The Kaftan Company: Making India Fall in Love with Kaftans

The Kaftan Company (TKC) is the leading Indian brand specializing in designing and creating Kaftans. Established in 2016 by Prakruti Gupta Rao and her husband Navin Rao, the brand has become synonymous with comfortable, high-quality, and stylish kaftans for every purpose. Over the course of its journey, TKC has expanded its offerings to include loungewear, kids’ kaftans, and even a range of loungewear for men. 

While TKC has now become a path-breaking brand in familiarizing India with Kaftans’ true diversity, comfort, and quality, its inception was the outcome of Prakruti’s personal experience. The couple met each other in Canada shortly after graduation, and during that time, they embarked on their respective professional journeys. The beautiful relationship that started from friendship grew increasingly affectionate. After their marriage, they moved to Dubai. However, around this time, Prakruti was diagnosed with cancer and had to undergo treatment. Her oncologist advised her to wear loose-fitting clothes, and that’s where she stumbled upon kaftans in her quest to find the right option.

Smitten by the comfort, style, and practicality of kaftans, Prakruti decided to create a brand dedicated exclusively to apparel. After convincing her husband, Navin Rao, who was already keen to embark on an entrepreneurial quest, Prakruti launched The Kaftan Company (TKC). Navin took care of the manufacturing, and Prakruti handled marketing. One thing led to another, and the brand strongly impacted the market.

It wasn’t a fairy tale for the duo that aimed to popularize the comparatively unknown kaftans to the Indian audience. Still, their belief in the product and the quality of their kaftans kept them going. As TKC evolved and expanded its market presence, the founders constantly faced the challenge of consolidating their offerings alongside identifying ways to add more products to the portfolio without diluting the core distinction.

Kaftans have a unique style that creates the impression of a free-thinking, courageous, and receptive person who is open to new opportunities, innovations, and experiences. As a sworn lover of kaftans, Prakruti realized that the garment was popular among the royals and celebrities for centuries since it afforded grace, comfort, and extreme ease of wearing for all women. Emboldened by her tryst with kaftans, she created unique, easily recognizable, and simple categories and names for the products, such as sleepwear, loungewear kaftans, maternity wear, kids’ kaftans, and men’s loungewear, etc.

The couple spent much time creating a consolidated image that could quickly and adequately represent the brand to the customers in an unforgettable manner. The creation of standardized branding elements like logos, taglines, and corporate identities was carried out to ensure that the TKC’s identity wasn’t mistaken for the various aspirational brands that had entered the kaftans domain.

TKC is the first Indian brand to formally focus on kaftans as its core offering in the country, which has been instrumental in its spectacular growth. With a rapid surge in demand domestically and the global market, TKC has transformed kaftans into creative loungewear, maternity wear, beach wear, and other daily dressing options. Since kaftans are a novelty for most Indian people outside metros, there is very little information or understanding of the apparel. TKC has been undertaking sustained content and influencer marketing activities to popularize kaftans. The emergence of new brands, even when they fail to match TKC in terms of quality and style, contributes to the overall visibility and awareness of kaftans, helping them build a bigger market for its products.

In recent years, there has been an unimaginable level of change and adversity on a global scale. The key is to embrace the changes and be flexible in an uncertain business environment. The winners will be those brands that aim far ahead and learn from past experiences to deal with the challenges or disruptions that come along during the journey. 

Publication : Business

Author : Elena Ognivtseva

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February 21, 2023 — ItsMe&You | Elena Ognivtseva