Started by the sister duo Jyoti, and Barkha Garg in 2014, Chokhaa is a homegrown footwear brand that sells and customizes hand-painted footwear for both men and women. From quirky Kolhapuris to couple footwear, to anything one can imagine, Chokhaa will help you get that!
Abhishansa Mathur was in a candid conversation with Jyoti Garg about her journey of starting Chokhaa, her inspiration, and everything related to Chokhaa’s hand-painted footwear!
Where did it all begin for you?
We always wanted to do something of our own since forever, and there was a love for art and colours and a passion for creating something unique which was never before seen, originated Chokhaa. Although back in 2014, we started with a different brand name-Foot Gossip.
Can you tell us something about you?
We are from a regular business class family. I am an Interior Designer, and Barkha holds a degree in Fashion Designing. We both had creative instincts since always, and we decided to have our venture from a business class family.
Please share the What, When, & How of starting your brand Chokhaa.
Every woman loves hoarding footwear, and so do we. There is even an exciting story behind this. Our dad always used to say to us that you two are so obsessed with footwear that you should open your own footwear shop, and we did it :D. We would never get quirky, and fun footwear in the market. Also, there were size issues. There is a massive dearth of such cool customized pairs in the market. Thus, the option where you can get a customized pair and that too in the budget was the idea. As, a woman, we understand the needs of women better, and that is how CHOKHAA came into existence.
Can you walk us through your journey so far?
Established in 2014, we began from our home with a few pieces. Our love for art, colours, and passion for creating something unique and quirky originated Chokhaa. However, back then we had a different brand name, and it was called foot gossip. We received our first order in just a few days and a big order of 75 pairs in the first month.
It gave us confidence and strength to continue. We neither had any prior knowledge of doing business, nor we studied in the field of footwear. We both had a dream and a passion that we followed with all our heart and hard work. Owning our share of ups and downs, we then re-launched our brand in 2018 with a new brand name-Chokhaa. We have seen success and failure both; the year 2016-2017 was quite challenging for us, and we didn’t know which way to go, but a little voice in our hearts always motivated us and kept on saying this is not the end. We listened to that voice and we are here.
This time with more power and a promise that no matter what, we will never give up, we relaunched our love. With the blessings, and love, 8000+ orders have been dispatched since our relaunch, and each day we are growing and receiving crazy responses and love, which is impossible to put up in words.
What are some challenges that you faced while running Chokhaa?
The concept was new for us. We also didn’t have any prior education and knowledge in this field. We learned everything from scratch, be it the art of footwear making to painting techniques to make it waterproof and do business from a small town like ours; everything was quite challenging. Sourcing quality materials to labours, everything is difficult in a small town. While relaunching, it was again the online business thing we learned from scratch. How to go digital and have that approach was challenging.
The lowest low was in 2016-17 when a sudden change in market trends happened, and everything had started to get digitalized. We were not on Instagram back then and had no guidance as well, as we belong from a small city like Ajmer. It took us a while to figure out the problem, but until then we were out of orders. We overcame this problem by getting thorough market knowledge, changes, and the support of our parents. It kept us going. Chokhaa is our first love, and a little voice in our hearts always motivated us.
What, according to you, makes Chokhaa stand out amongst other brands-
Our products are quirky, customized, and have out-of-the-box patterns where comfort and quality are the keys. It is all about an affordable range and big sizes. At Chokhaa, we make sure that every piece of footwear is painstakingly designed as per your requirement. So basically, your footwear isn’t just footwear, they are your mouthpiece for the world to tell them who you are.
How are you using Social Media to promote your homegrown brand?
Social media has paid a huge role in our success. We relaunched ourselves on Instagram, and we have got quite a massive number of orders and loyal customers from there. Many have recognized our work from being there on social media only. We can reach throughout India as well as overseas with the help of it.
What is your 5-year plan for Chokhaa?
We have launched our website, and so we are looking forward to a great business from there. Making it easily available to everyone. We are going to launch several different footwear options, and accessories in the coming years. Different designs are being launched every now and then. Under our five-year plan, we are also looking to open an outlet.
One advice/suggestion you’d like to give aspiring entrepreneurs out there.
Follow your heart. But take your brain along with it too. Just go for it if you really believe in your passion then be willing to invest yourself wholeheartedly. Just go ahead without paying attention to “Chaar Log kya kahenge” and enjoy the journey.
Get your hands on some quirky Kolhapuris from Chokhaa, as it’s one of their best sellers, and can even be customized.
Chokhaa is backed by Her&Now-Empowering Women Entrepreneurs, implemented by GIZ, on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and in partnership with the Government of India’s Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MoSDE).