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Devhuti Minocha’s e-commerce brand Dhrohar is all about making handloom contemporary and bridging the divide between rural artisans and urban consumers – while being profitable.
The Indian fashion Industry has taken our handlooms onto international ramps. With resplendent textures and vibrant colors, textiles from weavers across the country have adorned models globally. Yet, when we look at the socio-economic situation of these weavers, it is disheartening to see them living in pitiable conditions.
Weavers today face a series of problems that range from unorganized business practices, to handloom units closing down, unable to compete with low-cost fabrics, thus resulting in massive unemployment. On a mission to bring out high quality and affordable products from our rural handloom industry, is Devhuti Minocha. Through her venture Dhrohar, she nurtures the local crafts of India, thereby empowering the local artisans, especially women.
Prior to Dhrohar, Devhuti Minocha worked in the IT sector for 12 years, with a brief break of 2 years after her first child was born. It was in December 2013, when her daughter Dhriti was born that Devhuti decided to give her entrepreneurial interests wings to fly.
“I had to set up an example for my daughter that being married, and having children is not a stopper for your career; rather, it is the time when you have to break the stereotype, and do something that will create not just social but economic value also – this is how Dhrohar was conceptualised,” says Devhuti Minocha.
In fact the word Dhrohar comes from the initials of her children ‘Dhr’ from Dhriti and ‘Har’ from Harshit, with an ‘O’ in between that symbolizes the infinity. Dhrohar also means ‘Indian legacy’. True to its name, the brand brings contemporary handloom and handicraft products, handloom apparel, home furnishings and accessories all inspired by India’s rich handloom heritage and design legacies. Dhrohar registered to do business in November 2014 and soon launched an online store in January 2015. Today, almost all leading ecommerce marketplaces have Dhrohar products on offer.
Dhrohar uses natural fabrics and aims at making them popular by offering stylized handloom products that are in sync with current fashion trends. Devhuti believes that this is the brands unique selling proposition.
“Our expert designers tweak traditional patterns to present creative contemporary artifacts that set the fashion trends. Everything Dhrohar creates is genuinely inspired by the regal past, yet it is designed to fit contemporary life-styles,” says Devhuti.
Their products are made from handspun and are hand woven, those that breathe and act as a natural conditioning for the skin. Dhrohar’s products are comfortable and are office appropriate too.
For Devhuti, every expense has to make business sense. Being a relatively new online business, it is of importance to build a strong digital presence to establish market presence. Such digital promotions on a tight budget could prove to be a challenge. Despite this challenge, it has been a journey of learning too for Devhuti.
“Since the day I started, I have learnt so much — the importance of an idea and its execution, of taking people with you and of focus and hard work, of getting outside the comfort zone and of learning from one’s and others’ mistakes. I have transformed in the way I view problems and hurdles – that every problem is an opportunity too. More importantly, I have discovered that entrepreneurs need to be patient and must be true to themselves,” she says candidly.
It’s all about having happy and prosperous weavers and satisfied customers, who would love to use Dhrohar products. This is what Devhuti aims to achieve.
She adds, “We want to be the No.1 brand selling natural fabric products and not just a brand that sells old boring handloom products. We want to experiment with handloom and see how this comfortable fabric can be used to the best of its potential.”
When discussing Dhrohar’s future prospects, Devhuti says, “We are planning to build an offline presence to showcase the best of Dhrohar, in our own unique style. Presently we are only catering to the domestic market but we soon will start shipping internationally. We intend to establish Dhrohar as a global brand.”
The brand initially began with home furnishings and slowly expanded to add men’s ethnic wear, women’s apparel, fashion accessories, scarves and stoles to its collection. From processing around 1000 units in a quarter, it now processes a similar amount in 15 days. Dhrohar has sure come a long way since its inception in 2014. It also plans to add a lot more categories and products in the future.
“We have been successful in being unit economic positive since day one and over the next years we aim to be more profitable. The greatest achievement so far and will always be is the month on month growth that we witness and the positive customer feedback. We are witnessing a very steep growth in business and the positive and encouraging customer feedback is an indicator that we are moving in the right track. Repeat buyers make our day and thankfully we have plenty!” says Devhuti Minocha.
Apart from just the quality products she offers to her customers, Devhuti gains joy from the impact that they make to the local crafts of India, linking rural artisans with urban consumers.
The entrepreneur in Devhuti adds, “We need more women entrepreneurs. It is important not only for economic well-being, and because it makes business sense, but also from a social perspective. The feeling of being self-dependent and having a dream career even after marriage and children is exhilarating.”
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