Avishya aims to make handloom the couture of the masses
The handloom clothing brand has launched its first store in Chennai and aims to expand its footprint fast
Since its launch seven years ago, Chennai-based Avishya had been an online platform retailing handloom saris and fabrics. However, the brand decided to open physical stores in India. Having secured the funds to do so, it opened its first outlet in the country in Chennai, recently.
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Jawahar Singh, co-founder of Avishya, reveals the reason why his brand, which retails anything from grand wedding and occasion wear saris like Banarasi, Kanjivaram, Maheshwari and Gadwal to artistically woven cotton classics such as Bhujodi, Bandhani and Bagh printed saris, chose the bricks-and-mortar business and more.
“During COVID-19, several producers of garments set up social media handles and started selling their products directly to customers. This resulted in the slowdown of our online traction. Establishing that connect with customers through opening stores was the way to go to scale up our business again and establish ourselves as a serious player. We will be opening stores in Bengaluru, Mumbai and Hyderabad, among other places, soon,” Jawahar begins.
Avishya sells a mix of premium, high-end and even exclusive clothing and Jawahar says it was not a conscious decision to have such a product range. “Authentic handloom is always going to be more expensive than powerloom products. Connoisseurs will always know the difference between both,” he says.
“But, we want to make handlooms accessible. We are also trying to cater to the middle class and upper middle class to broaden our customer base. We have saris that cost between INR 2,000 and INR 1 lakh. We source directly from the weaver or the master weaver and offer the best prices,” Jawahar explains.
For a brand that is rooted in Chennai, most of Avishya’s sales come from overseas, with 95 per cent of its customers being women. “Sixty five per cent of our customers are NRIs living in the UK, the USA, the Middle East, Australia, Malaysia, Singapore and so on,” he states.
The reason female customers take up most of the brand’s customer base is that it has at least 100 types of handloom saris. Further, customers can purchase fabric by the metre at Avishya, apart from unstitched salwar suits and readymade garments like kurtas and sari blouses. While the handloom clothing brand does not have a product line for men right now, it wants to soon put on sale a line-up of shirts and kurtas.
Prices start from INR 2,000 onwards. At Alwarpet.