Keshsa and Shivani
I am Keshsa Vasant and my partner Shivani Patel, together we started Arture in November 2015. Arture was started with the aim of providing good alternatives to leather. A common problem that a lot of conscious buyers was the lack of sustainable, eco options that are durable.
Stemmed from the love for art and nature, Arture was born to bring to light a fashion accessory that is eco-friendly and vegan. With colour schemes that reflect the theme of Earth and Mother Nature; the look and feel that literally brings you one step closer to your roots, the vision and mission of the brand is choosing a life over luxury – fashion does not have to come at the price of a life. Arture aims at giving you the whole package – a stylish and fashionable accessory brand for men, women and also unisex, but with the bonus of being totally organic and totally ethical.
NV – Was it always your dream to become a designer and an entrepreneur?
Shivani : I always had an inclination towards design, from the time I was a kid. That’s what led me to join NIFT, and I was particularly interested in accessories. By the end of my four years, I was sure that I wanted to start a brand that I could proudly call my own.
Keshsa: Well, when I was young lot of people asked me if I was going join my dad in his business and I always answered saying no. I did not want to join him because I always knew I wanted to do something on my own, something that I was passionate about and something that would make me get up in the morning and say yes I can do this! Being an entrepreneur was probably in my blood because i come from a family of entrepreneurs where everyone is doing their own thing.
NV – Was it an easy decision to start your own brand?
Shivani : It was definitely a scary decision, but I can’t say that I doubted it for even one second. It came as a natural move for me and I had a lot of support from my friends and family. It’s their belief in me that pushed me and gave me the courage to put myself out there.
Keshsa: Yes and No. Yes, because I had the support from my family who always encouraged me to think outside the box and do something on my own. There was also this urge in me to find something to do on my own. I found an amazing partner, something I was passionate about so it was easy. No, because I was enjoying the place I was working for before I started Arture. I had a lot of learning experience and some wonderful people I was working for, so leaving them was the hard part. Sometimes being your boss is not the easiest thing.
NV - What/who inspired you to take up this field?
Shivani : My dad’s background in the leather industry is what gave me a lot of exposure from the time I was young. All my summer vacations spent at his factory led me to be very interested in accessories, and I learned too much by just being there. That’s how I ended up studying accessory design. The world is growing to be more sustainable and conscious, and that entire shift in mindsets is very beautiful to see happening. That was what made me move away from leather and start looking for more sustainable alternatives. Once I found cork, there was no looking back.
Keshsa: Before the thought of co-finding Arture, I only knew I wanted to start something on my own just wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. I happened to re-connect with Shivani after several years and we started talking. My conversation with her inspired me to take up this field. My crazy love for bags just made it easier to jump in.
NV – On your way to becoming a brand, did you face any hurdles/difficulties? Please tell us about your journey
Shivani: Funding is always a hurdle when it comes to starting up your own brand. That was Arture’s challenge as well. I knew I wanted to do this, so I decided to crowdfund Arture. That was one of the most wonderful learning experiences that I have had and I’m so glad to have made that decision. It helped kickstart Arture, and also helped me find my co-founder in Keshsa, so I am very thankful for it. Post that, we have had a wonderful journey with Arture and our complementary skill-sets really adds value to the brand. We do face challenges along the way, but that’s just what makes it even more exciting.
Keshsa: Working for somebody and working for yourself is completely two ball games. Starting Arture was different from working for somebody else. Taking some very important decisions is sometimes a risk because any small step could bring the brand down. Each step has to be taken with a lot of caution. Also, the difficulty of limited financial resource just makes it sometime difficult. But hey! Limited resources gives birth to creativity and innovation. Each day is different and the thought of overcoming each of these challenges is a fun exercise in itself.
NV – Reaching this point in your career, are you happy?
Shivani : I am definitely happy, but I have a long way to go. I have a lot of plans for Arture which I hope to be able to execute in the near future. I also have a lot of personal aspirations. All of it keeps me going. 🙂
Keshsa: Of Course, I am super happy. It always feels good to have a few accomplishments. This is probably just the start.