WOMEN’S DAY ‘Women can be a strong community & be of help to each other’

 WOMEN’S DAY ‘Women can be a strong community & be of help to each other’

The Leather Story Founder Aditi Kapur Chawla

This Women’s Day we profile some women entrepreneurs who started small but have nevertheless carved a niche for themselves

Upasana Kaura

Having worked in the fashion and lifestyle industry for nearly two decades, Aditi Kapur Chawla is well-versed with intricate detailing of product development and its potential to bring uniqueness. Her passion to bring uniqueness to a product pushed her to venture into starting her own label The Leather Story (TLS), in 2020.
“My passion for accessories helped me realise the existing gap in the market, which cemented the thought of bringing newness in my mind,” says Chawla, adding that her brand is all about helping one organise effortlessly, but with style. In conversation with Life & More, Chawla tells us more:

What prompted you to set up the brand in 2020, amid lockdown?
The inception of TLS dates back to a call with a friend where I realised that the Indian market lacked good and premium leather accessories and other products. While in many ways, the idea behind TLS was like the “eureka” moment of my life.
We launched in February 2020. Unfortunately, the unprecedented times hit me right as I launched the brand, but that did not stop me from continuing to strive and grow the brand. Keeping the pandemic in mind, I rolled out products that would be useful to the times we were adjusting ourselves to constantly. For example, Work from Home became the new normal during the lockdown, so, I introduced accessories that would add value to one’s desk at home, helping people organise better.

What all challenges did you face?
We had organised a pre-launch right before the lockdown and the pandemic, where I was single-handedly responsible for all the aspects related to it, whether it was looking after the packaging, QC the products or coordinating with the courier. Since my business was still small, it wasn’t practical to hire a person to work virtually. But this did not discourage me, in fact, it helped me to map a plan out and put an SOP in place for the future when me and my team would grow big. A few other challenges were small things that sort of delayed my process like having to register my brand without an official office space, but again, I did not let that get in the way of continuing to work towards growing my business.

Leather accessories TLS Leather accessories TLS
Sunglasses case (left) and Watch Organiser

Why leather?
With two decades of experience working in the leather industry, knowledge about the entire sourcing and manufacturing process, and participating in thorough scientific market research, identifying what the market was missing, it gave me the confidence to venture into and play around leather as a material.
I understood that I had all my resources to precure the raw materials, and I had the experience and the skill sets to kickstart a brand that could add value to the accessory category at large. Alongside, I could sense that there was a market ready to have leather products, yet it lacked behind in offering accessories and I couldn’t understand WHY? So, going with my instincts that told myself to take a plunge and capture this market segment

What all products are there? Which is your best-selling product?
We offer desk organisers like notebook covers, pen and pencil cases, wardrobe organisers like watch rolls and boxes for cuff links and watches, too, cases for glasses, phone cases and sling bags, a variety of wallets and even accessories like bracelets. Our best sellers amongst all the products are the Watch Organiser Collection, Suave Sunglass Case and Notebook Organiser.

Leather accessories TLS Leather accessories TLS
Cigar Boxes (left) and Notebook Organisers 

How has been the journey in the last two years?
The journey in the last two years has been a rollercoaster, like any entrepreneurial journey. With a start-up, unforeseen challenges are bound to happen, and with me, the pandemic hitting right after our launch would be one of them. We have grown as a brand tremendously. We have rolled out several new collections like Tech Accessories, which smaller brands would usually shy away from doing, especially having launched in unprecedented times. The journey has been super insightful and we learnt how women can be a strong community and how helpful we can be and are to each other.

What are your future plans?
Expanding my travel and tech accessory category, introducing new product categories in order to be a one-stop shop for all kinds of lifestyle accessories, which is why we are drawing and prototyping a few categories. We are also looking to increase our online presence, widen our customer base and are in talks with a few niche marketplaces that can get TLS listed, as well as work on brand collaborations to increase retail presence.

One message you would like to give to other women entrepreneurs.
Never give up on your beliefs, no matter what challenges you face, or criticism you get. The feedback or criticism should be seen from a constructive angle, and be used to improve yourself.


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