Growing up with a father having a transferable job, sisters Taniya and Sujata Biswas were exposed to a variety of different cultures, cuisines, communities and sartorial choices.
This exposure to different cultures and their desire to impact lives eventually led them on a unique journey.
In 2014, while Taniya was working as a consultant and Sujata was a PhD scholar at IIT-Bombay, the sisters decided to brainstorm ideas to start an impact-based venture.
After two years of research, the sisters started a saree brand called Suta, meaning thread.
“Despite having no background in fashion or textiles, both of us felt a strong urge to start a brand that would positively impact the weaver and artisan community and revive the dying art forms of India,” says Sujata.
People would often tell them that sarees were for special occasions or something that elderly women wore during visits to the temple, etc.
“We wanted to change that perception and bring sarees back to everyday life. We started with mulmul sarees, a fine, lightweight and soft cotton muslin,” says Sujata.
Today, the brand has an exquisite range of cotton sarees, in varieties of jamdani weave, mulmul, malkesh and banarasi, among others.
Around 16,000 weavers and artisans work with Suta on a contractual basis, from states like Bihar, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Telangana, Odisha, Kashmir and Tamil Nadu.
When a saree comes with a defect, Suta does not send it back to the inventory. Instead, they either present the defective products in another collection by employing embellishing techniques like block printing and embroidery or they upcycle them.
What started with a vision to help weavers and an investment of Rs 6 lakh is now a happy family of 150 full-time employees and Rs 50 crore of annual revenue.
“There is no other target for us except onboarding more weavers. In addition, we want to work completely with natural fibres in the future and expand our reach with more stores and e-commerce avenues,” says Sujata.