Get comfortable with kaftans
Hyderabad: Life threw a curveball at city-based entrepreneur Prakruti Gupta Rao when she was diagnosed with cancer. At the time, she was working in the finance department of Mercedes Benz in Dubai, but moved back to India, along with her husband Navin, for treatment. “After I beat cancer, my body wasn’t really the same, there
Hyderabad: Life threw a curveball at city-based entrepreneur Prakruti Gupta Rao when she was diagnosed with cancer. At the time, she was working in the finance department of Mercedes Benz in Dubai, but moved back to India, along with her husband Navin, for treatment.
“After I beat cancer, my body wasn’t really the same, there were some limitations. Around this time, I thought why not funnel my love for shopping into something constructive. I already had a business background and knew how a business is supposed to work. That led to ‘The Kaftan Company’ which I started in 2011,” explains Prakruti, who is co-owner of the clothing brand with her husband, Navin Rao. With an MBA from Schulich School of Business, Toronto, Prakruti had her mind set on creating a niche fashion brand.
“The garment industry is still unorganised in a way. The challenge is to make your product stand out. I found that kaftans were an untapped area. We focused on silhouettes that flatter the curvy shape of a woman’s body and fabrics that are easy to maintain. I wanted the kaftan to become global wear where comfort was the top priority,” adds the 38-year-old.
A quick look at her website reveals a range of designs, Prakruti, with her team of designers, chose to go beyond the usual prints. They make ample use of fabrics like cotton, viscose rayon, satin, crepe, georgette, velvet in their loungewear kaftans, nighties, maternity wear, and lounge sets. Usual motifs of florals, leaves are done away with for batik prints, tie-dye, plaids, bandhini, wildlife elements, abstract designs.
Using digital printing and natural fabrics, her factory, which is based in Kompally, is able to reduce the waste generated and the carbon footprint during the manufacturing process. That begins right from their design conception, production and dispatching. Employing 40 people at her company, the couple believes in inclusivity with 80 per cent of their workforce being women.
“The pandemic was tough on everyone. But once lockdown lifted, our factory was shut for just eight days and we began production again. We didn’t want to let anyone go. Since people were working from home, lounge wear suddenly became the most in demand item. There was a point when we had to do take help from other manufacturing facilities to meet the demand,” says Prakruti Gupta.
The Kaftan Company has managed to build a loyal clientele not only within the country, but also the UAE and Botswana. A men’s loungewear and kidswear sets are now in the offing. But in the near future, the couple plan to open physical stores in different cities, apart from a global market.