It is a saying that people from the hills can hear beckoning calls of the woods even while at sea-shore. An HR Manager in Gurgaon heard the call and knit a knot between hills and urban marketplaces.This is the journey of Kanchan Vaidya who quit her corporate job to define and design something less seen or heard i.e. a startup that sells Handmade warm woolen wear for kids,The Original Knit.
The lack of functional yet beautiful hand-made products at an attractive price in the baby apparels market motivated Kanchan to realize her dream of becoming a woman entrepreneur simultaneously creating social impact. Kanchan says,” The voila moment in my life came when I became a mother and struggled tofindwarm and beautiful woolens for my child. To my surprise, there were no brands selling hand-knit wear in the online space and this is how I thought about founding one.”
Kanchan being from Himachal had memories of village women knitting woolens as hobby, on the hillsides and in the valleys, chatting up in the afternoon, soaking sun and rapidly moving their fingers on the age-old needles. She then undertook a month-long trip and went into interiors of her home state making associations to create clothes that are sheer treat to the eyes and are made from 100% wool to keep your small ones as covered with fur. This not only brought nice products to the market but also transformed the lives of scores of women who today receive timely payments of their work and take pride in the near artwork created by them. Many such women are sole bread winners of their families. The quality checks are done in Gurgaon, packed and dispatched to online and offline retailers.
The venture,The Original Knitstarted in 2014. The TOK products are available on Firstcry, Hopscotch and few retail outlets in the country. Ever since they launched their brand on Firstcry they have been the top Bestselling Mompreneur brands in the country.
The Original Knitproducts are 100% handmade with softest of the baby yarn available in the country. They offer more than 800 styles across sizes every winter and at one of the best price points available in the country.
Bringing forward the Women Entrepreneurship -
Kanchan always wished to pursue a career that empowers women. With 95% women staff her startup aims to bring forward the women from small towns to come forward and showcase their talent. Getting to help other women be independent and have an earning of their own has been the best outcome of all her efforts.
Target Audience and Growth -
Speaking upon the growth ofThe Original Knit, Kanchan says, “The growth has been phenomenal. We are doubling GMV every year for last 3 years. The GMV for FY 2018-2019 would stand between 3.5 to 4 crores for online platforms. The offline sales are besides this. The offline sales are bulk B2B orders that get shipped within India and overseas to US, Kuwait, Belgium, UK etc.
Speaking upon the target audiences in India, she reiterates, “Target audience is whoever admires the unique-ness of hand-craftedwear in India and respects the art and time of hand crafters. We ship to all states in India where the temperatures dip below 20 degrees or to places where in 45 degrees summers parents sleep in powerful ACs, want to cover their babies with woolens on.”