StartupStory#67: Drapestory – Komal Bhandari Reinvents Bridal Couture

 

“The arts attracted me ever since I was a kid,” muses Komal Bhandari, the Founder and Lead designer at Drapestory.

Never academically inclined, she was in junior college when she realised that her interests lay in design. Promptly enrolling for a degree in design, Komal began her journey as a fashion designer.

Wise beyond her years, this sharp young designer has started her own design studio, and aspires to get bigger. She walks us through a day in her life as the founder at Drapestory.

“My day begins with a cup of tea at seven in the morning,” says Komal. “After swiftly whipping up breakfast for the family, it’s time to design.

“The average day has me visiting my workshop for a brainstorming session with my karigars. We discuss how best to execute client requirements and look for fresh new styles that can reinvent the conventional bridal look.

“A few times a week, we manage the inventory and source materials from city markets which can be quite exciting, though exhausting. The rest of my day flies by with client meetings, where we conceptualize their dream dresses and I get right to work fashioning them.

Startup Essentials

A niche design studio, Drapestory offers modish fashion best suited to millennials.
Their USP is the use of vibrant colours and stunning detailing executed with finesse by talented craftsmen.
Planned and launched by Komal Bhandari, who is the lead designer, the studio caters to fashion conscious Puneites.

 

The petite designer introduces us to her team of craftsmen lead by Aftab and Amir Hussain. She explains that each of the karigars have an expertise be it dyeing, embroidery or even minute handiwork. Up next are the aspiring designers and interns at the fashion house. Shivani Inamdar, Riya Gupta, Priyal Garg and Mohit Makhija who make up the millennial talent at Drapestory.

“I head home in time to cook up a storm in the kitchen right around supper time,” shares the designer who usually takes a couple of hours each night to stay on top of national and global design trends. “Looking for new material and motifs is a joy and it helps me think about ways to use them and create a beautiful piece,” she beams.

CEO After Hours

Sundays see her put on the chef’s hat to bake sweet treats. Brownies and cakes are her guilty pleasure though she does fashion beautiful chocolate bouquets.
Weekends are when she manages to grab some me-time with a shopping spree.
She likes to try her hand at DIY crafts and works on the occasional wall mural.
Komal also enjoys catching a movie with friends, or spending some quality time with her hubby.

Komal admits her first clients were friends and extended family. “I’m immensely grateful to my parents who believed in my dream and financed the entire preliminary setup for me. Over the past year, my client base saw a slow, but steady increase, which is when I forayed into high-end couture.

“I cannot stress enough on the importance of networking,” says Komal. “It has been the only way to better clients and led me to meet design legends who aided me in finding talented craftsmen.

She talks about the ebb and flow in the market demand by explaining, “I’ve carefully and subtly built professional relations with people over time to ensure that cut throat competition in a city like Pune, does not dampen my business.

Word of mouth and referrals are also a great way to more clients,” she reveals.

“I’ve noticed I do my best work when a client has challenging requirements,” Komal muses. “That’s when my mind whirs like a machine and I try to give my client the very best they can have,” she shares with a grin signing off.

 

 

Aditi Balsaver

Aditi Balsaver

A rapacious reader and animal lover, Aditi is a traveler on weekends and a writer at night..
Aditi Balsaver

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