Bored of the usual accessories? You wish you had something that was simple yet unique and sophisticated; then try out these unique and refreshing handmade creations from Ektaara. Started by 21-year-old Nikita Valsaraj, Ektaara is a brand new addition in the world of fashion accessories that it’s worth taking notice of.
“I started this project, EKTAARA in September 2011. This is my start up enterprise and I have used the medium of social networking to launch my flagship virtual store. This lets me promote different lifestyle products, ranging from alternative jewellery like everyday wear to traditional to chains, bangles, rings, to traditional Indian wear, and having everything in between,” says Nikita.
EKTAARA represents a single star in a boundary-less sky. This is exactly what Nikita had envisioned for her venture – to make EKTAARA a single star, shining brightly in a vast boundary-less sky.
How did it begin?
“I have always been interested in merchandising and public relations. EKTAARA gave me a platform to bring these two together where I could use my public relations and social skills as well as my eye for merchandising for business. I have always enjoyed fashion merchandising, be it for myself, my sister, my mother or my friends. I was always their shopping confidante, as I would accompany them for shopping, giving them my opinion if it looked good on them, choosing the right clothes, jewellery, shoes everything!” quips Nikita.
The catalyst which put shape to such talents was the unsold merchandise at her sister’s salon. This started as an effort to clear certain merchandise like jewellery, baby clothes, kurtas and dresses that Nikita’s sister had on display at her salon – Tranzient, in Bangalore. “On seeing the response from several friends from the social networking site, the idea of expanding this business model came to my mind. Thereafter there was no looking back, and I went on to expand this idea, giving it shape and a formal structure, thereby giving life to EKTAARA,” adds Nikita.
“Since I use a social networking site, I did not have to make any investment on physical evidence, as I got a rent free virtual space to display my products. Thereafter, I successfully partnered with individual designers like IPSA and WOW MOM. Most of the merchandise is bought on a consignment basis, therefore reducing my initial investment,” adds Nikita.
One can buy exclusive handcrafted fun costume jewellery like necklaces, kundan earrings, bracelets and scarves by IPSA and gorgeous woollen and crochet hair clips and bands which resemble the Spanish rose from WOW MOM. While merchandise from IPSA is priced between Rs. 120/- to Rs. 250/-, WOW MOM’s creative, handcrafted hair bands cost between Rs. 150/- to Rs. 350/-.
Nikita sources her merchandise for EKTAARA from different designer and artists across India, giving them a platform to market their products on a larger scale. She is also working on partnering with a company for importing LED t-shirts that are synchronised to different frequencies of sound.
“My future plans is to expand the business, open more stores across India and give small-scale designers more opportunities to showcase their merchandise,” says Nikita.
Nikita mentions that she had to face a number of challenges which still continue till date. “To begin with convincing designers and merchandise manufacturers to give me stock on a consignment basis, or to partner with me and letting me give them a platform to market their products. Secondly, this task was more difficult for me since I was trying to partner with individuals from different parts of the country and each specialising in a different type of art and design. Lastly, the challenge to arouse the user’s interest in EKTAARA, for which I resorted to contests, discounts and free prizes. “
Recently, Nikita conducted a contest on the Ektaara page asking members, “Why you love Ektaara” and she had two prizes for “best answer” and “maximum likes”. The prize included a free haircut at Tranzient for Diwali, if people bought Rs. 1000 or more.
So the next time you feel like picking up new accessories to compliment your wardrobe, sign into Facebook and visit Ektaara to place your order.
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