You can Google sarees and an endless list of brands will pop up. From regional gems to designer labels and niche silk boutiques to traditional weaves, the world of Indian ethnic wear, especially sarees, is a rich experience in itself. And one brand that has consistently spotlight the ancient art form of ‘Saree Kuchu’ is Krishne Tassels.
The Channel 46 spoke with Amitha Raghu, the founder of Krishne Tassels. She talks about the origin of the idea for the brand, reviving the ethnic artform of Saree Kuchu, and the need for creative marketing in such a brimming market.
1. What’s your educational and professional background?
I am a Science Graduate with specialisation in Microbiology. I started my career as a Ground Staff Agent at Kingfisher Airlines in 2008 (a leading Airlines company back then).
Post marriage, I switched my job and worked as a Service Centre Manager for Nokia. I resigned after conceiving, as my intention was to take a career break and give all my attention to the newborn child.
2. What prompted the idea for your venture, ‘Krishne Tassels’?
I realised the importance of being financially independent after resigning my job in order to give more attention to the upbringing of my newborn child. This motivated me to make necessary changes to the traditional craft of saree tasselling that I learnt from my Mother in order to suit the current fashion trends. I was later inspired to start ‘Krishne Tassels’, a venture which gives flexibility to women to work from their homes or in groups, and still earn a decent income to support their financial needs.
I have trained more than 800 women of all age groups in this craft, tasselled more than 8000 sarees and shipped more than 500 tassel laces worldwide since then. Women from far away districts of Karnataka and neighbouring states have attended these workshops and are now offering saree tasselling services as well as teaching other women in their neighbourhood.
The best part of this Art-Startup is that the client, as well as the service provider, is always a woman; this paves the way for women to empower each other towards building a better society.
3. Did you always know you wanted to work in this space?
No, I did not at all. I studied Microbiology, worked in the airline service industry and started saree tasselling as a mere hobby. However, I had immense love for this traditional craftwork and was keen to device creative ways of marketing to make it a real business. Using social networking sites like Google, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram led to a huge demand for Krishne’s Saree Kuchu and Tassel Laces.
4. What was your first milestone and how did you get there? What are your tips for an aspiring entrepreneur who wants to enter this space?
The moment I hired my first staff member to fulfil the increase in demand for Krishne’s Tassels still remains special for me and can be considered as my first milestone. Our current full-time staff strength is 8. As for tips for an aspiring entrepreneur, our growth mantras are some great pieces of advice.
- Ensure quality of work with on-time delivery
- Anticipate and adapt to the changing trends, offering easy to stitch tassel laces, and adding new tassel designs periodically; we even went contactless with the ordering and delivery process since April 2020 because that was the need of the hour in the pandemic, and the only way people felt safe accepting deliveries
- Employ creative marketing
5. What were the 3 best business decisions you made?
1. Flexi-Staffing: Other than full time hires, we also engage part-timers when the order inflow increases and they are paid on a per tassel crafting basis.
2. Creative Marketing: Thanks to the free digital marketing training tools available online through Google’s Digital Unlocked Initiative, I’ve learned a great deal. We manage all our marketing initiatives in-house and rely on the best digital marketing practices including organic reach, without any paid advertisements or paid endorsements, to reach out to new clients.
3. Low Operational Cost: Revenue -(minus) Expense = Profit. At Krishne, we try our best to limit our operational expenses and thus are able to pass on the benefit to the client by pricing our products competitively and also bettering our profit margin.
6. How long did it take you to monetise your venture?
It took us about 6 months. The turning point was after we started posting our tassel work on social networking sites. Our digital marketing journey began with a Facebook Business Page in August 2014; the local demand for saree tasselling doubled here onwards. However, the real sky-rocketing moment for our business was post-May 2017. This is when we created the profile of Krishne Saree Kuchu and Tassels on Google My Business page. It gave us the confidence to invest in building our own website a month later.
7. Who are the key employees/vendors you need to secure to work in this space?
- Skilled artisans, who are well-versed in the craft of saree tasselling.
- Digital marketing professional.
- Delivery partners like Dunzo and reliable courier companies.
8. How do you intend to scale up your business in the next 5 years?
- Scale-up our current product line to offer a one-stop-shop experience for all the wedding dressing needs of a woman.
- Expansion to other metros and Tier 1 cities in South India, to start with.
- Training women in the craft of saree tassel making in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities.
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