Name of the Store Chotee at Bangalore Local Store Origin Bangalore Designer/Founder Jaya Rawat Launched 2014 Style Spunky headbands and accessories in impeccable colour combinations and shapes Price Starts from INR 100 and goes up to INR 400
If there’s something you can say about Chotee, it’s a cute happy brand that just looks good and spreads cheer. Chotee makes impeccable hair accessories and jewellery for the young and young-at-heart. Entwined within their delicate cuts and intriguing folds are also the stories of empowering the underprivileged women who make them.
We caught up with Jaya Rawat, social entrepreneur and founder of Chotee, to find out more about what goes behind the making of those cute-little things and her start-up journey.
A land of spunky little hair accessories and more
Chotee literally means ‘tied hair’ in Hindi, and Jaya does make a lot of spunky little hair accessories like tiara hair bands, snowflake clips, floral barrettes, birdy/pinwheel tictacs—but that’s not all you will find at her store. Look around and you can find some interesting neck pieces, wrist bands or the ever-popular feltease—a multi-purpose contraption that you can use as a belt, tiara and also as a headband.
“I’ve been making hand-crafted stuff for over 4 years now”
We asked Jaya how she started her venture. “I’ve been making hand-crafted stuff as a hobby for over 3-4 years now, and have dabbled with beading, paper-craft, quilling to now to a whole lot of stuff made out of felt for Chotee. Over the years, I realized that I needed to do something more organized and take my hobby to the next level—that’s when Chotee came into picture. I launched in March 2014 and have been doing this full-time since then.” Says Jaya.
Chotee- empowering underprivileged women on the way
Chotee has been a journey of self-discovery and social upliftment for the women who work with Jaya. Jaya teaches underprivileged women the process of making those wonderful little pieces from scratch. From being dependent on the patriarch breadwinner of the family, to being able to have a fair income of their own— their lives have gone through a tremendous change.
It’s all in the details
A lot of labour of love goes into it as each piece is intricately designed and handcrafted. The focus is not just on creating pretty-looking products but ensuring that they are durable and comfortable for use. “A lot of things being sold in the market look nice only from far but my products have lot of detailing in them and look great when seen closely as well. I work hard on every single product I’ve made to get that wow kind of experience,” says Jaya and her face lights up as she goes on sharing the details with us.
Made with 100% felt
Intrigued by the use of felt in all the accessories, we ask Jaya the reason for preferring felt over plastic or beads, which are commonly used in making accessories. “Felt has a very nice texture to it and it’s eco-friendly. It’s fairly sturdy and can even stand rain, so it can be washed/wiped clean. It doesn’t hurt in any way and very easy to use as you can easily adjust it to size and it’s so light-weight.”
“Starting this venture is the best and worst thing I have done to myself”
“Starting this venture is the best and worst thing I have done to myself. I quit my corporate job and am doing this. It’s very challenging as you’ve to wear many hats – juggling between multiple things, ideating, designing, marketing, branding, pricing, managing cash flow and ensuring quality.” Entrepreneurship is a calling and is not just about money. It’s a journey into growth and self-discovery with its own ups and downs. “It’s pretty tiring but very exciting as well because I get to call the shots.” We couldn’t agree with Jaya more.
Also read about our other featured store—The Sewing Machine.