Join us in an exclusive interview with Ilamra, where the keys to their success are unveiled. Delve into the nuances of the online entrepreneurial world and explore the journey that positions Ilamra at the forefront of e-commerce innovation.
1. Can you introduce yourself and Ilamra?
The word ILAMRA is an amalgamation of three Sanskrit words, ILA- Earth AMRA- Mango Tree RA- The Sun. The name reminds us of one of our most profound childhood memories.
We are sisters- Yashila and Trishala who run the brand. The brand is a byproduct of our thoughts from childhood, people we meet, places we visit, experiences that change our lives, culture that keeps us rooted and a country that reminds us of the diversity in beauty and beauty in diversity. We started initially with an insane amount of dreams in our head, faith in the future and a tiny wish to change the world. We started off as a clothing brand- reinventing the craft of Kalamkari and now as we turned two years, we are proud and thrilled to also have launched an in-house independent magazine- POWER. We hope POWER by I L A M R A, becomes a reference point to powerful thoughts and profound reflections, beautiful days and world-changing beliefs.
We both have a degree in engineering but have always been inclined towards nature, fashion and arts since we were kids.
Trishala – All-time favourite hobbies include reading, writing and painting. At the moment, it is catching up on movies and series.
Yashila – All-time favourite hobbies include long walks in nature, writing, making a meal for the family and reading. At the moment, it is learning to play Island in the Sun on the ukulele.
2. What makes Ilamra different? Can you explain your products with details?
When we call ourselves sustainable, we do everything in our capacity to stick to it.
BEHIND THE SCENE BRAND VALUES WE ARE PROUD OF!
1. As a first step in bringing our vision to reality, we have collaborated with a non-profit the organisation, 1M1B, and partnered with 50 artisans from the rural community at Pedana, Andhra Pradesh to bring back to life the fading art of ‘Kalamkari’.
2. After some speculation after our research trips, we have zeroed in on the unit we are working with now as the fields they source cotton from uses sustainable agricultural methods like drip irrigation, rain-water harvesting pits and the use of bio-fertilisers for plant growth.
3. All our products are printed using vegetable dyes, just the way the Kalamkari craft was practised in the earlier times and before screen printed bright Kalamkari products flooded the markets.
4. After multiple iterations of our working model in the past two years, we have finally figured out one that helps us the radius of local resourcing as low as possible. Our entire production is done within a 350 km radius and manufacturing is done in less than a 5 km radius.
5. We restrict our fabric sourcing to a maximum of 3 times a month and collect it via passenger buses that travel to and fro to Hyderabad from Pedana, Andhra Pradesh, the village where our fabric gets printed, to limit our carbon footprint levels.
6. Every print we have developed is an impression of a profound memory or inspiration in our lives, which has helped us reinvent the craft in a whole new way and give it a fresh lease of life.
7. Every product that is shipped by us is wrapped in grocery bags. We are huge on the repurposing of plastics wherever we can and we compensate for the outside packaging with a little handwritten note on the inside.
8. Considering the rhythms of sustainability and nature (a metre of hand block printed fabric with natural dyes takes 21-26 days), we set a cap on our orders made per month, as we believe that the essence of being sustainable lies in a more holistic approach to production that takes into consideration the impact it’s going to have on the environment around it.
9. Our artisanal unit in the village consists of third-generation artisans who are in the business because of pure passion and love for the craft. To keep this intact, we strictly ensure fair wages to each artisan working on our products by never negotiating with their prices & ensuring timely payments.
3. What reactions do you get from your clients? Do they love your products?
4. What are the advantages of Ilamra?
We believe the imperfections in print positioning and colour are as idiosyncratic as the imperfections each one of you possess, which makes every piece of clothing you purchase as unique as you.
All our fabrics are hand block printed with natural dyes. A fabric of length 3 metres (typically equal to one dress) is meticulously worked upon by a team of workers for an entire day, just for you. No two fabric swatches even from the same batch look alike. The print positioning gives you a tiny glimpse of the mind of the craftsman behind it. The colour of the print is remarkable as it encompasses the mood and flow of the river. The products at I L A M R A are locally sourced and are handmade by skilled craftsmen, and hence each piece is as unique as the person wearing it.
5. What do you consider important in your work?
Making an impact is very important to the work we do as we are passionate about the environment. Our work should be a part of the solution than the problem, by which we mean, if a customer chooses to buy 1 piece of ILAMRA instead of 10 fast fashion garments, we would consider a huge part of our job done.