Ahmedabad-based organic textile start-up Bhu:sattva redefines organic fashion as more than just khadi, offering an experience it calls “from field to fashion”. It provides eco-friendly classic clothing across India, which are created from organic crops in soil that has also been certified as organic. The website has recently been expanded to include “art-inspired clothing”, and it plans to have a mobile application on Android as well as iOS platforms within the next six months.
“We are one of a kind since we offer an organic experience through our clothes. From the field to fashion, our products are entirely organic,” says Jainam Kumarpal, founder, Bhu:sattva. “We have clusters of farmers and farms growing cotton and silkworms. We provide buyback guarantees for the entire yield at a premium price, and this crop is entirely organic, right from the soil to the final product.”
Bhu:sattva has more than 2,000 people directly or indirectly associated with it. Initially starting with men’s wear, Bhu:sattva today has tie-ups with designers in diverse locations across the globe, including Paris and Qatar. It has also diversified into bridal wear, which was launched over the last two years, and a couple of months back, it launched footwear for women, while footwear for men is currently at a “nascent stage”.
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“We had originally started with western wear since we were catering to the overseas market; we then gradually launched our Indo-Western wear too,” says Kumarpal.
At the time of its launch in 2009, the average ticket size for Bhu:sattva’s designer organic fashion products was R3,000-10,000. The launch of women’s wear saw the average price range rise to R40,000. Its products are sold at more than 100 stores across India, and it is currently in the process of developing a franchise model. It has stores in Bengaluru and Hyderabad, and plans to open stores elsewhere in the country. “We are now looking at licensing options, and we will work on that in 2017.”
Bhu:sattva’s efforts towards contributing to conscientious fashion is evident in its efforts towards “up-cycling” waste material. “We have a dedicated team which works solely on up-cycling organic waste. By up-cycling, I mean the waste is made into products like scarves, purses, stoles, different kinds of headgear, which are then given as free accessories with the garments a customer purchases,” explains Kumarpal.
It is also planning to launch its own jewellery line, as well as its own brand of essential oils, which will also be organically produced. A children’s fashion line is also in the pipeline for Bhu:sattva, which it hopes to launch by 2018.
However, it has not always been smooth sailing for Bhu:sattva, which had to wait six months for its first order. Says Kumarpal, “We faced a lot of problems: Right from sourcing raw material to ensuring its perpetual flow, backward integration processes including dyeing, weaving, blending of different fibres like banana fibres and pineapple fibre, soy fibre, milk fibre and even bamboo fibre.” Getting weavers and artisans on board was also a tedious process. It took Bhu:sattva four months to convince them to work for it. There were also a lot of permutations and combinations to be considered before the products were finalised. “We had to discard several ideas too, along the way, based on opinions on whether the particular product would work or not. Initially, people liked the product but did not want to buy them,” he says.
Now, Bhu:sattva has fashion agents across the globe, with three agents covering Europe alone. It also claims to have a strong presence in Brazil, Mexico, Qatar, Singapore and the Philippines. Bhu:sattva has recently begun catering to South African nations, and is also planning to launch its products in the US and Canada. Says Kumarpal, “We believe there are a lot of non-resident Indians (NRIs) and even foreigners who would love to buy western wear made out of Indian fibres.”
The firm currently has about 10 production facilities, with about 50 machines each, spread across Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Delhi, Jaipur and Hyderabad.