With Love For India
A winemaker who works with kiwi farmers in her region. A communications specialist who is creating empowering, feminist rag dolls. An adventure tour specialist who believes in local experiences. An entrepreneur who envisioned and launched an app to help everyone learn Indian languages. Another who brings traditional Maharashtrian fare to dining tables across the world. Our country is replete with visionaries who are working towards empowering local communities and artisans while educating the world about their skills and crafts. Made in India, for the world. In this special issue, we applaud these women who are putting India on the world map...
"India’s products all have a backstory…"
Founder & CEO of Zouk
Raised in a middle-class defence family in non-metro cities across the country, Disha Singh knew there was much she wanted to achieve; she wanted to leave a lasting impression. She believed that developing a brand and establishing a significant business would assist her in accomplishing this. The concept for Zouk came to her during her second year at IIM-Ahmedabad, when she had the opportunity to meet local artisans in Kutch who were creating exquisite handicrafts. She founded Zouk in 2018 after completing her MBA, with a focus on creating elegant and functional goods that showcase Indian handicraft design using only vegan materials. She has been able to train and support over 200 skilled artisans who give Zouk its uniqueness as a Make in India company. Her entrepreneurial zeal is centred around establishing an enduring firm that will be her legacy.
Excerpts from an interview:
“At Zouk, we believe that designs influenced by India have a place. We’ve chosen product categories that used to be dominated by western imitations. We’ve introduced lively Indian culture to the modern world through bags and, recently, footwear. Our proudly Indian products have truly set us apart in these large markets.
“People today look beyond the price of a product. They want meaningful products. They want to be associated with brands that represent something. India’s products all have a backstory. Everything we create is influenced by our cultural background. It involves engineering and technology applications. Today’s India combines generations of heritage with a modern outlook. There is no other nation in the world that can offer these features.
“I am aware that I represent a nation of a billion people. This comes with the responsibility of doing the right thing and properly representing our nation. At Zouk, we take great pride in our rich culture and want that pride to reflect in our products. We showcase today’s India that is modern, aspirational, humble but proud.
“I advise budding entrepreneurs to be tenacious, to give it time. Your early ideas might fail, but you must persevere and try again. Secondly, determine whether you wish to be small or large. You can either create a unicorn company or manage the best coffee shop in your city – both are accomplishments in their own right. And, finally, do not hesitate to seek assistance from friends, family, the elderly, fellow entrepreneurs… You will be amazed by how helpful others can be.”
Also Read: With Love For India: Rukmini Vijayakumar, Bharatanatyam Exponent
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