Vandana Kalagara founded Keebee Organics in Hyderabad in 2016, later joined by Smruti Rao. Together, they bring the eco-friendly kidswear brand to online shoppers.
Vandana Kalagara and Smruti Rao, both entrepreneurs, are targeting India’s burgeoning kidswear industry.
To Future Sharks:
“We began in 2016 and debuted in 2017. Our online sales of kidswear generate up to Rs 36 lakh in yearly income. We aim for Rs 75 lakh this year.
Vandana worked in the design sector for a few years after NIFT and earned a master’s degree in fashion design from FIDM in the US. After her daughter was born, she took a sabbatical.
“I always adored creating for kids,” Vandana explains. During my hiatus, I did the freelance design. I asked my kid what she wanted to be when she grew up. Her reaction stunned me: “I want to remain home like my granny and me.”Vandana Kalagara
A few days later, Vandana returned to the field. She looked into organic children’s clothing and found it lacking. Thus, Keebee was born in 2016 for kidswear.
Smruti, a fan of her former classmate’s company, co-founded in 2018. A 15 lakh business loan later, they started investing their own money in the company.
Hyderabad-based Keebee goods are made at GOTS-certified factories in Gujarat and Tamil Nadu.
Some of the brand’s woven versions are also GOTS-certified.
Smruti, the business’s manufacturing manager, claims the company just opened a non-GOTS-certified manufacturing facility in Hyderabad.
“But we are studying the manufacturing process and employing GOTS-certified materials. “We are also working on GOTS certification,” she says.
Keebee produces casual, ethnic, and other kidswear for boys and girls up to the age of ten. From Rs 350 to Rs 4,000, Keebee is available.
Keebee’s early days were tough. Vandana had to discover organic cotton sources and GOTS-certified manufacturers on her own as a first-time entrepreneur.
In reality, most GOTS producers seek to export their goods. Smaller orders were rare, even among those who operated domestically, “she explains.
Vandana says she sent hundreds of emails to units around the nation trying to connect, but few answered.
“I ultimately contacted Cotton Eco Fashion, a Gujarat-based readymade clothing producer. They were helpful and started production for us. It’s still a good fit,” she adds.
The future of competition:
The increased disposable income of Indian families, notably dual-income families, has boosted the kidswear industry.
According to ResearchAndMarkets, the Indian kidswear market will be worth $16.62 billion in 2020 and $22.53 billion by 2026.
The entrepreneurs recognise competition in certain kid’s clothing segments.
“Our competition for oneies and nightwear is Greendigo. Today is a tournament for jhablas. We continuously consult with our clients to develop our product ranges. “It keeps us ahead of the game,” Vandana explains.
Keebee, like many other firms, had manufacturing issues during the initial COVID-19 wave and again later. But the co-founders are hopeful.
The firm intends to extend its product range to provide clients with more alternatives in organic clothes.
Once the epidemic has passed, we aim to open physical stores, “Vandana adds.