CHENNAI: The fragrance of fabrics, rich embellishments and quirky motifs give brothers Kishore Advani and Vishaal Advani an adrenaline rush. It’s been 20 long years since the duo stepped into this line of work and there’s no looking back. With encouragement from customers and a better understanding of the market over time, the brothers have big dreams for their shop. Excerpts from an interview with Kishore Advani follow.
How did you develop an interest in fashion?
My brother and I are commerce graduates. We grew up watching our father run his sari business. He owns a shop on Mount Road called Rupkala Designer Saris since 1971. We were the pioneers in light-weight chiffon. Eventually, we developed a love for fabrics, patterns, and colours. He is the driving force for us to take up this business.
When did you open Ruprang?
We opened this shop almost 20 years back. That was when many sari shops were coming up. One cannot think of a better place than T Nagar. We implemented the lessons learned by watching our father to make this store a different place with newer collections. It started as a 600-sq-ft space. We renovated it in 2013 and expanded it to 1,300-sq-ft.
Tell us about your equation with your brother?
We work hand-in-hand. We have eight to ten sections in the store and managing everything singlehandedly might be a task for me. He takes care of advertisements, marketing and production. I engage with customers and get their feedback to improve.
Have you seen a wave of change in the sari industry here?
Sari will never go out of trend. We need to play with seasonal colours and prints to stay updated. Light-weight drapes go well. We curate the best collection depending on the weather conditions. It plays a crucial role in our city. Chennaiites are stepping out of their comfort zone — from being traditional to experimental. Festival season is our peak time for business.
What’s your work philosophy?
We’re patient with our clients. Women take a long time to decide. We also keep track of their consumption patterns. It’s mandatory to stay connected with them and take in their suggestions.
Do e-commerce platforms affect sales?
I disagree. I know people who come with friends and have a fun shopping experience at our shop. Having a touch-and-feel experience never goes out of trend especially when you’re purchasing something sentimental like a sari or ethnic wear.
What do you do to unwind?
We plan a picnic with family on our weekly off. Driving is a big stressbuster.
We will be extending our collection to all ethnic wear.