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Interview with Meghavi Suthar

Meghavi Suthar
Meghavi Suthar
Founder
Kala Associates
Kala Associates

How many artisan groups are in touch with you currently?

As of now, we're in touch with a family of five artisans with whom we've collaborated for our existing collections. The group hails from Rajasthan, but work brought them to the old city in Ahmedabad.

Where do you source the raw materials from? How does your supply chain work?

The sourcing of fabrics and other raw materials takes place in Ahmedabad. Strong relationships with artisans and suppliers have been developed over years of working with them. The process starts with sourcing the fabric first, depending on the design, and then the canvas and leather are sourced. After that, the master artisan cuts the fabric and hand-finishes the products with the other artisans.

How are your footwear categorised- casual, formals, etc?

Our footwear has been categorised style-wise in the following manner: 
  • Men's footwear: oxfords, loafers, slip-on shoes, espadrilles, lace-ups. 
  • Women's footwear: ballerinas, oxfords, sandals, espadrilles, loafers, loafer mules, flats, lace-ups, cotton shoes.

How do you sell your products online and offline?

The selling happens online through our website. We don't have a retail store yet. Also, considering the current situation, we're planning to stick to improving the e-shopping experience rather than investing in a physical space.

What are the advertising mediums that you use for brand building? How do you leverage social media in these times?

Social media has acted as a lifeline for our brand in these difficult times. We all know how important it is for brands to mark their presence on social media. But the pandemic has made it all the way more important. After the shutdown, we decided to revamp our social media and content strategy. Conventional marketing is dead. We've been working on creating engaging content for our audience and we've been seeing great response. Instagram is what we've been primarily focusing on as that's helping us increase our web traffic and generate maximum inquires. We'll be rolling out newsletters soon. What can be seen as a plus point is how we don't need to waste time on commuting to places for meetings/ collaborations. The transition to video calls for meetings has helped us save so much time in the process. This has created more room for flexibility and new trends.

Which are your best-selling and most popular footwear products? How many collections do you come up with each year?

Oxfords have been our best-selling and most popular footwear products right from the time they were launched, a year ago. In a year, we aim to come up with 3-4 new collections. They have not been season-specific. They have been more about what I want to design for individuals.

How do you see the footwear market segment growing in the next 5-10 years?

In the next few years, fast fashion will be out. Consumers will prefer local brands over international ones. The footwear market has been hugely hit by the pandemic, but it'll pick up pace in the coming years. With this being a period of introspection for many, there are very high chances of consumers shifting from luxury to need-based affordable shopping, resulting in buying products that are long-lasting and sustainable.

What are the new footwear designs you are working on?

Considering that big events won't take place for a while, I'm planning to design footwear keeping intimate gatherings in mind.

What lies ahead for you?

As of now, we're looking at building ourselves digitally. We are also looking at strategic and fun collaborations that can drive more business and create symbiotic relationships in the process. Amazon is changing the fashion landscape. With a lot of brands partnering with it to survive, we're still contemplating if that will be the right move. But looking at the potential it has as a channel to acquire new business, we're considering it as an option. We're looking at providing our patrons with the option of virtual appointments. Five years down the line, we would like to see ourselves having created a good reputation as an accessory brand, with a strong community of patrons and artisans. We want to keep designing pieces from a pragmatic and unique perspective. The more smiles we can bring, the better.
This article was first published in the October 2020 edition of the print magazine.
Published on: 10/11/2020

DISCLAIMER: All views and opinions expressed in this column are solely of the interviewee, and they do not reflect in any way the opinion of Fibre2Fashion.com.

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