Rachana Reddy, an accessory specialist from the London College of Fashion, came up with her own label in May of 2010, after having worked with companies like Pavers England Footprints and Munch Design Worx in the same field. Once she made the decision to quit engineering, she followed her creative calling and took up designing and then eventually started her own label for the need of something more personal. From being an accessory specialist to now an entrepreneur with her own label, the journey for Rachana as she says, "has just begun", we at YourStory bring to you excerpt of our conversation with this budding design entrepreneur, who has already made her mark in the fashion circles with the popular Padma Clutch.Starting up
It was a natural progression. I was working in a footwear company prior to starting up my label .I felt I needed a more personal outlet to express my creativity and my mind was working overtime with new ideas.
The first ever product I created for my label was the Padma Clutch which has become my signature bestselling piece . My first collection was all about bringing my most natural inspirations together.
I started the label to give my ideas an outlet after they were bottled up for quite some time. "Rachana Reddy", being a fashion accessories label, strives to blend tradition with contemporary luxury keeping in mind the versatile sensibility of today's women.
We currently specialize in clutch bags in distinct combinations of wood, leather and silks.
Conceptualized and designed by me, the clutches are handcrafted by skilled local artisans in limited editions with an emphasis on clean cuts, elegant motifs and fine detailing.
Money to Startup?
I have bootstrapped the venture with a seed investment of INR 4 Lakhs. I would prefer growing organically till we have strengthened
and established ourselves in few other areas. Not looking for funding immediately, but lets see how the future shapes up.
We are based out ofBangaloreand have an in-house team of 6 people. For wood work, we work with small team of local artisans .
Other labels in the market you admire? Your Differentiation?
There are some good accessory designers inIndialikeMalaga, Meera Mahadevia, Rinaldi but each of us is very different, so it is a healthy competition.
We strive to create an edge for ourselves with the distinct sensibility, use of materials and craftsmanship. I believe that it is all about the detailing. We offer well made, striking pieces that are sure shot conversation starters. We mostly make them in limited editions and they can pass off as little pieces of art. With each collection, we want to push our boundaries and innovate in the Indian market.
Go to market
Initially it started off with a few happy customers and word of mouth .Good reviews are really important for a product as niche as ours in the fashion Industry. It opens up people into trying it out and that they gave us an edge. Also, since our product was unique, it caught the eye of media quite early. Since the launch of our e-store, we have just started to focus more on social media. Revenue Model
We work on three basic models: Consignment, Wholesale and Direct.
Indian retailers play it hard with accessory designers. Most of our stock is on consignment here and it becomes hard if the product is not sold and is returned after 6 months.
International orders make more business sense as they are all wholesale orders.
We get a lot of direct orders and to meet that requirement efficiently we launched an E-store.
Market size and your market
It is in fact very niche but the market is opening up and becoming bigger with time. To put in hard figures, the accessories market on the whole in India stands around 10,000 crores out of which the handbags market alone is at roughly 1000 crores. This is again only from the organised sector and it has been growing around 20% YoY.
Your challenges as an entrepreneur?
Coming from a design background, I face a different set of challenges I suppose. I'd consider labour management to be one of the biggest challenges right now. But as I've progressed, I've learnt to macro-manage and there are a few things which take care of themselves. The other challenge would be to get things done on time. Having moved in fromLondon, readjusting is a bit taxing. Distribution and marketing as this is a very niche product are among the other challenges I fight with daily.
What can we expect in the future from Rachana Reddy label?
We want to build on what we are known for now. This year we would like to branch out into a bit of jewellery and footwear. Additionally, we are keen on launching an accessories brand for men and women focussing on well made, well designed utilitarian and casual bags.
Rachana Reddy label sells at 12 high end stores across India and 2 Paul Smith stores in London. You can visit the e-store at www.shop.rachanareddy.com
- Shradha Sharma