Here’s why celebs Janhvi Kapoor, Anushka Sharma, Dia Mirza are wearing this woman entrepreneur’s handmade juttis
Coral Haze juttis by woman entrepreneur Vidushi Mallick seem to be a favourite among celebs like Janhvi Kapoor, Anushka Sharma, and Esha Gupta. Speaking to HerStory, Vidushi tells us her story and what sets the brand apart from others in the market.
Coral Haze, launched in 2015 by Vidushi Mallick, specialises in juttis with intricate embroidery, unique prints and comfortable padding. Over the years, these exquisite pairs of traditional shoes have become a favourite of celebrities like Janhvi Kapoor, Anushka Sharma, Sonam Kapoor, Dia Mirza, Esha Gupta, and Sara Ali Khan.
With a team of 40, including designers, karigars, artists and more, Coral Haze has become a favourite among A-listers and a number of fashion influencers, bloggers, and other loyal customers.
Vidushi speaks to HerStory about starting up and her journey so far.
Born and raised in Delhi, Vidushi has always had an innate passion for design, and went on to pursue a degree in architecture. Growing up in a joint family, she spent her early years expressing her creative side through singing, painting, and acting with her cousins.
While her plan was to complement her design sensibilities with a lucrative profession, she soon noticed the need in the market for “intricately designed bespoke juttis”, and began working on fulfilling this.
“I discussed the need to address this demand with my sister and co-founder, Divvya Mallick Oberoi, who not only helped me put a business plan together but has since become my partner-in-crime in trying to give life to our shared vision.”
In 2015, Vidushi launched Coral Haze, specialising in juttis that were printed and embroidered - a combination not many offered in the market at the time. She says,
“There was a huge first mover advantage in starting printed juttis coupled with embroidery. We wanted to test the waters before going starting up, and we turned these intricately embroidered pieces into our USP. There was no looking back.”
Every jutti manufactured by Coral Haze is handmade, and is designed after extensive research and sourcing the best quality material so that customers can cherish them for a long time. Vidushi says Coral Haze has a simple philosophy - “if we wouldn’t wear our juttis in public, whether it’s a formal or informal occasion, we won’t make them.”
Even with so much attention to detail, Vidushi says there were limitations and challenges.
“We needed to get the right fit, size, padding, shape, and more. Also, since this kind of handicraft requires that the shoes be exchanged between many hands, keeping them clean also become a huge challenge. It took us months of institutionalising processes and putting in place systems using best-practices, to have a seamless journey for these shoes from concept to final delivery.”
It has been over four years since Vidushi launched Coral Haze, and competition is creeping up. But she views competition as a positive.
“There are various players in this space now and we only get inspired and want to do better. As the market is still slightly niche, there is enough room for all players to co-exist and grow together.”
And while starting up, growing a business, and working on its success can be a fun, exciting journey, there are some inevitable failures an entrepreneur has to face. On how she deals with these lows, she says,
“Lows in business are inevitable, but there is always a silver lining to every challenge. You just need to have the power to identify it. You can turn any challenge into an opportunity. If something doesn't go as planned, we look at it as being redirected to something better. Have a long-term vision for your business. The path may have its ups and downs, but the destination is one. Always keep that in mind.”
Catering to celebs
Since its launch in 2015, traction for Coral Haze has been positive and demand is on the rise. Many of the brand’s customers have been loyal and helped it grow through word-of-mouth. Vidushi says the brand and its customers have “truly built a solid community of repeat customers who keep requesting for newer designs, better embroideries and unconventional prints and fabrics.”
On how Coral Haze caught the attention of so many celebrities, Vidushi takes the example of Janhvi Kapoor.
“Our PR agency got in touch with Janhvi's stylist and sent a pair over. She instantly fell in love with the shoes and wore them at an event, which got us a lot of visibility.”
Vidushi has also focussed on marketing campaigns for her brand, especially online. She has worked hard to build a strong presence on Instagram, and has become an “Instagram-first brand.”
“We also spend on Facebook and Google ads, and SEO, and are now going all out with our influencer marketing programme where we constantly onboard fashion influencers and bloggers,” she adds.
The path ahead
Coral Haze recently introduced its jutti collection for men, and Vidushi is bullish about it. She says,
“We want to move from a push to a pull strategy, and build a strong and loyal customer base that helps us market our brand as much as we do. This will definitely include a lot of celebrity and influencer outreach too.”
She also envisions Coral Haze to become the gold-standard for footwear, and says expanding beyond just juttis is on the cards as well.
(Edited by Rekha Balakrishnan)