Kartik Kraft Vision Studio
On a Fashion Insiders trip to India, I was invited to visit Kartik Kraft Vision Design Studio, located in the charming Pitampura district of the Indian capital.
Sanjeev Goel, the owner of Kartik Kraft, warmly greeted me with a customary offer of tea.
His company was established in 2003 and specialises in high-end handbags – mostly evening clutches, a large selection of which were displayed in the office.
Kartik Kraft also makes leather bags, macramé bags, and printed beach bags, as well as scarves, belts & other leather accessories.
Sanjeev showed me around the factory’s space – the two large airy rooms that currently host around 12 employees.
The team comprises highly skilled artisans and designer graduates from India’s best fashion schools such as National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) and National Institute of Design (NID).
Kartik Kraft is constantly developing new ideas and manufacturing innovative products to keep up with the latest fashion trends.
Materials used include but are not limited to: silk, viscose, canvas, cotton, imitation jewellery, and leather. Tie-dye, any kind of embellishment, leather laser cut – anything is possible, just enquire, says the owner.
All sampling and production are done on the premises, so every manufacturing stage is closely monitored and controlled. Only reputable mills and tanneries in Delhi and other parts of India are used for fabric and leather dye.
Currently, the company is expanding to footwear: ladies shoes and sandals. Each pair is made using only genuine leather.
I ask about quality control, an area that worries many young designers with little experience in producing abroad.
Sanjeev tells me that strict QC is achieved by thorough inspections at every production stage: from raw material procurement and pre-production sampling to final inspections.
He mentions that many overseas companies use Inspection Houses, third-party quality control companies. They make sure all international norms and quality standards are achieved before a shipment from India. If necessary, Kartik Kraft can arrange this service for designers, for extra peace of mind.
Sanjeev’s factory differentiates itself through quick turnaround time, with emphasis on high quality and competitive prices.
We discuss my experience of working with young designers in the UK.
I recall that after making initial samples, some designers then choose to send out these samples to other factories to try and get a slightly cheaper price. However, very often they get different/reduced quality, then panic and try to get back to the first factory that had made them the sample, only to find out all production slots filled up. It’s the same story over here, and Sanjeev also points out that showing designs to so many factories puts it at higher risk of being copied.
So, here is our joint advice: once you are happy with a sample, stick to the factory that has made it for you.
Another point we agree on: in general, in fashion manufacturing, samples cost more to produce because of the amount of work that goes into creating a prototype. Designers shouldn’t be expecting samples to be done for free, as often is asked from factories.
Kartik Kraft doesn’t turn down low minimums, with 50 pieces per style being their average lowest order. They are willing to work with startups and designers who want to develop just samples. Ideally, though, they want to find long-term partners.
Products are supplied primarily to high-end boutiques and stores in USA, Canada, Italy, France, UK, and Australia.
I ask what customers they are most proud of, and Sanjeev says “the Japanese,” without hesitation
The Japanese are known for their attention to detail, and hardest quality control requirements and Sanjeev is rightfully proud of this achievement.
What has made Kartik Kraft successful is a combination of reasonable pricing and quality workmanship? Costs are kept low because everything is done in-house, without outsourcing any work.
Personally, I was also very impressed by Kartik Kraft’s current website, which is in starkly positive contrast with many other manufacturers’ web pages.
Despite a lot of competition in the area of handbag manufacturing – including from China and Bangladesh – I believe Kartik Kraft is on the right track to keep growing.
Thank you for the tour and hospitality, Sanjeev.
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