"With Changing Times, Women Entrepreneurs Face The Same Problems As Any Entrepreneur. Gone Are The Times When Women Used To Face Partiality At The Workplace."
Classicuir is a leather brand that cares about you, handcrafted by passionate leather artisans, and gives you the vintage yet modern look with elegance and style. beautiful leather pieces that are a combination of contemporary yet timeless vintage fashion designed in France, that we are manufacturing in India. At Classicuir, fashion trend researchers and designers in Paris, France, integrate the latest trends that keep the basic essence of leather intact.
We sat down with Ms Priyanka Sethi, founder of Classicuir to know what it takes to run a leather business in India. Keepscrolling-
Could you tell us a bit about your background? When did you realize that you had a passion for designing bags?
Our family business is into manufacturing and exports of leather, leather garments, bags and accessories for the past 55 years, our parent company has a leading position in the market and has crafted its niche through a series of innovative designs backed up with aggressive marketing and a state of the art production facility. We have three factories for the production and our tannery in the south of India.
We have been producing the same for high-end brands across the globe. I always knew that I had to start with my own brand as I saw the gap in the market and noticed that the natural essence of leather is missing in the Indian market, there was no demarcation between leather and a pu ( plastic ) majorly claimed as a vegan in the Indian market. their look, feel and the price was all the same. I wanted to create a premium quality natural leather bags and accessories brand which is affordable by all and which is easily distinguishable as a leather product. Our bags once worn can be easily recognised as a leather product. We have the expertise in this sector along with highly skilled craftsmen to create the best quality products. We don’t make bags but a piece of craft, our motto is affordable luxury leather which is not only for the classes but for the masses as well.
This idea came to me while I was completing my masters from HEC Paris. I saw that all big brands, retailers in France were getting their designing there in France but their manufacturing is done from India, thereby to overcome their costs they were all selling at a very high price point, that is when I thought of making my own brand classicuir ( to provide affordable leather bags and accessories to all) which means classic leather in French. I have my own design team in my Paris office and the manufacturing is done here in India. After gaining recognition and establishing a niche in the western market, we expanded here in India.
What kind of leather are you working with?
We use 100 per cent genuine vegetable-tanned leather that has no harmful chemicals being used in the process, which makes our leather bags biodegradable and eco friendly. We use the most high-quality leather i.e full-grain leather. We have introduced a new concept in the Indian market, washed leather i.e. our bags are dipped in water first, then are tumbled and dyed in the end. Each product is dyed separately making it unique in its own way. our bags age gracefully with time as it forms a rich patina over time. We make soft leather bags for a unique feel and touch experience.
Do you want to explore other materials/fabrics as well?
We have expertise in other materials and fabrics as well, in the near future we will start making canvas bags with leather.
What is your favourite bag from your own collection?
We have spent so much time and effort on each product, all of them are close to my heart. It’s very difficult to choose one. If I have to name one collection that will be Bordeaux distressed rivets. The vintage yet contemporary look that the collection provides is something to look forward to and has not been tapped in the Indian market.
From where do you find your creative inspiration?
Spending so much time in Paris made me fall in love with French art and craft. Creating a fashion studio in Paris gives us the edge as it is the fashion capital of the world.
We have a team of fashion forecasters, trend researchers and designers to create unique designs for the Indian diaspora.
What is the vision and mission to start the venture classicuir?
Our vision is to revamp the entire leather game and make people realise that PU is not good for their skin and environment. We want leather not to be a luxury and an expensive product rather premium and affordable. We provide our clients with a value for money product. We are open to customisations in terms of colours and sizes.
As you have started your venture in pandemic so what are the challenges that you faced so far. How did you try to overcome those challenges?
We all know that 2020 was a major economical setback and all kinds of companies suffered during that period. A lot of brands were shut down in the pandemic and a lot more e-commerce brands were introduced in the Indian market. People’s mindsets, spending power has changed to an extent that everyone finds value in the overall product, entire shopping has shifted online, the response has been really overwhelming. The major challenge was trusting because a lot of people had faced issues with fraudulent websites and brands. Social media has made things simpler but it has its cons as well so gaining that trust was a major challenge, for we are constantly working on our digital marketing, giving additional services, cash on delivery for clients. We are providing free shipping and returns all over India, we are also giving one year warranty on all our products. For us, client satisfaction is our major priority and right now we are not focusing on profit rather working on customer retention. We have a great client servicing and after-sales team for any queries.
What the future holds for Classicuir, Plus growth plans of the Venture Advice to budding young women entrepreneurs
Our growth plan is to be accessible and affordable for every woman in India. We want to expand as much as we can through collaborations with multi-brand stores and boutique stores. Currently, we are available on our own website www.classicuir.com we will be soon exploring online marketplaces, we are also available in stores at vanilla moon Mall of India (Noida) and south point mall (Gurgaon).
We plan on opening our own stores pan India eventually.
With changing times, women entrepreneurs face the same problems as any entrepreneur. Gone are the times when women used to face partiality at the workplace. I would like to say to all the entrepreneurs that running any business solely comes with its challenges and it does get difficult sometimes but not to lose hope and keep working towards your goal. At the end of the day, your efforts will bring in results and make you reach a step closer to your goal.