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A Fluky Startup That Took Over The Fashion Industry

A Fluky Startup That Took Over The Fashion Industry

By Manshi SinghPublished 3 years ago 3 min read

In five years, this startup has fascinated customers from over 200 countries. With new ravelling designs that have made their appearance in Big Bollywood movies like Padamavat and Veere Di Wedding. Which is this startup that has left every fashionable mind flabbergasted?

Founded in 2014 by Shirin Mann Sangha, Needledust is a startup that breaths creativity. The product range has nothing else but juttis and mojaris that are 100% handmade by local artisans. This handcrafted footwear brand is a pure amalgamation of beauty and comfort. The company has two stores in Delhi and one in Chandigarh. And are looking for further expansion in Mumbai and Bangalore. Every customer who wears Needledust experiences a walk of the heirloom.

The Founder and The Fluke

Shirin Mann Sangha, the founder of Needledust is an International Journalism postgraduate from Cardiff University. After completing her master’s, she returned to India and took over a job at a startup as an Investigative Journalist. Soon when she decided to get married, she was excited to fuse all her creativity for her outfits. She had it all figured out, except for the juttis. From a range of variants to choose from, that was the only thing she wanted!

When she realized, that no one was offering a pair of comfortable and eccentric juttis, she designed it herself and got it custom made. And what she created, stole the limelight on her wedding day. People began asking her about the juttis and she had no references to give. That was the trigger point when she realized that something like this is not offered in the market but is still in need.

With a lot of self-doubting but backed with her husband’s support, Shirin Mann Sangha made her first batch of 100 juttis and mojaris. She thought that if this fails she would just distribute it to her relatives. And it didn’t take more than a week for the whole batch to sell out on Soon she opened up her first store in Shahpur Jat, Delhi and since then this handcrafted footwear brand has never learned to stop.

“I have admired my mother wearing juttis since I was a child, and have loved the craft. She is the one who has inspired me in a man’s world. And I have also learned a lot of work ethic and passion from her”, says Shirin Mann Sangha.

Being an Investigative Journalist by profession, the founder believes that nobody needs to be formally educated in a field to be creative. If one has a creative and passionate personality goals can be achieved anyway.

Needledust and its Local Artisans

The founder had no prior experience in the field of footwear designing. She had to start from zero to make this idea work. From sketching to sewing, she had to acquire it all. She learned it from the Karigars (the local artisans) and also attributes this journey to them. These local artisans have been great teachers, moreover a strong foundation to the startup.

“If the product doesn’t speak for itself, no amount of marketing can help it. The word of mouth is the best marketing strategy your product can get.”

In the age of mechanization, handcrafted juttis and mojarishas become a dying art. And so are the endangered Karigars. The founder believes in protecting the handcraft and the artisans through this startup. Being a creative startup, the founder accepts to face many creative blocks in the work. And faces these blues by taking a break of day or two to start again with fresh ideas.

Fast Forward Five Years

Needledust has created an exclusive collection of 300 designs that are inspired by random concepts like peonies, jasmine, Sundarbans, and many more. The company has successfully collaborated with celebrity designers like Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla, Arpita Mehta, and more. The brand is worn by many celebrities around the world.

The startup has clocked down to annual revenue of $21.4 Million while employing over 250 people. Last year the company has been listed for Entrepreneur India’s 35 under 35 List.

“To all budding entrepreneurs, you know that faint voice in your head that says ‘DO IT’ listen to it! No idea is too big or too small! Try not living in the regret that -I wish I did it”, says the founder.

Source: A Fluky Startup That Took Over The Fashion Industry


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    MSWritten by Manshi Singh

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