Anjali Agarwal, a Gurugram native, left her engineering profession to create Kota Doria Silk with a Rs 25,000 investment, which she has grown into an empire of sarees, suits, home décor, and more.
Anjali Agarwal’s life has always been filled with hues, colours, and designs, whether she was doodling on her bedroom walls as a youngster or producing four-foot murals for the entrance of her office building.
Her love in art was also visible in the way she dressed. Anjali’s penchant for subtle patterns and varied colour combinations was extensively recognised by her classmates while studying Electrical Engineering in Kota and working for multiple firms in various regions of North India.
At this time, Anjali became acquainted with a fabric known as Kota Doria, which is a light woven fabric of tiny squares weaved on ancient pit looms in Kaithoon, near Kota, and other adjacent villages in Rajasthan. The cloth was uncommon and costly, but it was ideal for the state’s hot heat.
Anjali began buying this fabric and creating personalised salwar outfits. Her Gurgaon friends and family begged her to get them identical outfits after seeing her wear it.
Anjali worked as an electrical engineer for three years before transitioning to software for another eight. She opted to take a sabbatical from her job as a software developer for IBM in 2014 owing to a medical ailment. Around this time, she also had intentions to launch a homegrown business to pursue her love of patterns and colours.
She spent Rs 25,000 on fabric from Kota’s indigenous weavers and made a few garments herself. They were listed for sale on Kota Doria Silks’ official Facebook page and website.
Anjali claims that her bootstrapped firm now has a turnover of Rs 4 crore. She works with around 100 Rajasthani artists and weavers from various areas. She also has 15 full-time staff in her Kota and Gurugram offices.
Kota sarees are constructed of lightweight cloth that is ideal for summer. The cloth is handwoven on pit looms in a squares design using silk yarns. This weaving style was developed in Mysuru under the tutelage of Kota king Maharao Singh Kishore.
However, because the handloom process is costly and time-consuming, most textile proprietors, including Anjali, have switched to power looms. But, she also has a collection of handwoven cloth that is manufactured to order.
Anjali blends kota fabric with silk, cotton, or any other fabric that can contain ajrakh, hand embroidery, bagru and bagh prints, bandhej and lehriya, or tie-dye methods.
The company not only sells garments, but also home design goods such as curtains, pillow coverings, and bedspreads.
The prices of the items start at Rs 500 and may reach Rs 2 lakh.
The entrepreneur is preparing to open physical stores in key Indian cities such as Chennai, Thiruvananthapuram, and Hyderabad.