Today, there is a fashion trend of sporting indigenous and sustainable products. Karagiri, a Pune-based saree brand, keeps the traditional essence of drapes intact while giving a contemporary touch. We speak to the CEO and founder of Karagiri, Pallavi Mohadikar, to know more about her startup.
Mohadikar, who completed engineering from COEP and MBA from IIM- Lucknow, worked as an investment banker for a brief period, before she decided to start Karagiri. Inspired by her grandfather, who owned two looms and weaved Kosa silk sarees in a small village called Pauni near Nagpur, Mohadikar decided to take an entrepreneurial plunge.
Talking about her journey, she says, “Karagiri was born in 2017, with only 42 designs of one type of saree. Today, we have around 7,000 different designs on our website. I have always been interested in sarees, since I was a child. Whenever I would go to Pauni, I would sit with my grandfather and see him weave. I found it extremely fascinating. I do have the knowledge of fabric, but, along with it, one must know how to make it fashionable because that’s where the demand is. Once we create 500 pieces of the design, we don’t repeat.”
Karagiri offers almost 25 varieties of sarees like Paithani, Banarasi, Chanderi, Irkal, South cotton, Kosa silk, to name a few. As far as designs are concerned, Karagiri has in-house designers, who do international and national fashion surveys and try to incorporate current trends in the designs. From April, they will be launching new collections every Friday.
Today, many weavers are moving to cities for lucrative jobs as there are very few platforms to market their products. To help sustain weavers, Mohadikar, under Karagiri, adopted around 150 looms across the country, from places like Yeola, Varanasi and Dharmavaram. Mohadikar gets the raw material from Bengaluru and provides it to the weavers. “I like to meet the weavers, so I travel a lot and understand how they live. It’s not always about business, we have personal relations with them. When they are in need we help them, these small tokens of appreciation make them trust in Karagiri. We are like one big family,” she says.
For the new-age woman
Ask her how Karagiri is different from the rest and Mohadikar says, “Since we are in this business day in and day out, we can understand the fabric by its touch and feel and know if it’s pure or not. Also, while adding Karagiri element to our products, we give additional directions, for instance, small temples on the border or peacock motifs done on Kasuti Ilkal saree. These small modifications add a lot of aesthetic value to our product. We are coming up with ruffle sarees with mirror work, lightweight silk saree, Kanjeevaram motifs woven in Dharmavaram sarees and so on. For summer, we will be making mull cotton saree with thread embroidery. All of this requires a lot of research. We also have a ready-to-wear saree, which is like wearing a skirt and a dupatta.”
Karagiri has a client base of nearly one lakh and around 35 per cent of total orders is served to the international market. “Last year, we focused on the international market, now we are focussing more on the domestic market. We ship our products to nearly 11 countries like the USA, the UK, Australia, Dubai, Singapore, Netherlands and so on, and the prices start at Rs 3,800,” she says.
For the client, they also customise sarees at their studio in Koregaon Park. “Also, we plan the entire wardrobe and we do outfits, from pre-wedding shoots to the honeymoon. Besides, we have themes like beachwear saree for which we use linen cotton, party wear saree and fusion saree. This is because we want to create a basket which fulfills all your wardrobe needs,” she says.