In conversation with Priyanka Chugh who hopes to bring traditional craftsmanship from different Indian States to the forefront with her clothing and accessories brand, Ek Taara. Priyanka also has some advice and recommendations for aspiring entrepreneurs who wish to enter this space and create a legitimate money-making business for themselves.
1. What’s your educational and professional background?
“I have a Bachelor’s Degree in fashion design from NIFT, and an MBA in Marketing. I’ve also done my Masters in Fashion Brand Management from Polimoda, Italy.”
2. What prompted the idea for your venture?
“So, this idea came to me about six years ago. I wanted to celebrate the varied cultures and crafts of the different states of my country India, and that’s why I ended up with the name Ek Taara. To me, it symbolises the unity of this magnanimous and diverse country—’A star’. The love for design and craft is evident throughout the country. I wanted to explore villages to uncover these creative clusters and produce unique products for my brand.”
3. Did you always know you wanted to work in this space?
“Yes, fashion, retail, and craft were my chosen fields of work, but I have always been interested in the business of fashion even more. When I was studying at NIFT, I always had a dream and goal to start my own brand one day. After working for a few years, I felt it was time to start nurturing and working towards that dream and make it a reality.”
4. What was your first milestone and how did you get there?
“After coming back from Italy, I shifted to Jaipur. I’ve always felt the city was the perfect blend of textile, heritage, skills and values. It took me six months to just set up a base here. Exploring villages around Jaipur, it took me some time to understand and narrow down on the kind of craft and techniques the brand would like to pursue. I was basically finding a thread, an identity that would hold my brand Ek Taara together. So, single-handedly building the brands DNA and the supply chain was a feat in itself. My first exhibition in Mumbai was my first major milestone that made me realise that my designs were appreciated and everyone honestly loved the uniqueness of the products.”
5. What are your tips for an aspiring entrepreneur who wants to enter this space?
“Read, and then read some more. Get lots of hands-on experience before you dream of starting your own business. It’s extremely hard work to begin, and more importantly sustain your brand.”
6. What were the 3 best business/financial decisions you made?
- “Always pay your people/employees/vendors on time. Happy artists produce good quality work.
- Invest in good channels and sales mediums.
- Invest in the quality of your product.”
7. How long did it take you to monetise your venture?
“For us, personally, we started making ‘significant’ money when we started selling on third party sites rather than ours. We realised the reach was higher and the effort was pretty much the same.”
8. Are you looking for funding or investment investment in your business?
“Our brand was bootstrapped but one always needs money to scale up. Depends on the scaling model and your point of sales. Yes, we always look for investment opportunities, but not at the cost of diluting our brand values. It should be a good fit.”
9. Who are the key employees/vendors you need to secure to work in this space?
“Perhaps every brand would require different kinds of partnerships depending on the product range. For Ek Taara, our most important front line includes:
- The creative team, because it is well-versed with craft knowledge and has the right analytical skills to sell
- Efficient delivery partners
- 3rd party sellers (ecommerce or offline)”
10. How do you intend to scale up your business in the next 5 years?
“With the current COVID-19 situation, our plans are haywire, but we surely want to grow the team to more States as currently the artists are all Rajasthan-based. We want to, at some point, showcase craftsmanship of every State through our product range. We’ve also begun work on a small-scale handmade toy store. This gifting line-up seemed appropriate considering many of us are away from our loved ones, and these would be sweet tokens to remind them that you miss them.”
For more information on Ek Taara, you can look them up on Instagram and Facebook.
Bonus Tip: Here are some more business ideas with low investment and hight profits that you can consider while kickstarting your entrepreneurial venture.
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