In conversation with the owners of Kiara by Preeti Modi
Preeti Modi was born and raised in Bangalore, India. She moved to Dhaka nearly eight years ago, after her marriage to Asish Modi. The couple has always had an eye for business, and this month, they sat down with Avenue T to talk about one of their ventures, Kiara by Preeti Modi.
How did you come up with the idea of creating Kiara? What was your inspiration and what's the story behind the name?
Kiara was a very planned step taken by us. We started Kiara in 2018. We had been studying and observing the Bangladesh fashion style for a year back then.
We were always fascinated by the fact that people in Dhaka are so much in love with sarees and are so culture oriented. However, we also observed that this trend was suffering from a setback. So, we decided on our main product -- sarees. We wanted to bring sarees back to the lives of young girls and middle-aged ladies. Somehow, I felt that girls didn’t want to wear sarees because they assumed it to be uncomfortable or a piece of attire to be worn on special occasions and parties only.
We wanted to give them a comfortable garment which can easily be carried around all day. That’s when we decided to stay focused on mulmul.
Mulmul, our prime product is a soft cotton fabric, and we hand block these in trendy motifs which are eye-catchy and behold the wearer. Slowly, from mulmul, we have now expanded to Katan silk too. Meanwhile, when mulmul was widely accepted and loved by people, we tried to experiment with comfortable nagras adding to the charm. And by the grace of the almighty, our Juttiwala brand too became a recognized and loved one.
Ever since the beginning of it, we have stayed focused on catering to the online market. Back from 2017 to 2018, there were not enough online stores in the clothing sector. The count was limited to a very few. We wanted to revolutionize this aspect and bring in the trend of shopping with a click.
The name Kiara is our daughter’s name. Ever since she was born, our lives have changed. She is our good luck charm. So, we decided to go with her name for the store.
Where do you get your products from? How can a potential client order products from your page?
Our silk sarees are made in Bangladesh. We have a unit of 28 karigars currently working for us here who very patiently hand weave these beautiful sarees. Most of these are zari embroidered.
Mulmul is not found in Bangladesh. We import it from India. We design them with the help of our designing team here, then send them for processing to our Indian manufacturing unit.
Bridal lehengas and gowns are also designed and made in Bangladesh by our artisans. Nagras are designed here but the production is done in India. We are mainly an online store and plan to have a flagship store this year. We take orders through our Facebook pages: Kiara by Preeti Modi and Juttiwala. Our multi-brand website is launching in May too. We offer home delivery within 48 hours.
What's the price range?
Our silk sarees start from Tk10,000 and goes up to Tk24,000. Bridals start from Tk24,000 and go on to Tk70,000. Mulmul ranges from Tk2,600 to Tk3,400, while nagras are priced within Tk2,500 to Tk4,000.
Who and which things are the inspiration while creating or choosing any design for Kiara?
The first thing we keep in mind is the culture of Bangladesh. When we are creating a new design, we try to first consider if there is any cultural event coming up soon. Like if there is Boishakh coming up, we know we have to focus on Boishakh colours. So, we first look at an upcoming event. Second, we are constantly following the wants and trend shift of our customers, so that we know what we have to offer to them next. Third, we always keep in mind that our designs have to be eye catchy as well as comfortable. It has to be unique.
According to you, what are the skills that are necessary for becoming a successful entrepreneur?
Focus, determination, and the willingness to work hard every single day. It’s only when we are working hard every single day, even after reaching the targeted goal, will we not only succeed but will manage to stay successful and not face a downfall.
Staying focused, not moving away from the goal, setting up attainable but high aims in life, and knowing how to manage the available resources in hand, adds up to it.
How do you stay updated with the trends in the fashion industry?
We follow a lot of international blogs, fashion shows, magazines and other media of information.
What are the work ethics that you believe in while working with fashion?
We have always stood by maintaining our quality, and will always stand by it. At Kiara, you will not find anything that is over-priced. Our quality speaks for the price we charge.
We have always tried to support all our artisans and staff members by providing good workspace and affordable living. In the midst of COVID too, we didn’t cut down on our members or their wages, we continued our operations even during the lockdown, in order to ensure no one has to face the wrath of the virus. Staying loyal to the customers is our motto and our entire team adheres to it.
For you, what are the most important facets of the fashion industry?
Staying unique in your designs, focusing on quality fabrics, and trying to establish a connection with people through your designs is important.