Six years back, Kaveri Lalchand started her brand K clothing with just three sewing machines in her home garden. She had no background in fashion, but she used to stitch 30-50 dresses a month. In November 2017, she opened her first physical store called Kaveri in Mumbai. Following which another outlet in Chennai was opened six months back on Kasturi Rangan road.
As you step into the compactly spaced out showroom you can easily find around 250 ready-made dress pieces in a varied palette. “I had many interests. I started a publishing company, a cultural hub and worked with artisans. Art has always been my cup of tea. My grandfather had a textile business. My father was with manufacturing and export business,” says city-based entrepreneur Kaveri. Excerpts from the interview:
What does Kaveri as a brand stand for?
My store’s name board reads Everyday Beautiful. From the decor to the logo, everything has a heart. I know the trauma of not being able to find dresses. My line of clothes caters to women of all sizes. The silhouettes are breezy and made of linen.
Kaveri as a boss versus Kaveri at home.
I’m very enthusiastic, I believe in hard work and inherent good in everyone. I work from home and live at work. You cannot separate me from what I do. The same love, special care and togetherness I expect at home are expected at work as well. We celebrate birthdays, and festivals at work. We are a family.
What is an ideal work atmosphere? Tell us about your work ethics.
“It may not be your fault but it is your responsibility.” I have a huge poster of this quote stuck on my wall. I want everyone to look out for everyone else. I don’t mind if someone makes a mistake but I get as angry when I see someone letting another make one at the first place. Getting each other’s back and team spirit are the values I have taught my employees.
A day in your life.
My day begins with a cup of lemon black tea. I meditate for 20 minutes and leave for work. I visit the factory in Kodambakkam to take care of administrative work, fix up shows and experiment with designs. Then I come to the store to interact with customers. I wrap up and come home by 8.30 pm and move into my quiet zone. After refreshments, we have our family time and then I get back to work for a couple of hours.
What do you like the most about your profession?
I usually travel 15-20 days a month. One of the ways our brand operates is through the travelling trunk. I pack bags and go to different cities and meet different beautiful women. It takes care of the vagabond thirst in me. I’ve had pop-ups across many cities. There is nothing as gratifying as someone who enjoys something you’ve made. They tell me that my clothes give them a confidence boost. ‘It’s my 40th birthday and I want you to make a dress for my fit.’ These words mean so much. These clothes make them feel good about themselves.
A few words about the cause you’re working for and customisation options that you offer?
I’ve started giving talks on positive body image. Somehow we fall into the trap of societal norms and sizes. I want to break this conditioning and make women feel special. It’s fine if you don’t want to wear a sleeveless or a dress with a revealing neckline. As a designer brand, I customise pieces for clients based on their measurements. Not every woman has a standard size. Buying a piece of fabric and getting it stitched from a tailor is a common concept. I want every woman to buy a branded garment off the rack with the perfect cut and fit.
What do you think about the clothes at plus-size stores in the city?
I haven’t been to any dedicated plus size stores in Chennai. Neither is my store completely plus size. But the sizes we offer are welcoming. Every woman will find a piece of clothing that will perfectly slide over her body. Designers should be sensitive to what is required.
I want to open more stores. My collections are available internationally in a few boutiques in Maldives, Sri Lanka and Europe. I’m working on a new line of clothing including a kids wear.