How many collections do you come up with in a year?
We started with three collections a year and have now moved to bringing eight curated and capsuled collections every year. The name behind every collection is also well thought of trying to bringout the personality of the person.
How do you sell your saris online/offline? Do you have a store yet or plan for one?
We sell them through our own website and our Instagram account @Kalaneca. We do not have a retail store yet, but we are open to ideas in the future.
What factors decide the pricing of the saris? What is the price range?
Pricing is decided upon the sourcing of threads and zari, the number of weavers who put in the effort, the aesthetics of the sari. In a handwoven jamdani weave, one single weaver works on the sari and hence the pricing of a bridal jamdani sari is relatively high. Our handwoven saris begin at ₹1450 (linen cottons, silk cottons) and go up to ₹50,000 for a premium bridal jamdani.
Which sections of society do your saris target: mass or premium?
We do not categorise our audience because we believe in making saris for anyone and everyone. Our designs can vary from an officegoer to a Page 3 socialite to a celebrity to a grandmother-just about anyone who loves wearing saris. The segmenting often happens because of the pricing; so, we would say sub-premium.
Which are your major markets in India? Are you exporting as well?
The major domestic markets would be south of India, West Bengal and Delhi. About 35 per cent of our orders come from foreign markets including the US, Australia and Malaysia.
Are you collaborating with any leading designers?
Currently, we design all saris ourselves and haven't tied up with any leading designer yet; but we are open to that eventually. So far, our work has received positive feedback just through word of mouth. We have never done any extensive marketing so far.
How much yearly budget do you earmark for advertising and promotions?
This financial year, we have marked more than 20 per cent of our budget for marketing and ads. The majority of our sales happen via Instagram.
What do you have to say about the market for handloom saris in India and abroad?
Handloom saris have immense respect both in India and abroad. The artisans and their work leave a legacy that is honoured by people. The market has become more prominent thanks to social media.
What needs to be done to keep handloom saris more relevant?
When the textiles ministry started the hashtag #iwearhandloom, it brought an entire community together. The government needs to spearhead such conversations often. Also, brands like Kalaneca and many others are doing their bit in the form of podcasts and workshops to keep the handloom relevant. Sari crusaders on social media are spreading their love that helps more and more people respect our national identity the 'Sari'.
What are the upcoming trends in handloom saris?
We see a fusion of sorts happening for sure within the handloom space. You can bring a pochampalli design on an uppada weave. Fabrics are being woven together. Also, conscious fashion has given rise to fabrics such as jute, soy fabric and many more.
How supportive have government initiatives and schemes been?
The support is very state-centric. We do not see any uniformity in it. The Telangana state government has become more proactive in recent years while the Andhra Pradesh government is yet to announce radically amazing initiatives. Similarly, certain state governments are doing their bit to promote their state handlooms. We need the Centre to initiate a dialogue.
What next can we see at Kalaneca?
This year the focus is to not just on creating more designs, but also make the people aware of the fluid nature of a sari. We are doing this not just through our styling videos and saris, but also by having launched India's first sari podcast titled 'Six Yards & Six Questions' featuring some amazing personalities promoting handloom saris.
This article was first published in the July 2020 edition of the print magazine.
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