The love story behind clothing brand 'Chidiyaa'
Pooja Rajput and Amit Goyal of the sustainable clothing brand Chidiyaa, on their 15-year lovework partnership.
It is true that what is meant to be always finds a way. Dehradun boy, Amit Goyal, was working with Asian Paints, when Pooja Rajput met him during a yoga class in her neighbourhood at Pune in February 2004. “I still remember lending him my extra mat on his first day to the yoga class. Gradually, an exchange of pleasantries began as our cars used to be parked side by side,” shares Pooja, 39, Co- Founder of the niche clothing brand, Chidiyaa, that she runs with Amit.
Within a month of dating, Amit had to move out to Gurugram as he bagged a job with Nokia. “I was still doing my MBA, and live-in relationships were not a thing then. So, we got married in December 2004, and moved to Gurugram. Later, I came back and took my exams.”
While Pooja’s parents gave their blessings, Amit’s family was in a shock. After all, Amit’s was the first ‘love marriage’ in his family. “But we did not have to struggle to get married, despite coming from different cultures.
Moreover, Pooja gets along well with my extended family more than me,” adds Amit, 44, recollecting when his family had asked Pooja to recite a bhajan.
“Pooja has a good presence of mind, and quickly sang Lucky Ali’s song, Tum Se Hi, which sounded like a bhajan, and my family was overjoyed,” chuckles Amit. In the initial years, Pooja struggled to get a job, “but emotional stability was my priority as I knew I would sort my career in time,” she says.
Eventually, she joined Max Life Insurance and headed PMO IT.
She stayed with the company for a few years till she felt like starting her own venture. She says, “I am fond of cafés, and cultural environments, and proposed to Amit the idea of opening my own café. I had even pictured how the café would look.” But soon Amit dismissed the idea.
“I am practical and didn’t find her idea not feasible at that point,” adds Amit. In 2015, she floated another idea of designing clothes and textiles, and this one he immediately agreed to.
“While having tea, I came up with the name, Chidiyaa, and he was quick enough to get the domain name registered, and things began to fall into place,” says Pooja.
Amit quit Nokia this year to manage Chidiya and work on a tech venture. He handles Chidiya’s administration and finances, but doesn’t offer any creative inputs.
“Pooja has a natural instinct for it, and my inputs are functional. But yes, my daughter works on the designs with her.” Amit believes that opposites complement. “Pooja has a right brain and I have a left brain.
When we think together, the best of both worlds come together. I have a veto over websites, content, while Pooja has a veto over creativity,” adds Amit.
Despite the clear demarcation in roles, disagreements still creep in. “When that happens, we leave things to time. We do not drag it on, and go out, drink and eat together,” adds Pooja. To keep things simple, they work with a lean team. “A lot of our operations are outsourced and managed by professionals,” she says.
The couple loves catching movies together, “even though we end up watching movies of Pooja’s choice,” he says jokingly. When it comes to planning holidays, he has the upper hand. Now Covid has cut on their travel. “We used to do pop-ups around the country, but all of it came to a standstill due to the pandemic.
We had to shut our brick and mortar stores, and took the business online. Actually, our sales have grown as compared the Pre-Covid times,” notes Pooja. Chidiya just unveiled its the first chapter of the festive collection, titled Jaswanti.
“We are doing Chanderi silk saris, rich and colourful saris in Mashru and Modal silk, and zari saris with linen. Our upcoming men’s line will have our signature motifs with an original colour palette and prints,” Pooj a signs off.
The road ahead
Chidiya just unveiled its the first chapter of the festive collection, titled Jaswanti. “We are doing Chanderi silk saris, rich and colourful saris in Mashru and Modal silk, and zari saris with linen. Our upcoming men’s line will have our signature motifs with an original colour palette and prints,” Pooja signs off.
A funny thing about him
He doesn’t understand music. He will keep fiddling with the radio in the car, and will change the station when a good song is playing.
A funny thing about her
She is very bad at remembering names. When we were talking of someone, she will imagine another person in her mind.