Over the years, a lot has changed and evolved, as has women’s fashion. From bobby prints to floral ones, from oversized shirts to cute crop tops, one thing has remained a constant favourite of every Indian woman – Saree. Saree is six yards of pure grace and elegance. The most feminine attire for a woman is a saree, it highlights the curve of a woman and adds to her beauty. Saree can be worn in many different ways and for many different occasions. A good saree never disappoints, at work, at a family function, or at a cocktail party.
At Indicbrands, we promote the age-old culture and tradition of our country. Kokum studio is an Indian Entrepreneurship, which promotes handwoven saree and handmade jewelry.
In conversation with Richa Ghosh and Gunjan Mittal, the leading ladies of Kokum Studios.
Q. Why clothing? Given that there’s a lot of competition.
A. After studying, and spending years in corporate jobs, I wanted to explore more challenging things in life whereas Gunjan, who was full-time into home and family after experiencing a short spell of successfully running a boutique, knew in her heart that she would do something of her own, someday.
Being the family of only sisters, we got to see every hue of femininity very clearly. Just like everything else, both of us also shared a dream of having some means to make women feel great, look great, and do great. We knew that the long hours invested in shaping our dreams wouldn’t feel like work because we would be having fun with what we were going to be doing. For us, it was a very conscious choice to make a living doing what we love.
Why clothing, now? Our immense love for handloom and art made us take a small but steady step towards Kokum. We enjoy the satisfaction of promoting and supporting something we truly believe in; Indian crafts handmade in India. Many things get us excited, one of them is when we get to interact with our customers. We also love the idea that in building our clothing business, we can give back to the community in the form of the products we offer, by working closely with craftsmen and artisans, helping them live a better life and the ability to create employment. We take great pride in knowing that we are helping others and creating opportunities for people to have jobs that they love. In the process, we also help them keep their art alive.
We feel that the clothing business is good because the desire to look attractive is universal. Clothing, by nature, is a basic human need. One can satisfy any demand between low-priced to high-end if one has a unique value proposition. Also, clothes don’t have an expiry date. Every business is a good business. A lot depends on how passionately and honestly you do it.
Q. What is unique about your clothing line?
A. Every woman is a myriad of shades. Her life is a collection of heartfelt prose and poetry, emotions of perseverance, determination, anger, joy, sadness, and love. We believe that there is a saree for every shade. Nothing, other than a saree describes a woman exactly the way she is/feels. Kokum is a collection of sarees that smells of innocence yet look like the sexiest wear. Kokum’s USP is to offer designs that add elegance, boldness, splendour, and grace. We love to deliver handwoven happiness to women of all age groups.
Besides Sarees, Studio Kokum is also offering Ready to Wear designer blouses and Handmade jewellery. Our ready-to-wear blouses are a collection of head-turning, gorgeous and ultra-comfortable tops that is an ode to the beautiful woman that resides in each one of you. This is also an attempt to make women bid their farewell to the hassles of having a blouse stitched and finding the perfect match that goes with their kokum sarees.
Our handmade jewellery is the love coming straight from the artisans at Kokum. Every piece of jewellery at Kokum is an art form that is brilliantly simple in concept but paves the way for the creation of the most stunning art. Natural things like clay, fabric, board, shells, etc are used which make these pieces delightful on the skin and cause almost zero harm to the environment. This also helps us contribute toward a greener planet.
Akuti Handcrafted : Adjustable Ring for the Stylish You!₹249.00
Q. How do you manage the workload? What were the difficulties you had to face initially?
A. Now that’s an interesting question, Work doesn’t feel like work because this is what we love doing. The best time of the day is when we are working for kokum (which is 24*7 for now, and therefore we are having the best times of our lives right now).
However, there are many challenges that we face, for example, doing everything on our own from selecting designs to finally getting them made and feeling them by hand, to making business plans, from painting eco-friendly labels to finally packing and shipping products. All this makes time management a challenge. But we understand that all this is part of the beautiful journey we have embarked on.
Talking about difficulties, there are many. Having our digital presence reach as many people as possible, finding out the right people to have on board, considering the financial constraints, and managing time for all the various tasks are some of the difficulties we face. Besides, having a physical store offers the advantage of seeing, touching, and feeling products which, an online shop doesn’t. Studio Kokum is also getting its first retail store ready in Karnal, Haryana. Soon we shall be getting it inaugurated and unveiling its pictures on all our SM accounts.
Q. Something about your team and work process.
A. Studio Kokum is a team of two sisters, who are extensions of each other, their supportive families, many artisans, and a few freelancing service providers. That’s about the Team Kokum. But the family of studio kokum is much bigger, comprising all our lovely patrons, kokum queens, and every single person contributing to it including the domestic help who makes us a hot cup of coffee whenever we get low on energy.
The work process, for now, is a simple one. We decide and design the products and get them made after consulting our craftsmen. Sometimes it takes a few improvisations before we get the final products in our hands. Getting the shoot done is also part of this process and it is indeed a long and crazy one considering the availability of models and location based on our theme and story. Each one of our products has a story behind it.
Q. Why Kokum? How did you come up with the idea of an Indian clothing line?
A. Kokum, the miraculous Indian fruit is like a woman in more than one way. It has the power to love, the power to heal and be strong. Kokum evokes tenacity, idealism, kindness, dignity, and respect for all. It does the magic of healing through indulgence to look beautiful by being itself. Kokum smiles, Kokum cries, and Kokum manages to weather the storms. For each woman is Kokum.
Every woman deserves dresses that match the charm of all her shades. Saree that decorates the powerful you, that celebrates your creativity, your wit. A style that sets you free without being monotonous, a style that is as vibrant as you are, and styles that can complement your moods, struggles, battles, victories, and celebrations.
Studio Kokum is a design house that centers on creating a range of women’s wear with a blend of traditions and contemporaneity. Kokum offers simple and humble designs using our very own fabrics to make us feel traditional yet trendy. We aspire to keep the undying spirit of artistry alive.
Recently Studio Kokum has extended the entire set of gifting sarees for an Upanayana ceremony in Chennai. Leaving behind the tradition of giving conventional south silk sarees, the host wanted to make it more than just another giveaway and therefore we decided on handloom tissue linen sarees. There’s nothing better than a wide-eyed smile on the face of your loved ones when you give them unexpected gifts out of the mundane. We are excited to tell you that Kokum sarees were appreciated by all for their unique designs, novelty, packaging, and personalized gift cards.
We are aiming to blend India’s artistic traditions with modern needs and aesthetics, so, anyone who adores handloom and skillfully made handmade products is Kokum’s target audience.
At Indicbrands, we aim to promote homegrown entrepreneurs. Kokum studios is a work of art by two women who are promoting and supporting Indian crafts handmade in India and providing employment to a lot of artisans and artists. They aim to deliver handwoven happiness to women of all age groups. Their work includes saree, blouses, and jewellery which in their own words is “traditional yet trendy”.