Brief introduction about yourself and tell us something about Kharakapas?
I think everyone dreams of creating something of their own. From the very beginning this is something I really wanted and took the steps to build up to it. I studied and practised design as often as I could, in whatever way I could. The effort I put in was for my passion and the long hours never bothered me. Once I gained the industry knowledge and experience I knew I was ready to make it on my own. The urge to create and design is a form of expression for me. My company Kharakapas is a natural extension of this.
Inspired by India’s rich heritage, Kharakapas, in Hindi means ‘pure cotton.’ I wanted a name that signifies purity in all its manifestations. Purity is something that we strive for throughout our designs, in the fabrics we use and the way we want to conduct ourselves as an ethical business celebrating India’s variety in techniques and traditions
What inspired you to give a formal platform to age-old Indian textile designing, craftsmanship and ancient weaving techniques?
At Kharakapas we have resolved to work with Indian crafts and the handloom industry. We try to do our part by promoting fair trade and attempt to preserve India’s ancient crafts and honour them through our work. We promote greater equity in our trading partnerships through dialogue, transparency, and respect for those we work with. We build long-term mutually beneficial working relationships with our vendors. We see a very positive trend with a desire in people to support this kind of practice. I think traditionally working relationships have been purely transactional for them. Here we are trying to change the mindset to engage them in a long-term working relationship based on trust and mutual respect. We recognize and value the immense skill they bring without which none of our products would be possible
We work very closely with small artisans throughout the country. Small weavers have been the cornerstone of our business. We find our inspiration in their work. So many of them are the last domains of their craft. It is amazing that they have managed to preserve these techniques in the face of modern pressures. Each time we work with them we learn something new. It is a true inspiration and this is where our entire process starts. We travel across India finding our inspiration from design conceptualizing to fabric sourcing and printing.
Please share your future goals for Kharakapas.
This is a self-funded venture so we have to plan carefully and execute this plan in small watchful steps. We are happy with the response so far, both domestically and in international markets. We now plan to start working towards a greater offline presence. We are already collaborating with some stores in the domestic market and in the process of expanding to international markets. We have had some successful trunkshows and this has been a stepping stone to expand offline.
Did you face any financial challenges whilst starting Kharakapas?
Kharakapas is a self-funded company and like any other startup we have had to watch our steps and be very careful with our finances. We started with two second hand machined in a room at my home and today we have a full-fledged design and production unit.
How is the international response to the exclusive clothing by Kharakapas?
To be honest we are truly overwhelmed by the response we have received so far. Kharakapas is not traveling the work. Our customers are spread all across the world. We are already retailing through one or two stores abroad and hopefully it will only get bigger and better. I think there is a lot of awareness and demand globally. The Indian textile industry fascinates the world. We have received a very positive response so far. It is the combination of Indian textile and minimalistic cuts and silhouettes that work really well with our international customers and a similar trend is seen in the domestic market.
What piece of advice would you like to give to the aspiring youth who wish to pursue their dream of becoming an entrepreneur?
Let your passion be your guide. If you have the urge to do something, then don’t wait. There will never be a perfect time. It’s passion that will take you where you want to go.
According to you, what are the top three essential skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
Believe in yourself, hard work and positive attitude
How has being an entrepreneur affected your family life? Has the family always been supportive?
When you start something on your own, then for the longest time you’re a one person show. Of course there is a lot that has gone into the business in terms of time and energy but I am blessed with the support of my family and friends. They are my backbone and have always been more than supportive.
What are your views and opinions towards the ambiguous need to promote women entrepreneurship and women empowerment in India?
Kharakapas is my first venture and I have enjoyed every bit of being an entrepreneur. I have learnt a lot about myself and my ability to do things that I never imaged I could. I see a positive change and trend of growing women entrepreneurship in our country, I myself being an example. There are a lot of women who are setting out of their homes and regular corporate life and starting their own ventures which gives them the right confidence, strength and independence.
Words for IWIL
I think what the organization is doing is just brilliant. It is very encouraging to know there are organizations that support women entrepreneurs.