House of Chikankari gives an update about their business to OTTplay.
Last Updated: 04.37 PM, Jan 16, 2023
Shark Tank India season 2’s pitchers House of Chikankari blew away the sharks and the viewers. Akriti Rawal, who runs the business with her mother Poonam, spoke to OTTplay about where her brand currently is. She revealed whether Peyush Bansal and Aman Gupta have already contributed to the brand. Akriti also sees the brand growing Internationally over India because of a special reason.
Excerpts from the interview…
Hi and congratulations. Firstly, has coming on Shark Tank India 2 helped your sales grow and to what extent?
Honestly, it’s helped us a lot. We’re living in a dream world and need to know whether it’s true. The traffic has gone up 6-7x on the website from that night. 4-5x happened that night itself. 12k followers increased on Instagram. The amount of love we’re receiving from everyone not just in terms of numbers but the qualitative impact of being on Shark Tank is huge. Our customers and even those who don’t know us are happy. The team is extremely happy, proud and motivated. They feel they’ve been a part of the journey. It’s amazing. We’re loving every bit of it.
You spoke about Instagram followers. Now it is a criterion to cast actors but tell me about business. Would you say that in business too, investors and clients go according to the number of followers?
No, we’re a brand that has focused on the Instagram community from the start. It really depends on how the brand’s stake on Instagram is. It was an Instagram-only brand and we built from that. We’re very community driven and so the number matters. We post a lot of customer content – about real people over photoshoots. We get a lot of content about our team. It’s a community, which is why it’s important to us.
Would you like to share if in any way Peyush and Aman have contributed to the company yet? Not financially but idea-wise or in any other way. Since they hold 3.75% equity now...
Yeah. 100%. Their team is in touch with us. They are guiding us in every step. We are currently undergoing the required processes. I’m 100% sure that it’s only going to go up with both of them on board.
When on the show, did it ever cross your mind to negotiate even with Anupam and Vineeta? Was picking Peyush and Aman spontaneous or you felt that the Sharks were a better pick for a certain reason? Since Namita also praised the two men for supporting Chikankari that is usually associated with women and House of Chikankari also, of course, is run by you and your mother...
There was any reason per say. All of them are really accomplished people. We’re grateful to get an offer from four of them. There was no preference but at the preference level, I feel House of Chikankari currently needs help to grow and I see the similarities in their journeys. It is why we picked them but are very grateful to receive the offer from all four of them.
House of Chikankari has a very local touch, like you mentioned on the show about the hand embroidery. At the current rate, do you see it growing in India to a greater extent or internationally?
Honestly, international is a huge potential. Indians still have options in Chikankari per say. It was unorganized but people find it offline. Internationally, on the other hand, Chikankari hasn’t grown. People come to India to get it but nobody has taken this art form internationally, at a bigger scale. The promotion of the art form and educating people about what it is, that is not been done.
Now that there is a COVID-19 scare, the sales and delivery could be impacted. Do you have a plan in place to deal with that? Would you like to share some details?
Honestly, right now, we don’t have a plan for it. We were enjoying the journey of Shark Tank but we’re not going to let us take that down. It happened the last two years, when COVID-19 was there. The first time, we launched this during the first wave. We experienced the second lockdown and we were lucky because we didn’t have to pay rent because we were working out of our home and the team was much smaller. Even back then, the problem was really huge. So, we have faced that once and I don’t think there’s anything that can stop us from growing. COVID-19 or anything, we will face it and come out stronger from whatever life throws at us.
Have you been approached by more investors? Have you considered them?
Since the episode just happened, I just got to check my phone and all I can say is that my email is flooded. So, I’m not sure. There was this one guy who messaged us that he would invest Rs. 20 lakhs for 1% equity. I don’t know if it’s a joke but we haven’t yet gotten back to business yet. There’s a lot of visibility that the brand has received and we’re extremely grateful for that.
You are open to having more investors, right?
We’re taking it one day at a time. Eventually, yeah. We want to grow it to a level where we will need outside capital but I can’t put a timeline on it. We need to first use the investment from Peyush and Aman and grow to a scale where we set the goal for ourselves. There’s no hard-and-fast rule. We’ll see how things come.
Akriti, where do you see House of Chikankari going from here?
Ever since the episode aired, everything changed not just financially but also emotionally. We’ll never go back to the pre-Shark Tank world. We’re living in a very different dream. The sharks on board will help us scale the brand in a correct way so we can build it as a sustainable business rather than building a business where we incur losses. We’re very confident on that. If 5000 workers were impacted by what we created in two years, I hope we can impact at a grassroot level where we can set up our foundation and impact their lives at a deeper level. These are just some dreams we have. Coming on Shark Tank was also a dream but here we are so fingers crossed, we will live our other dreams too very soon. In terms of the sales, I’m very sure they will expand multi-fold in the next one year with the amazing guidance of Aman and Peyush.