BY PRERNA LALCHANDANI
Aakansha Sharma, owner of House of Dorii
is someone who makes custom clothes from scratch and styling videos for fun. Her fondness for fashion comes from her mother. In this conversation, we learn about how Aakansha continued her mother’s legacy. She also talks about her brand and sheds light on some supremely helpful tips and tricks on how to start and sustain your business. In the wake of Covid, Aakansha took it upon herself to give back to society with her campaign #kareforkarigar. Want to find out what it was about? Read along!
Tell us about your brand House of Dorii.
My love for fashion and wearing new clothes made me start my brand in September of 2018. The initial idea behind the store was to ignite that same passion that I have for clothes in other people. We focus on customized clothing where the client brings us a design, and we create a piece using that design, the client’s sense of style and elements of House of Dorii to create something new. This concept works well since our clients have different styles and appreciate a different type of clothing. The average age of our clientele shifted from 30s-70s and now includes even the younger generation (20s) who have taken an interest in custom clothing since they feel the need to stand out and custom pieces add that uniqueness to their outfit.
What influenced you to get into the fashion industry? Was this something you always wanted to do?
My mom has been my inspiration throughout my journey. She would also design clothes and has a background in the textile industry. She always made her clothes from scratch, giving them a new dimension. At the time that my mother was a part of this industry, people’s mindsets were quite different and unfortunately, my mother decided against starting her own business. That always upset me as a child, and I knew, since then, that I want to be contributing to this industry as well, to carry forward her dreams and legacy. Fashion is a part of my life and my identity, it is not work.
What is the inspiration behind all your collections? We have noticed how all your clothing includes a lot of print design. What makes you love print so much?
I draw my inspiration from mundane things in my environment. If I had to pick a few, one would definitely be nature. I have a deep routed connection with planting and the calm look and feel of plants inspires a lot of my collection. I also love the vibrant colors of different fruits and vegetables. It is all a matter of perspective. The simplest of things can inspire a person, if the person seeks it. For me, I feel like prints add a definite edge to your personality. They attract a lot more attention and make the outfit bold without trying too much. Prints also evoke happiness in people and sell more than solid color pieces.
What colors would you say works best for our Indian skin tone?
Usually undertones like our browns and dull reds, mustard, and some shades of orange work best with our skin tone and highlight our look.
What are your future plans for the company?
At this point in time, my workshop is my house. So the immediate goal is to open a store in Delhi. The long term goal is definitely opening my brand in different cities around India. I wish to inspire people with my designs and get their creative juices flowing. I want to make them love fashion as much as I do, which is also why my concept works since the clients are involved in the process.
You have started an amazing initiate, KareforKarigar. Would you like to tell us about it?
Owing to the pandemic and our current situation, we received calls from karigars on a daily, asking us to hire them. Feeling extremely blessed to have a family where I get food every single day, my team and I decided to start this initiative. The basic idea is for customers to purchase a mask for Rs.50, 30 of which would go to the karigar making the mask and the rest would go to people in need, like our house-helps and street vendors. It was quite a success.
What key points should one keep in mind when starting their own brand?
Passion. This industry is tough and having an interest in fashion and designing is very important to sustain the brand. A key determining factor is also capital. It takes quite a lot of money to start something on this scale. You need to have a good workforce, that will make or break your brand’s success. Finding a location for your workshop is also important, and understanding whether or not you can afford to rent a space. And if not, then figuring out cheaper alternatives.
What are some tips and tricks to ensure a successful business?
Prioritizing the customer is paramount in this journey. Maintaining a real relationship with them and ensuring all their needs are met is extremely important. Many times, the client will not be completely satisfied with their piece and may want to make changes. It is important to always be patient and kind. Another way to ensure a successful business is by planning for unfortunate outcomes. During this pandemic, I realized how crucial it is to save up. Had I not saved up, my business may have shut down. We need to work on changing our buying habits, ensuring we only buy necessities and not think of items we may need 6 months from now. Lastly, it is important to enjoy your work, celebrate your successes, and never give up.
Instagram : @aakanshasharmaofficial @houseofdorii