Women bring together the finest aspects of society; the ability to create and the transformational ability to make a difference. Therefore, in today’s war-torn world, we need women to come to the forefront and take more responsibility. With this ideology in mind and a mission at hand, KNYA was launched in August of 2017 to give women the wings to achieve their goals and turn dreams into a reality. Women have an unfailing loyalty towards outfits that make them feel empowered and comfortable at the same time and this is what KNYA is all about. Drawing inspiration from international trends, but mindful of the Indian modern lifestyle. At KNYA, it’s not just fast fashion, its empowering fashion.
Q.1 What inspired you to start KNYA?
I started working on the concept for KNYA while I was pursuing my undergrad at Lasalle College of the Arts, Singapore. This gave me a chance to validate and develop my idea into a full business model with the guidance of many professional women and lecturers.
While researching further, I soon realized that there was a huge gap in the market of Indian brands doing western wear clothes, particularly workwear. Young professionals were forced to choose between low-quality, mass-market brands, and overpriced designer brands.
I knew there had to be a way to make chic workwear in India that could seamlessly transition women through their work as well as post-work commitments. I launched the company a year after graduation after gaining experience in the Textile sector.
Q.2 What is the USP of your brand?
In today’s world, we have so much variety, especially in clothing, but there is a lack of quality. At KNYA, we strive to close that gap. We travel the world to choose fabrics that fit our collections. We use a lot of Chinese silk because it keeps one cool in summer and warm in winter, while also being a supremely soft year-round. Our workwear shirts are made of French poplin and Giza cotton, as they’re light enough for everyday wear.
We have a beautiful tunic in lavender which is made of the Eucalyptus tree and milk. We’ve used the wood of the Eucalyptus tree that gets converted into the fiber during the manufacturing process. This eco-friendly procedure helps us use 20% less water compared to what gets utilized in the making of cotton clothes. Also, this fabric is 50% more absorbent than cotton.
Q.3 What kind of women do you design for?
KNYA aspires to befriend every modern independent woman in her journey towards success. #knyawomen are not just women who work from offices, but also women who work from home mothers, homemakers. Having said that working women all around the world have no shortage of decisions to make, including what to wear between the hours of 9 and 6. And one thing all working women have in common is their impeccable sense of dressing that is also emblematic of their big ambitions and dreams. These are the women we design for.
Q.4 So what’s KNYA’s highlight of the season?
S/S 2018 is the solution for your work-to-weekend sartorial needs. It’s a mix of polka dots, a modern take on the plain white shirt (with floral embroidery), and peplum styles, for women who don’t want to remain inside a box. Since not everyday demands the boring office wear, this collection inspired you to bring your cool and relaxed self to the office.
Q.5 How differently would you like to style a 25-year-old and a 50-year-old CEO?
As much as I’d like to see these ladies donning outfits regardless of their age, I propose two ideas that might interest the working women in these different age-groups. For the boss-babe in her twenties, I suggest KNYA’s Ultraviolet Ruched Shirt paired with a simple Pencil Skirt. For the badass boss in her fifties, how about the classic white shirt styled with our chic Frida’s Love tale and Boot Cut Trousers! Or, for that matter, the Neck Tie blouse paired with a pair of well-fitted straight trousers and pencil heels.
Q.6 What are the biggest lessons you have learned along the way when it comes to starting a new brand?
I’ve learned that the real work starts only after you launch your business. You have to be extremely flexible and willing to change your initial plan once launched – because only after you have entered the market can you really know about it.
The biggest challenge in starting KNYA was diving headfirst into an industry that I knew very little about. It’s a steep learning curve in trying to figure out all the blocks to building the foundation of your business – from production to merchandising to building a website and even hiring.
Cost-cutting is most crucial for any startup, so that is something we have been very cautious about. One of the best and worst things about starting a business is that the learning never stops.
While one year ago the biggest challenge for me was product development, today it is understanding and negotiating store leases. Every day is a new day and the learning is immense.
But along with the challenges comes the reward. For us, the reward is seeing the satisfaction and empowerment that our clothes bring to the women who wear them.
Q.7 Not to get sidetracked, but it’s also festival season (Christmas, NYE). Give us your best advice for coming up with the ultimate festive look to the office.
Who says holiday dressing has to be so cut and dry? From our red cowl neck, top to our asymmetrical one-shoulder top here are a few ways for switching it up and looking festive this season.
Q.8 We’ve noticed KNYA does quite a few Pop-Up events. Do you feel it’s important for E-commerce companies to have a physical presence?
Correct, we do a lot of Pop up Events. I love getting to meet our customers and gathering feedback from them. After our first pop-up event, I realized that our customers really needed to feel the difference in material, compared to what’s currently on the market, and try on the pieces to see for themselves just how flattering they are. We know our demographic can take a while to warm up to a new brand, but we didn’t anticipate how major the difference would be when women could meet us and try everything on.
As a result, we’ve shifted our strategy and goals by planning more long-term pop-ups.