An exclusive interview with the Mom & daughter duo of Zohva Fashions
Hi! I am Anusua Sett. Would like to share my story with you and to do that, I first need to tell you about my family and my upbringing. We have a very close knit family and I grew in a cohort of two sisters and two brothers. I am the third in a group of five children. My mother had the voice of a nightingale and she would often sing to us every now and then. We grew up listening to and learning Ravindrasangeet. I had a natural flair towards studies and always loved mathematics, be it in school or in college. Having learnt a lot about music and mathematics, it was clear early on, that I was passionately driven towards music and numbers. Nonetheless, I chose economics as a major for my graduation. I was married off post my graduation and I had to move all the way from Kolkata to Chennai, which according to me was a big change, since telephone calls those days were infrequent an letters took longer to reach. (We love Chennai and its culture, it was more the distance). But soon I blended with the new city and got absorbed in looking after my family. I left no stones unturned when it came to my daughter, Arundhati just as how my mother looked after us!
My husband studied in IIT Kharagpur and was a part of the initial batch of Management Trainees from Bata, Bata Nagar in West Bengal. After moving to Chennai post his training, he spent a few years in other private organizations but decided that he was not using his full potential while working for others. He then went on to found his leather shoes export business. In a span of 30 years, he put his heart and soul in pushing his company from a mere start-up to a company with over 200 employees. His company specialized in manufacturing top class leather shoes for men which were then exported overseas to UK and Germany.
Once my daughter grew up, I again had all the time at my disposal to pursue my interests. In the late 1990’s, interior designing was becoming a popular career stream, and so I decided to fulfill my creative pursuits in that field. Surprisingly enough, I was awarded a gold medal in interior designing among a class of girls who were the same age as my daughter! Post the completion of my course, I took up teaching in the same institute and I gradually started visiting my husband’s factory often during my free time. I began taking interest in observing how personal products were manufactured, what materials were being used and how meticulously each process was happening in the factory. With the help of few individuals from the factory we slowly started exploring the lack of genuine leather products in the Indian Market. Mr. Gautam Sarkar, was pivotal in researching the market and putting early thoughts which will later incorporate Zohva. Upon conducting a market research, we realized that either the products in the market was “not leather” or it was “too pricey”. This is when the Idea to provide genuine leather products and fashion accessories to the larger consumer community in Chennai began to take shape in our company. By then we had a few product sales in close communities of friends. After Arundhati’s return to Bangalore from her decade-long stay in USA, we took the discussions forward and began implementing new-gen strategies into the business. That is when we decided to begin exploring online-retail sales for our leather products. It was new for all of us, but we toiled together and founded Zohva … Leather Forever!What is your educational background?
I graduated with an Economics major degree from Bethun College, Calcutta University. After a very long gap I successfully completed an Interior Design course from Kothari Academy, Chennai.
How did you venture into the leather goods industry?
When my husband decided to venture into the leather export business, I was superficially involved in his factory and even designed their Logo when he started off. It was only about a decade ago that we realized the market needs for exclusive personal products among Indian consumers, be it a smart phone or genuine leather products. But unfortunately, when it came to leather products, consumers were hesitant to buy them mainly because genuine leather products were not that easily available in the market and even if they were, it was exorbitantly pricey. I noticed that many of my friends and relatives bought art leather, which is not real leather but a vinyl based product, thinking it was genuine leather! That is when the idea to design genuine leather products for my near and dear ones struck me and began to take shape in the form of a brand. With the help of a few senior executives from my Husband’s company and my daughter, Zohva happened. Our journey would never have happened if not for the leadership and hardwork of Mr. Gautam Sarkar.
What kind of products do you offer and for whom?
I strongly believe that a good handbag is an extension of a woman’s persona. We started Zohva with a few clutches and handbags that were designed by me, and we were completely sold out in no time! This immensely encouraged us to design more and more products. Our handbags from Zohva are meticulously designed keeping in mind the modern woman’s needs when it comes to comfort and style. For example, our white and tan bag has three outer pockets and several inner compartments which is perfect for a woman who travels quite often and is always on the move. We have bags that will keep the woman organized throughout her day at work and which can also take her into the evening get-together. To list our products out for you, we design clutches, handbags and shoes for women, and wallets, belts and shoes for the men.
Our products are for anybody wanting to buy genuine leather products. We do not constraint ourselves to a particular demography of audience because we truly believe that our products are meant for every individual who loves leather products.
Where do you get your inspiration from for designs?
The answer to this is quite simple. My parents! Especially my mother, who used to make things for us, using simple day to day elements. For example, she used to stitch hand embroidered dress and crochet table runners. She also had a flair for painting which was passed onto to me. I believe that we need to derive inspiration from simple things around us and most importantly from our near and dear ones, because knowingly or unknowingly they imbibe in us all the good qualities they possess which turns out to be an inspiration for us to live up to. I was able to shape my creative ideas into reality through designing, planning and putting the right team together, for execution. This is how I derive inspiration to design spaces and products.
Do you provide customizations to your clients?
Yes! We do customize leather products for our clients upon request. Our patrons can choose from the different colour options and sizes for shoes. If there is someone who wants to customize a handbag, they can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to explore more options and we will be extremely glad if we can help!
Do you have an online presence?
Although we just begun taking our brand online, we are seeing a positive stride in all our social media platforms. You can check out our line of products and shop online for our products at the following sites.
Official Website: www.zohva.com
E-commerce Site: shop.zohva.com
Instagram Handle: www.instagram.com/zohvafashions
Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/zohvafashions
To which countries do you provide shipping?
Right now, we provide shipping options only within India, but we are striving towards going international very soon.
Do you provide festive offers and discounts for your customers?
Yes, we do provide our customers with a limited time offer of 20% off on our product ranges every now and then. So, make sure you keep a track of our online profiles and look out for this exciting offer!
5 years down the line, where do you see yourself and your brand?
Without a doubt, “Go global with Zohva” is our plans for the near future!
So now, all you shopaholics out there with a love for genuine leather products, you know where to find them! Happy shopping with Zohva!
Something to Add?
It’s never late to follow your passion. Put the right thought and team into action. If you love doing what you do, it never feels like work.