Archana Jaju is the founder of a textile brand that focuses on the development of handcrafted products, and draws its inspiration from the culture, and traditions of the country.
Abhishansa Mathur was in a candid conversation with Archana Jaju about her clothing brand, and her journey of being a successful designer, and an entrepreneur!
Where did it all begin for you?
For me, the entire journey began way back when I was a school girl. I was very fond of designing and putting together my own outfits for any and every festive occasion. Slowly, it became a reflection of my identity and of my choices. My outfits became a symbol of the person that I am and it became an outlet for self-expression. I think then I realized that this is my calling.
Can you tell us something about you?
I have an educational background in commerce from a college in Nagpur. I don’t have a formal education in fashion but I always knew that’s where my heart lies. A lot of it has to do with my ancestral background as well. My family is one of the first families to weave handloom Chanderi sarees. All throughout my childhood, I’ve either helped out with my family business or spent my time redesigning and renewing my grandmother’s old sarees. My style is organic and craft-oriented. Every single piece we have created has incorporated elements of multiple craft clusters, making them unique and one of a kind.
Please share the What, When, & How of starting your brand Archana Jaju?
Like I had mentioned before, fashion was always an integral part of my family history. I was introduced to this particular avenue to channel my creativity when I was helping around at home. It was actually my father-in-law, who encouraged and motivated me to explore and venture into the world of fashion, and helped lay the foundation for my dream.
Can you walk us through your journey so far?
I received a lot of encouragement from my family and set out to start my own fashion house. I was thrown into a mix of hard work, and discovering and working with different craft techniques. Fueled by the dedication and immense passion for handicrafts, I now have my dream career – my very own eponymous label. I worked with different craft clusters, all of which originate from different corners of the country, with one thing in common; immense talent and skill. It is extremely surreal to see what they honed for years together and I will always be in awe of them. All our experimental research is carried in synergy with them.
What are some challenges that you faced while running your label Archana Jaju?
I am an extremely detail-oriented person. While designing, I always try to perfect even the finest aspects of the piece. All of these pieces are an amalgamation of multiple elements, and paying acute attention to everything is a challenge in itself.
Give us some background on your sourcing of textiles?
It is our artisans that drive our entire brand. Currently, the craft clusters we have are all across India; we have Kalamkari from Sri Kalahasti in South India, Bandhani from Kutch, Lucknowi from Uttar Pradesh. We have Parsi Gara from the remote interiors of West Bengal, the timeless Kanjivaram from Chennai, and Benarasi from Varanasi.
Every one of our pieces has a prominent presence of eclectic combinations of these handicrafts and textiles. They are extremely distinctive.
What according to you makes your label Archana Jaju stand out amongst other brands?
Our brand focuses on the development and conservation of handicrafts produced by our skilled artisans. At the same time is making a conscious effort to adopt the path of sustainability. We work with artists from all over India. Each one of our pieces has a special blend of handicrafts, making them unique and distinguished.
How are you using Social Media to promote your homegrown brand?
Our social media showcases our designs in a very elaborate manner. We do in settings that best capture the essence of each collection. So, that our audience has the right idea of what we represent.
What is your 5-year plan for your label Archana Jaju?
I dream to have a brand that is relevant and showcases products in multi-designer shows all across the globe. I also really look forward to experimenting with a lot more craft clusters and collaborating with more artisans.
One advice/suggestion you’d like to give aspiring entrepreneurs out there.
Strive to be real, and be true to yourself. The world may follow and abandon every trend that comes and goes, but you must stick to your art and your individuality. Believe in yourself and trust the process, it will all work out eventually.
If you are planning to buy yourself something in traditional , check out their gorgeous Kalamkari pieces here!