great grandfather Nalli Chinnasami Chetti started selling silk saris in Chennai in the late 1800’s. He brought saris on a bicycle from his hometown Kanchipuram and sold it in Chennai, (then known as Madras) located about 70 km away.

In 1928, he opened a small retail store in Chennai at T Nagar. Nearly nine decades later, Nalli Silks is a marquee brand in silk saris with 32 stores located across the country and abroad, including two in the United States and one in Singapore. The family also forayed into retail jewellery in 2012.

Lavanya, 33, the first woman to join the family business, had proved her mettle within a short span. The soft-spoken scion of the Rs 650 crore turnover Nalli Silks played a pivotal role in setting up new stores and increasing the revenues of the company.

“My father was initially very ambivalent about me joining the business. As I was firm on being a part of it and wished to learn the nuances of running a business, he agreed,” says Lavanya, who soon after joining in a masterstroke launched Nalli Next, a sub-brand to cater to the tastes of contemporary women in 2007.

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