There’s nothing quite like returning home to your furry friends. More than just keeping you company, a pet’s unconditional love helps you psychologically.
Statistics prove that pets reduce cortisol (a stress hormone) and promote heart health and good blood pressure. They also help kids improve their emotional and social skills.
According to industry estimates, India has a pet population of 28+ million, with dogs accounting for the majority of pet ownership. Cat adoption, too, has witnessed an increase and ownership in recent years, owing to their perceived independence and low maintenance.
Pet items, ranging from pet food and packaged goods to branded toys and accessories, are in high demand in India due to the post-lockdown boom in pet ownership and rising consumer awareness.
With increasing demands for good quality, India-made pet supplied, Vama Leathers is standing up to the challenge of supplying the same.
It is based in Kanpur, which is called the leather city of India, and this is where Vama Leathers’ journey started. Founded in 2019, the startup offers pet accessories of the finest quality, crafted by the rural artisans of Kanpur.
Vama Leathers prides itself on its completely India-made manufacturing; with each item carefully handcrafted to ensure the best quality for your pets.
Vartika Vaish and Mani Gupta are partners in life and partner in this business.
Vartika is a bibliophile. She graduated from ISB and Goldman Sachs’ 10000 Women Ambassadors’ “Reimagining Business” Programme. She has also participated in the ‘Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women’ event, 2021 at IIM, Bangalore, and the NSRCEL.
She’s a part of the United Nations Women’s Industry Disruptors. Even after ten years of experience in the hospitality and academic industries, Vartika considers herself an ongoing learner.
Mani Gupta boasts outstanding leadership abilities and a solid grasp of the corporate world.
With the success of Vama Leathers, he recently decided to assist his wife, Vartika, in streamlining the production unit’s operations and implementing six-sigma quality standards.
He has 14 years of experience working in a bank’s Treasury department, where he was responsible for global markets.
The founder couple had worked in corporate jobs for 12 years, but they wanted to delve into business. During their visit to Kanpur in 2018, they discovered a business potential in the unorganized but brilliant workers there.
So far, India had only seen imported items in the pet accessories category, and it was predicted that the pet business in India will explode in the future years. Therefore, Vartika and Mani knew they had found the jackpot.
They conducted market research in Bangalore and Mumbai for half a year to investigate the pet industry, and the results were positive. Their idea stuck with people, and they received their first large purchase from a shop during market research.
The Nitty-Gritty of Vama
There is a scarcity of Indian-made pet accessories in the Indian market; about 90% of goods are imported from China.
The founders saw that the quality of the products created in India was poor. Hence began the journey of making robust and durable pet accessories such as dog collars, leashes, harnesses, and toys.
The founders are inspired by the government’s Made In India Initiative, and it is reflected in their work. Still, in its nascent phase, Vama Leathers prioritizes sourcing and making its materials and products in India. It strives to provide affordable and high-quality accessories to pet lovers across the country.
Vama Leathers accessories are handcrafted. According to the startup, stitching by hand provides strength and class that machines cannot provide.
But stitching by hand is becoming a dying craft, so Vama Leathers works hard to preserve it. Stitching by hand provides a much different feel to fabrics than automated stitching.
As part of Atma Nirbhar Bharat, Vama Leathers is establishing a brand recognized for high-quality pet accessories made in India while also boosting the income of the rural artisans in Uttar Pradesh.
The company offers leashes, harnesses, collars, bedding, and training accessories for pets. They cater to all sizes. Customers can choose from various materials such as natural leather, natural cotton, and synthetic fibers.
Currently, the startup is working on improving its product designs and has filed a patent for them.
Challenges And Plans
Vama Leathers takes on challenges as part of the fun. According to the founders, the first problem it faced was the pandemic. Vama Leathers works in the B2B market, but many retailers closed due to the pandemic, so it switched to B2C. The transformation has not yet been completed.
The startup also established its website and began using Facebook and Instagram to reach wider audience.
In the last three years since its foundation, Vama Leathers has shown significant product sales and growth. After the nationwide lockdown was imposed in March 2019, sales took a hit. However, the company has bounced back ever since, increasing sales in 2021.
Its long-term goals are to develop a worldwide presence and establish itself as a global brand. Its future plans include making products for the horse-riding community and perfecting its new B2C model. The company also wants to focus on women’s empowerment in the workplace.
From the company itself:
“Keep trying, keep learning and keep growing, because from trying, we will either achieve success or learn a lesson. Either way, we get something in return.”
From helping you take better care of your furry friends to helping rural artisans grow, let’s hope to see Vama Leathers flourish in the future.