When Cinderella lost her glass slipper at the ball, little did she know her life would change forever.
Our latest feature on this Delhi-based entrepreneur is a similar story…but in this case, it was the search for a right pair of shoes that helped her launch a bespoke handmade designer online boutique where you can source some of the finest handcrafted Indian shoes and garments
We spoke to Shilpa Agarwalla, an NIFT graduate from Delhi about her love for that perfect pair of shoes and how it all begin; take a look…
How did it all begin?
It all began with a search for that perfect pair of shoes for a family wedding and Shilpa couldn’t find any quality options in Delhi like the ones which are ornately handcrafted and made from original camel leather; she went as far as Amritsar searching for these but was quite disappointed to see the quality available in the market.
"When I did some research, I figured out that handmade juttis (those worn by the queens and royalty in the past) are fast disappearing from the stores, as nowadays you only get largely machine made juttis (not the handcrafted ones)". While these machine made juttis can be produced at scale, they don’t have the same level of customization and comfort as the hand-made ones. This got me thinking as to why don’t I start something to bring this beautiful product back to people and that’s how Shilpsutra.com was born early this year,” adds Shilpa.
Initial investments made
Like all start-ups, ShilpSutra started with a seed capital of Rs. 65k and this has over time increased significantly.
She further adds, “We are still in our early days but I’m confident that a great concept of a store where people can get bespoke handmade juttis like ours will get easily funded and therefore we don’t see investment/funding as a constraint. Having said that, we are well capitalised as of now and not looking at funding.”
Simply put, ‘Shilpi’ in Hindi means artisans and the products they sell are all handmade by artisans from across India right from Punjab in the North-west, to UP and Kolkata in the East. Therefore, the brand name is called ‘Shilpsutra’.
Shilpa admits that one of the biggest challenges is to manage a distributed manufacturing footprint as well as managing people across a diverse set of cities. The other big one to be very honest is technology talent. We have made a conscious choice to start with a website only as of now and will add an app sometime in the near future as well.
What makes ShilpSutra unique?
Shilpa explains, “Our USP is that products are all handmade and using the finest of fabrics/material. For example, our shoes are made from the finest leather and extra cushioned to provide that additional comfort to the working women of today. Secondly, we design products in-house and the designs are all unique to us. We have a very small team in some of these hubs that work with these artisans to enable manufacturing to our standards. Also, as you would notice from our pricing, we aim to bring fashion to the reach of all and therefore the products are very reasonably priced across the spectrum. Our products are classy and can be worn across occasions in the lives of today’s modern women – from parties to festivals and from home to office.
What’s on offer at ShilpStura?
Right now, ShilpSutra offers products in tow main categories online – Juttis and Apparels. Juttis are starting at ~ Rs 1,899 and apparel start at ~ Rs 3,999. Our products are unique given their designs, comfort and the quality of the material used.
If it is your wedding, a special anniversary coming up and want to get something truly unique and customised, ShilpSutra could be your answer to your search.
As Shilpa puts it, “We make custom made products for our clients, especially for apparels. The idea is to make a product that suits you vs. finding what you suit to. You can place an order over our website shilpsutra.com or write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org with the size and selected design from the website. We are largely an online fashion destination and we have several well-known personalities as our clients as well.”
So for those of you who’re in search of that perfect juttis, gowns, kurtas or saris, you know where to go – it is, of course, ShilpSutra.com.