Started way back in 2013, Mansi Gupta started Tjori with her personal savings. But with persistence and patience and the desire to put Indian handicrafts on the world map, Gupta turned it into a multi-category, online artisanal modern-ethnic brand that includes apparel, and other products including home, wellness etc that cater to the global audience. The company was started with Rs 10 lakh and now has an annual turnover of Rs 50 crore.
Gupta tells us that the brand was born out of her personal love for traditional handicrafts and apparel, and the dream to cater to the global demand.
Born and brought up in Jammu, Gupta comes from a family who had a passion for travelling, so as a child, she travelled to many places. Being travel enthusiasts, they journeyed extensively and at the end of the trip, they would bring back souvenirs. This exposure to travel and handicrafts from a young age triggered her love for handicrafts.
“Back in the day when the global audience and even Indians wanted to source good ethnic handicrafts, getting them was slightly difficult because of the absence of e-commerce websites. We wanted to challenge this absence and Tjori proved its point,” says Gupta.
Tjori means a cupboard full of treasures. “Indian culture is full of these little treasures in the form of handicrafts, not just in terms of earrings and clothing but also certain products like homemade remedies that our grandmothers kept locked in their treasure chests. When required those would surface,” says Gupta adding that these home remedies are useful and relevant even today because of which the e-commerce website has plenty of these natural wellness products for specific concerns.
No matter how modern Indians are, they are literally sitting on a treasure chest, and it is our gift to the world. However, Gupta points out that she prefers calling her brand modern-ethnic. “We have combined the best of both worlds through our brand, so when you look at the collection available online it is both modern and yet close to traditional. It therefore appeals to both the audiences,” says Gupta. The founder strongly believes that it is extremely important to balance the two, because no one should forget their roots, rather they should wear it with pride at all times.
Tjori has become an integral part of everyday lifestyle of modern contemporary women in India. “We design and craft all our products in a range of aesthetics and fabrics, enabling our customers to experience handmade goodness and create a statement unique to their style. Our vision is to bring together traditional crafts and modern designs, creating contemporary products that are one-of-a-kind. Working closely with designers and artisans, we pride ourselves on our attention to detail and quality, providing only the best for our niche and valued customers,” says Gupta pointing out that they passionately infuse quality and comfort into everything they create.
Gupta strongly believes in sourcing genuine materials for all the products that are sold online. “We have our manufacturing units across Delhi/ NCR and all raw materials are sourced through authentic and ethical sources making sure that the original art form of that state is given the right value and each piece carries a status of ‘state of the art design and fabrication’. Like the jamdani collection, which was sourced from the regions of West Bengal from where it truly belongs,” she says. If the customers are paying for something they deserve the best.
Tjori has come a long way since it was launched. Gupta is of the opinion that for any brand to survive in the global market it is very important to learn along the way. “I don’t come from a business background, but having a strong vision and following the path with all my heart really paid off,” she says. She strongly believes that being an entrepreneur is always a risk. If you stay focused, the journey gets easier. For Gupta, staying motivated is not a tough task, as small things motivate her.
Being a woman entrepreneur can be tough, however, Gupta strongly feels that times have changed and the system has become more accepting of the gender. Obviously women think differently than men, but more than thinking an entrepreneur should be able to deliver.
“It all comes down to dedication and to make things work, you need to love your work and think about how you can be a better version and bring something good to the table every single day. Besides, you need to be approachable and keen on learning from others,” she says. Gupta further mentions that she has been able to manage both people and situations.
Sharing her future plans, she says that she wants Tjori to grow in the coming years. She is looking to expanding the team of workers and artisans so that they can cater to other parts of the world as well.