These engineer sisters turned Rs 6 lakh investment into Rs 50 crore biz!

These engineer sisters turned Rs 6 lakh investment into Rs 50 crore biz!

Popular as an Instagram brand, the story of Suta saris has grown at a rapid pace over the last six years. What started as a home-grown initiative of two engineer-turned-entrepreneur sisters has now grown to become a series of physical stores.

Sibling Camaraderie: The Suta sisters of Mumbai Sibling Camaraderie: The Suta sisters of Mumbai

After working for a few years as engineers, sisters Sujata (36) and Taniya (34) decided to do something ‘impactful’ with their time and effort. While they had no idea about running a business, they were sure about doing something around saris. This is how Suta was born, a name compiled of the first two letters of their names Su and Ta.

Each of them had put in Rs 3 lakh to build a corpus of Rs 6 lakh with which they went to explore the weaves. The idea was to get fetching traditional wear and market them among young women and help make traditional weaves relevant among socially savvy consumers.

“All we knew was that we wanted to do some impactful work and while we had no entrepreneurial experience, we had one thing in common – a passion for saris,” said Sujata. Both had a shared vision of India’s rich textile heritage.

Rock solid: The Suta sisters are all set to open physical stores

“We decided to take a deep dive. We went to the villages of Bengal and Orissa initially and then eventually everywhere to source our saris. All we had was an almirah at home to stack up the saris and then we rented a run-down warehouse in a dingy lane at Kalina,” Sujata told Business Today.

Some of the villages where Sujata and her sister ventured to meet weavers initially were Phulia, Bishnupur, Rajpur, Dhaniakhali in Bengal.

The duo has come far from that humble start. They claim to have booked Rs 50 crore worth in revenues last year. So far, the duo has managed without funding. “Taking the funding route obviously helps scale a business but then entrepreneurs lose a lot of control on what they want to do with their work. So far, we have operated with self-funding and want to stay that way for as long as we can,” Sujata told Business Today.

While the pandemic has pushed many a retailer to open online stores, for Suta, the story has been reversed as they decided to open physical stores soon after the Covid lockdowns ended.

“From our experience, shopping for clothing, especially saris can’t be an online-only experience. People like to take buying decisions after seeing the saris. We are about to open our flagship store in Bangalore as the city also hosts our strongest customer base. We have started one in Kolkata. We want to be very sure of the markets before setting up our physical presence in any city,” Sujata said.

In their new round of growth, Suta wants to venture into menswear and kidswear. Currently, they are launching a fresh range of clothes thrice or even four times a month. The saris are typically priced between Rs 2,500 and Rs 3,500.

Sisterhood: The power of two

“Our saris are essentially for young women may be college students and young office goers. We do see that young women are very confident about sporting saris these days and they wear the garment with elan, especially the handloom ones,” Sujata added.

What advice do they have for young entrepreneurs who want to get into the clothing business?

Sujata’s quick points: “Test the market first. Like we test grounds very well with exhibitions first before setting up stores. Keep initial costs low and make an impact with your brand.”

And how do they deal with sibling rivalry? Do they fight?

“No” said Sujata. “We may fight over small things, but when it comes to business – our unity is rock solid.”