The chikankari industry is known for its exquisite, handcrafted embroidery, particularly in Lucknow, India. It was traditionally an unorganized sector with limited exposure to the online marketplace. However, with the rise of e-commerce, there is a significant opportunity for growth and expansion in this market.
Today we explore the journey of House of Chikankari, a pioneering fashion startup founded by Aakriti Rawal and her mother, Poonam Rawal – and will understand how they transformed the unorganized chikankari market into a successful e-commerce venture, catering to millennials with their contemporary designs.
House of Chikankari, founded in October 2020, is a fashion startup that has revolutionized the chikankari industry through its innovative approach to e-commerce. With a strong focus on contemporary designs and a commitment to quality, House of Chikankari aims to create a brand that resonates with the younger audience.
Aakriti Rawal, an undergraduate degree holder from King’s College, London and a Master’s degree from Imperial College, London, and her mother, Poonam, a homemaker with a passion for designing and embroidery, are the driving forces behind House of Chikankari.
Aakriti’s business acumen and marketing expertise complement Poonam’s production knowledge, creating a dynamic duo that has propelled the company’s success.
Aakriti and her mother, Poonam, embarked on their entrepreneurial journey after recognizing the untapped potential of the chikankari industry in the e-commerce space.
They invested their savings of Rs 3 lakhs and started the business with a team of 3 people from the basement of their home.
Initially faced with challenges in organizing processes and starting an e-commerce business, they persevered and gained momentum during the festive season.
Through a combination of organic Instagram presence, influencer marketing, and content creation, they built a community of over 270k followers, leading to a significant increase in sales.
House of Chikankari offers a wide range of hand-embroidered garments, including kurtas, dresses, maxis, and Western wear. By blending traditional chikankari with contemporary designs, the brand has captured the attention of millennials and provided them with unique and fashionable options.
Scaling became a key focus, and with investment from Aakriti’s father and a successful pitch on Sony Television’s Shark Tank India, Season 2 – House of Chikankari raised Rs 75 lakhs for 3.75% equity from Aman Gupta, CMO of Boat Lifestyle and Peeyush Bansal, CEO of Lenskart.
The funds from Shark Tank are now primarily allocated towards tech innovation and growing the management team. The company aims to integrate technology in every department to streamline operations and reduce dependence on manual work.
The House of Chikankari team consists of over 90 dedicated individuals. Poonam oversees operations and production, while Aakriti focuses on marketing, business development, and finances. Together, they ensure the smooth functioning and growth of the company.
In a conversation with Startup Pedia, Aakriti Rawal, Co-founder of House of Chikankari, said, “We envisioned a world where the art of chikankari could transcend borders and generations. Through our e-commerce platform, we are selling garments, preserving a rich cultural heritage, and empowering women artisans. It’s a journey of transforming traditions into contemporary expressions of style and sophistication.’”
House of Chikankari collaborates with women karigars in Lucknow, providing them with a steady supply of work. By employing and training women from various backgrounds, the company supports their families and contributes to their children’s education.
They price their apparel between Rs 2,000 and Rs 13,000, catering to different segments of customers. The company has witnessed remarkable growth, with a turnover of Rs 20 crore in FY 23 and an aim to grow substantially next year as well.
House of Chikankari has garnered a customer base of over 70,000. The recent funding round of Rs 75 lakhs has further fueled their growth plans.
With a firm focus on the younger audience, House of Chikankari plans to reach over 2 lakh customers in the coming year. The company aims to improve distribution channels, leverage technology, and introduce innovative designs. By scaling sustainably and maintaining a strong customer base, they aspire to establish themselves as leaders in the chikankari industry.
House of Chikankari has successfully transformed the traditional chikankari industry by embracing e-commerce and appealing to the preferences of millennials.
Through their commitment to quality, collaboration with skilled karigars, and strategic marketing efforts, Aakriti and Poonam have built a thriving brand.
As they continue to innovate and expand, House of Chikankari is poised to make a lasting impact on the fashion industry while empowering women artisans and preserving the rich heritage of chikankari.
Note: The founder of House Of Chikankari, Aakriti Agarwal, is coming on the Startup Pedia platform to guide you on “How to build a clothing brand from scratch”. Register yourself now.