An IT professional Anjali Agarwal started Kota Doria Silks eight years ago with an investment of
Rs 25000. Today, KDS is a 4-crore turnover business, that continues to grow. She supplies this traditional Rajasthani garment in a modern avatar to customers across India
Kota Doria is one of the many textile treasures of India. This Indian textile from Rajasthan is light, breezy, cool, and especially suitable for the country which thrives on cotton fabrics throughout the year. Entrepreneur Anjali Agarwal promoted the traditional garment by re-orienting it to adapt newer designs, embroideries, and better quality of fabric to make it more accessible, through her company Kota Doria SIlks.
Anjali was an IT professional with IBM and through her 12 years of being a working woman has always worn Kota dresses. She, by virtue of belonging to Kota, Rajasthan, knew where she could source good quality Kota and her eye for colour combinations made her dresses very popular. Soon requests would be made to source similar dresses. Anjali ended up getting Kota dresses and fabrics for colleagues and friends.
One fine day she decided she did not want to work in the routine job, and one thing led to another, and before she knew it she was drawn into research on Kota fabrics, and she was planning to start a business.
One of the challenges of Kota she found was that it was a very delicate fabric in need of dry clean each time you wore it, making it a costly affair for a middle-class working woman. Even though people loved wearing suits made of Kota Doria, this presented a problem for daily wear. Then, there was no consistency in the quality. Anjali decided to deal with the issues when she started Kota Doria Silks eight years ago. She started experimenting with yarn and soon the solution was found – a more durable and versatile Kota fabric was created on which she began to try using a variety of digital prints, embroidery etc.
Traditionally Kota sarees are made in silk using silver and gold and they are made in traditional designs in bandhej and lehariya, and since they are handlooms, they are exclusive and only a few weavers are left who continue to make them. Anjali works with handloom weavers to supply to B2B customers.
When I started to try various combinations, I wasted a lot of fabric, but today we reached a stage where we introduce one new design every day,” shares Anjali, who recently launched her website www.kotadoriasilk.com“
Parallelly, to make Kota more accessible she began to work with power looms and began to introduce newer designs – digital prints, a variety of embroidery, Madhubani and Worli prints, etc., “When I started to try various combinations, I wasted a lot of fabric, but today we reached a stage where we introduce one new design every day,” shares Anjali, who recently launched her website www.kotadoriasilk.com”
Now customers from across India can order from the website. But, when she started her company she operated through her Facebook page.
Anjali was technically proficient, and when she started her company, she began to market through her Facebook account. She started with an investment of Rs 25000, which she took from her husband, and with one to three weeks, she knew she made it. “My first order was from Kerala and South continues to be my strong market,” she reveals. Initially, if the challenges were about finding the right fabric, and making the designs unique, today it is from people who replicate her designs and sell them as their own.
Anjali continues to employ more women and plans to introduce men’s and kid’s ethnic wear in Kota, soon. She also hopes to open her first offline store in South
“In three days, my designs are replicated and sold for a lesser cost. And, people who see this demand to know why. However, those regular customers, who have seen the quality of my fabrics are aware of the difference. Customers have been journeying with me for the last eight years and generation after generation of women from the same family buys my clothes. This keeps me inspired and happy that my effort to maintain quality and uniqueness is making a difference,” she states.
Anjali’s Kota Dora Silks has an annual turnover of 4 crore, which she hopes will increase this year. She continues to employ more women and plans to introduce men’s and kid’s ethnic wear in Kota, soon. Anjali also hopes to open her first offline store in South.
She tells all the women out there hoping to do something on their own – Be brave and take the first step. No one is going to push you towards it. It is you who needs to take the risk and make a beginning.”