Read about how the quest for high quality socks with quirky designs led Jaipur’s Kapil Garg to launch his own start up, ‘Thela Gaadi’, which is now a popular haunt for accessories among the youth. In an exclusive chat with All About Jaipur, he highlights how the seeds of the brand were sown, the challenges he faced and what lies ahead.
OF QUIRKY SOCKS AND NOSTALGIA
“Ever since I was a child I loved wearing colours. It complemented my aura of being a happy-go-lucky, chubby kid”, recalls Kapil Garg, the founder of the popular accessory brand ‘Thela Gaadi’. For someone who has always been fond of colours, the mundane black, white and grey hues of the corporate dress etiquette left him feeling quite blue.
Quest for Quirky & Quality Socks
“One day I was looking at my shirt, my pant and then peeped into my shoes and found those grey socks looking at me sadly. And then I thought why my socks cannot be fun and colourful? So I started searching for some quirky and interesting socks both online and at physical markets and shops but unfortunately (or fortunately), I could not get the colours, prints and designs. After almost a year, in 2017, I went for a holiday to Thailand and while visiting a local market I spotted just the kind of socks I was looking for. I immediately grabbed them and started wearing them to my office. The intriguing colours of the socks made me stand out from the crowd and grabbed everyone’s attention. But more than anything else it was a reflection of my funny, carefree and happy persona. However, that happiness was quite short-lived as those socks were made out of a flimsy material and did not last me long”, shares Kapil while talking about how the seed for Thela Gaadi was sown.
After working at several start ups and corporates, Kapil decided to establish his own start up and founded India’s first integrated accessory platform – Thela Gaadi. The next obvious question is of course, why call it Thela Gaadi? “I was always fascinated by the small shops and thela walaas selling colourful trinkets in fairs and festivals. So I have just brought back the good old thelas with modern and useful products”, shares Kapil. The venture, targeted mainly towards men and women in the age group between 18 and 35, initially started with socks in designs based on cartoon characters and nostalgic themes of childhood like Tom & Jerry, Scooby Doo, Dexter’s Laboratory, among others. Looking at the demand, they also diversified into other accessories like tote bags, eye masks, boxers, handkerchiefs etc.
Designing an Experience
Ask the young entrepreneur what challenges he faced in starting a unique venture like this and he says: “Designing was the most complex part of our product as we started with socks which are knitted and not printed. So we prototyped with several vendors with multiple yarns and different machines so as to achieve the desired output. We focus a lot on quality control and we believe in keeping the defective products with us instead of selling them at cheaper rates or at factory outlets. Retention among consumers is another challenge we face and that is the reason we diversified into other products as well so that people keep coming back to shop from us.”
What makes a brand stand out in today’s times is not just a good product but also the experience it gives to the consumers. Keeping that in mind, the products at Thela Gaadi are packed in a way that it evokes nostalgia right from the word go. The colourful box in which its products are packed to the amusing note and bookmarks that come along with the products, definitely ensure a fun-filled experience for the one opening the package. In future, an offline store is also on the cards.
An Active Community for Startups would help
“A startup founder faces several problems – from packaging and designing of products to sampling, compliance and hiring. Each founder solves these problems differently. If there can be an active community wherein founders talk about their problems and solutions, then it will be helpful for the entire startup and entrepreneurial ecosystem of the city”, shares Kapil while talking about the startup culture in Jaipur.
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