Finding Hope Online: How this Mother & Son Duo Triumphed with Flipkart

All out of options to show her son the right path after he left studies behind, this mother from Bikaner, Rajasthan, saw a ray of hope in e-commerce. Once a novice in online sales, Pankaj Khatri knew that the only way to satisfy his parents was to give his mom’s brand-new business of selling sarees on Flipkart a decent try. Ten years later, his business sustains not only his parents, children and spouse, but also gives kaarigars across Rajasthan gainful employment. Read the inspiring story of entrepreneurship helmed by this extraordinary mother-son duo.


E-commerce brings the world to people’s doorsteps, but for Shanti Devi Khatri it meant something more. It became her only hope of giving her son the opportunity to spread his wings, transform himself into an entrepreneur, and support his family.

For Pankaj Khatri, meanwhile, what started out as a way to pacify his parents, soon became a deep and abiding passion for entrepreneurship. No one was more surprised than Pankaj when his business of selling Rajasthani sarees online actually took off. The only one who remained unsurprised was the woman behind it all – his mother.

Veering Off Track

It all started when Pankaj, as he puts it, fell in with the ‘wrong crowd’ in his teens. “I lost interest in studies when I got into a friend circle that didn’t have anyone’s best interest at heart. I ended up not pursuing education after tenth grade,” says Pankaj. Since the family’s finances were less than secure, he soon found an unusual way to make some money.

“Mobile phones were a craze at the time, and I used to buy second-hand phones on an aggregator site and sell them on the same platform. I would make a profit of around ₹50-100. That was all that I used to do, and my parents really disliked this business,” he explains.

Both his parents are well-educated; while his father has a Master’s degree in commerce, his mother has a Bachelor’s degree in Education. In his youth, his father moved to Assam to set up a small clothing business, but ill health brought him back to Bikaner. While his mother held a job in a local bank for a little while, his grandfather’s wishes kept her home.

Wanting Pankaj to have a respectable way to earn funds, his parents knew they had to come up with a plan. That’s when his mother thought of Flipkart.

The e-commerce Idea

“My mother had seen other people order on Flipkart and knew that the platform sold things via sellers. So, she went on the website and searched for products that could net a good margin and products with the highest ratings. What she wanted to locate were products where the demand was high. That’s how she found sarees,” says Pankaj.

All Shanti Devi Khatri wanted was to give her son a window of opportunity. She told him that if he was so interested in selling online, he could do it with sarees. Creating a Flipkart account in her own name, she handed him the reins.


Pankaj was understandably clueless. He listed one saree on Flipkart and waited. After one-and-a-half months, at 8 p.m. to be specific, he finally got an order. The first person he called was his mother. Absolutely unruffled, all she asked him was, “What are you waiting for?”

That’s when he reached out to Flipkart seller support and learned the ins and outs of online commerce.

“At that time, I didn’t even know how to send emails. I called Flipkart and I reached a representative. It was all thanks to him that I understood the ABCs of online selling. I didn’t even know how to work on the laptop and what Windows was. I didn’t know how to accept an order or schedule a pick-up. Flipkart taught me everything,” says Pankaj.

A Slow Start That Lit The Right Spark

With the basics under his belt, Pankaj felt a little more prepared. He was surprised to find himself excited when he got his second order after 15 days – the same customer had ordered the same saree once again. This time, Pankaj knew what to do.

With one successful order completed, he asked his mother to lend him ₹5,000 to buy the next lot of sarees and borrowing ₹20,000 from an acquaintance, got a few more sarees to sell online. “Maybe it was due to the positive rating, I’m not sure, but I started to get regular orders of 1-2 sarees every week after that. Soon, this went up to 1-2 orders per day. Then we got to 5 sarees a day. Soon, I started to get more interested in e-commerce and learnt more about sarees – their fabric, embroidery, lace and more,” he says.

When Pankaj was encouraged to participate in his first Big Billion Days sale 8 years ago, his sales increased by 10X. In his second BBD experience, it increased 4X from year one. “That’s when I knew I could do this. I started to understand that the more time you give Flipkart, the more results you will get. I feel that if you work for 1 hour, Flipkart will work for 23 hours for you.”

Growth Unparalleled

Rather than copying fast-moving designs, Pankaj relied on his mother’s and his own taste. “We do our own designing, combining the fabric and trimmings we like. We then give it to specialized kaarigars who do work like gota patti, bandhej, etc. My aim is to create something unique,” he says.

Sourcing organza sarees from Surat, Kota cotton sarees from Bikaner and employing artisans from Jaipur and other places in Rajasthan to add embellishments, the mother-son duo’s business today is thriving. Their brand, MS Center, is well-known in the town, and Pankaj now also has a retail shop.

“My success on Flipkart is responsible for my retail shop too. Before I started, I didn’t have my own house. Now, I have a house and a car – which is in my mother’s name – but all this came after Flipkart. Everything has changed. Before, I used to think twice about spending even ₹100. Today, I know Flipkart is there to support me and I know there is lots more potential to earn with e-commerce.”

Initially, Pankaj and his mother stayed late nights packing orders and getting them ready for Flipkart. Today, his staff of 10 are dedicated to the online business and over 20 craftspersons work closely with them to bring their designs to life.

“Like my mom and dad, who are educated, my kids too are studying in a great school. I couldn’t afford this school’s fees earlier, but now I only think about giving them a better future. The best part is that my kids are also thinking about their future. Rather than working for someone else, they want to do business on Flipkart too!”

For more inspiring seller stories, click here.

Enjoy shopping on Flipkart