The brand was conceptualized with a vision of developing a signature product that sustains the existing dynamics of fashion. “While launching the label we intended to develop a robust and sustainable market for our products. We were meticulous about blacks, whites, and even grey issues of the fashion industry, “shares Saahiil Kapoor, Founder and creative director – DOUX AMOUR.
Share with us how the brand was conceptualized and when it was launched?
The brand was conceptualized with a vision of setting an impeccable niche in the fashion industry. The project envisaged developing a signature product that sustains the existing dynamics of fashion. Our experience of serving the fashion accessory industry for more than a decade has helped in adding a lot many shades in our thinking canvas. The privilege of working closely with major known international and domestic brands was very helpful in acquiring cognizance about a rich craft especially in the context of the heritage value of Indian products and its global recognition. While launching the label we intended to develop a robust and sustainable market for our products. We were meticulous about blacks, whites, and even grey issues of the fashion industry. The approach was to craft an exquisite product that delivers quality, uniqueness, customization, durability, and addresses intricacies of the fashion market. With consistent working and subsequent realizations, we have acquired ingredients for the perfect recipe That results in a responsible Indian accessories brand that empowers and values our artisans along with offering timeless versatile products cherished for generations.
What major challenges did you encounter when it was just a newly-launched brand?
Well, challenges are an integral part of every business journey. Targeting leather accessories in a luxury segment was a big challenge due to various reasons. But today we are glad that our slow and steady efforts have attracted a conducive space for us and we are very much sure that very shortly we will be able to establish an impeccable niche in the market. As we said that there were many challenges and the foremost one was lack of customer knowledge on authentic leather. We feel that in-depth knowledge of the characteristic of genuine and quality leather is lacking among most of the customers. Just like fabric being valued on the basis of its origin in handloom or mill made and also into types like cotton, silks, synthetics, etc. leather too has varieties starting right from its origin to tanning process further demarcating into categories of a split, suedes, full-grain leathers-each has its character, purpose, quality, price, and durability. So during the launch of the label, we had to perform two duties simultaneously. Firstly, to deliver a premium authentic true value product and secondly raising awareness about the genuineness of leather. Further, there was a challenge in penetrating the market into the luxury segment where mostly international brands are thriving. We realized the void of the absence of domestic luxury accessory brands and the same was driving customers to splurge and subsequently flaunt international brands. Hence to win the trust of customers and changing their minds set to swift from international brand to the more genuine homegrown brand was a challenge. However, with our consistent efforts and product quality, we have overcome many barriers. Our ideology is to foster responsible fashion and deliver”Fewer Better Finer “ products. We are sure that with our authentic and true value product we will be able to win more hearts and could foresee our brand blooming across the globe.
How would you elaborate the brand’s DNA?
DOUX AMOUR comes from a french word meaning” sweet love” and is synonymous with its pursuit of creation. Our passion to create the unexpected, Our devotion for the handcrafted, Our dedication for quality and fervor to take Indian accessories brands globally. Fostering responsible fashion, We integrate art and leathercraft for a timeless, Purposeful design. FEWER BETTER FINER is the ideology behind what we do. Each piece is fully hand-painted on vegetable-tanned leathers with a focus on uncompromised quality, detail, exclusivity, and durability. Designed for the conscious customer, we are offering a range of handmade leather accessories covering small leather goods, tech accessories, and a range of day to evening bags for men and women.
The Indian Fashion industry in the segment of luxury leather accessories has dominance in international brands. With the signature quality of core products, we intend to bring a paradigm shift from overrated international brands to a reliable, genuine, and value-added national brand. We are targeting a firm niche in the global fashion market and our driving forces are to deliver masterpieces to our premium customers with uncompromised quality, durability, and true value. With this conviction we wanted to create avenues for our artisans, giving them their most deserved value and economic upliftment. We believe that the happiness of the artisans is reflected in the gleam of the product.
Give us a view of the brand’s product line it has launched.
Sticking to the core virtues, we have always envisioned products that are heirloom pieces. Hence the focus has always been on the utmost details, quality, and exclusivity with the best of materials underpinned with the joy of supporting local craft and artisans. Thoughtfully working on premium leathers which breathe and age with time, change optics, and become dearer.-we have started with daily essential products on lines of small leather goods, handbags, and tech accessories. While progressing we are working towards resource optimization making sure that the leathers are not wasted and so we will be soon launching a range of small accessories on likes of monograms, key fobs, badges, etc.
How does the brand manage the design-to-manufacturing- and-retail process?
Design is an integral part for us which is more about an analysis of understanding and acting on ever-changing consumer and fashion dynamics. More than trends, we put our energies in exploring new techniques, traveling, meeting new people, learning from each attempt, and casting these experiences into our products. This is how our product has that edge of uniqueness and functionality. We don’t feel manufacturing is an appropriate word in our case of product creation- We function from an atelier setup working on bespoke products mostly two to three products at a time, handcrafted to perfection by our artisans, the process is laborious. Each product is hand-cut by the master artisan followed by other crucial techniques of manual painting, molding, skiving, tooling, edge finishing, and many more depending on the product intricacy. It takes almost a weeks to ten days to evolve a perfect product “our piece of art” With the nature of slow production we have been getting orders from word of mouth h/w recently we have started retailing through niche online and offline platforms on the made to order term.
Since its launch, how is the brand positioned today?
We as a brand are evolving step by step and thriving for more success in the coming times. We started from a home studio where I myself served as the key artisans, hand painting leathers, and further crafting them as products just with hand. With the slow progression as a result of word of mouth, we started getting more acknowledgments.Orders started pouring in and he eventually realized it was time to say goodbye to his job and to take over his dreams.The passion grew to recognition and we have recently showcased at the Lakme India fashion week summer 2020. Now our products are shelved at premium hospitality chains and niche multi-brand boutique stores.
What products are your best-performing ones, and kindly explain why?
With the uniqueness of the concept, the response is fairly impressive. Our technique of hand painting has given us an edge to offer a wide array of colors and texture to our products. While retaining the classic timeless appeal, we are able to furnish an exquisite range of products in a variety of deep mineral and woody tones. To summarize, it’s not just a product but a medley of hand painting techniques and a quality product that is able to work wonders and allure the customers.
How significant role e-commerce plays for the brand?
For the Luxury bespoke segment, we believe the physical experience of the product is irreplaceable.h/w E-commerce was the only survivor of the lockdown. so definitely, the digital experience is going to win hands-on.
We strongly feel there is a need to merge offline and online channels for a PHYGITAL experience. Digital platforms are a much safer, promising bet and need to be leveraged for a better tactile experience.
The pandemic has hit everyone hard, share your experience. Pandemic followed by Lockdown had been hard for us financially and emotionally. We had incurred losses not just on sales but also on our very crucial skilled artisans. At this time of uncertainty, most of the artisans have migrated back to their villages unsure when to come back. They have been our biggest asset all this while and despite our best efforts we have not been able to retain all of them. We are not able to justify the current operating costs with scarce labor, output iced with poor sales. With the gradual lifting of lockdown, we are getting back to normal, taking one day at a time. With the new SOPs in place, we are focusing on getting our artisans comfortable in a new environment. With respect to the supply chain, the struggle to get the right raw material is real. Currently, our focus is to keep our team safe and get the supplies in order. We are using the time in hand to get more creative ideas in place and plan our collection.
Share with us the measure you would like the government to introduce to ensure survival.
We think there are two major aspects where the support and initiatives of the government are essential for the long term survival of this industry. These two aspects are incentivization in terms of capital and conservation of craftsmanship. We have realized that there are many capable designers who have the potential to craft products at par with international brands. However, for them, a lack of capital support serves as an inhibitor for grasping various opportunities. Government capital support for the development of make in India products will help in retaining Indian money in-country and also to bring home foreign money. Another aspect we were talking about is incentivization for conserving Indian craftsmanship. Over the years the Indian craftsmanship is gradually losing its heritage linkage due to the gloomy economic status of Indian craftsmen. Children of craftsmen are getting lured to other professions that are more promising economically. With support and encouragement of the government, the fading profession of Indian craft heritage can be inhibited from dying slow death
With government support, we are looking forward to a robust system which supports Indian craftsmanship and brings it to an international platform.