[100 Emerging Women Leaders] Meet the founders behind this D2C brand, whose footwear are sported by Kangana Ranaut, Kriti Sanon
In this feature of 100 Emerging Women Leaders, we feature Shilpa Agarwalla and Aparna, co-founders of ShilpSutra, a Delhi-based D2C fashion brand.
Indian weddings are all about pomp, show, festivity, and not to mention, dressing up for the party. It was also something NIIFT Delhi alum Shilpa Agarwalla loved about weddings.
More than five years ago, Shilpa and her family were shopping for her sister's wedding when they found it difficult to find the right pair of shoes to complete the traditional look.
“I found it difficult to find the right footwear that fit my budget for weddings and festive occasions,” says Shilpa.
She recalls they had to finally settle for a pair of heels that were mismatched and had very little embellishments. After working for some of the leading designers in the country, including Anju Modi and others, Shilpa wanted to start something of her own.
Hailing from an entrepreneurial family, which runs a designer furniture business in Assam, Shilpa launched a footwear brand —— in Delhi in 2015.
Sharing her love for fashion, Shilpa says, “I remember coming back from the school eager and excited to try out outfits, jewellery, and shoes from my mother's wardrobe. Although nothing fit me as a child, the memory is something that I will always cherish.”
While India has plenty of designers for clothes, jewellery, and shoes, an affordable range of options in Indian footwear was lacking, which led Shilpa to create a traditional Indian shoe designer brand.
The Delhi-based brand has grown from a small workshop with one karigar to now a showroom with a team of 25.
ShilpaSutra is instrumental in completing the looks of major Bollywood celebrities, including Kangana Ranaut, Shilpa Shetty, Kriti Sanon, Sara Ali Khan, Sonakshi Sinha, Neha Dhupia, and many others. The brand’s juttis were also worn by actor Anushka Sharma in her much-adored and widely circulated wedding pictures.
It was with the same vein, Aparna onboarded the D2C fashion brand as a co-founder and launched a clothing line in 2020.
“After six months at a multinational company — a Delhi University graduate with a commerce degree — I realised I simply wasn’t cut out for sorting data and multiplying numbers,” says Aparna. She later pursued formal training in fashion at Pearl Academy.
Speaking of how she met Shilpa, Aparna says,
“I was looking to start the store nearby, and I really liked the space. I realised it was already taken and I wanted to meet the person. I met Shilpa and loved the work she was doing. I loved the idea of creating opportunity and hope for artisans amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and delivering on customer requirements through an affordable luxury clothing line.”
ShilpaSutra’s footwear collection ranges from Rs 2,500 to Rs 3,999. In its clothing line, the party wear collection starts at Rs 6,000 and goes up to Rs 12,000. Its couture clothing line starts at Rs 35,000 and goes up to Rs 2 lakh.
“With a global vision of introducing the most fashion-forward and high-quality products at affordable price points for the newer generation of women, we intend to grow significantly above category growth. To accomplish this, we aim to identify white spaces within our target categories and pursue them strategically,” the co-founders of the D2C fashion brand say.
ShilpaSutra wants to be at the top position in its existing categories (footwear and clothing) by expanding across key sub-categories.
Moreover, the brand wants to expand into newer categories, where it has begun putting ideas into action and expects to see the outcome in one to two years.
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Edited by Suman Singh