We always love to feature and promote startups, especially when it’s run by a creative person. Meet Mallika Sharma, founder of The Leather Laundry. Read about her venture below:
I am a postgraduate masters of science in Finance and Investment from the UK. Besides managing affairs at The Leather Laundry, I also chair my family-run export house as the president of the garments division. I am an avid blogger and a voracious reader. I play tennis and love travelling! I am currently pursuing a post-graduate diploma in Human Rights from IIHR Delhi.
I am passionate about causes of women empowerment, gender equality and environmental sustainability! I am also very passionate about creating novel ventures that are exciting and meaningful, precisely why TLL came into being!
The Leather Laundry offers professional cleaning, coloring, repairing and restoration services for everything leather! So we cater to all kinds of leather shoes, leather accessories and leather apparel! The founders of The Leather Laundry have been in the leather industry for 30 solid years. Based out of New Delhi, the parent company (a family enterprise) is one of India’s leading manufacturers and exporters of leather apparel and accessories. Having worked with some of the most coveted brands spanning over several continents, we take pride in claiming that we have the finest technical know-how of leather in the country. TLL is a second-generation initiative that is resolutely committed towards boosting the existing foundation and exploring newer horizons through focus, innovation and creativity. Our dedicated team of expert technicians aims at using environment friendly practices, equipment and processes to ensure the highest quality cleaning.
- Cleaning and Moisturizing:
Recommended procedures of leather cleaning are used to remove stains and soil as well as to replenish vital oils and restore color. Stains are removed in the safest possible way to maintain the look, feel and delicate balance of oil in the animal hide. Moisture content and softness is also restored by applying a special topcoat of rehydrating creams.
- Coloring and Refinishing
Our color-matching experts bring back color and softness that has been lost due to continued use, through the application of refinishing dyes and oils. They also fix non fast colors and restore colors that wear off during the normal cleaning procedure. Our experts also specialize in changing/improving the texture and tone of leather. From minor touch-up and tone correction to recoloring and complete color restoration, we do it all!
- Repairing and Replacement
Our trained tailoring workforce also helps meet the repair needs of your leather apparel and accessories, thus rendering them usable. We carry a huge array of hardware, lining fabrics and leathers (of all possible qualities and colors) on stock. Our skilled craftsmen use high quality thread to provide excellent stitch work that completely blends in with your product.
- Customization services:
Stand apart and celebrate your individuality today!!
Size alternation of garments to get the ideal fit.
Modification of color and quality of lining and hardware as per your liking.
Strap length adjustment of leather bags
Personal monogramming of names, initials, messages etc.
Modification of texture and color of leather as per your liking!
Additional embroidery work/printing.
We however reserve the right to decline special requests if we feel that we cannot achieve a favorable outcome!
- Bespoke Leather jackets:
We also offer made-to-order leather jackets! The process will be as below:
- People will send their deign inspiration or choose from my celebrity closet.
- I will send a stylist and master tailor to their home. The stylist will carry leather swatches, trims and lining fabrics to choose from, the master tailor will take body measurements.
- We will send them mock sketch to give them a chance to make last minute changes.
- We then deliver their bespoke apparel within 10 working days!
My target customer segment is a niche market of educated and discerning consumers who seek quality, believe in reducing wastefulness and practice ethical consumerism! In keeping with this positioning, I have no choice but to cherry-pick my customers! My ideal customers would always place quality over price! They also have to be intelligent enough to understand that we are not a traditional laundry service. The time and skill levels involved in restoring each leather item are very high! It is more like art restoration, where the technician has to work on several elements like stains, loose thread, dirt lining etc. Our services are analogous to that of a surgeon’s, both in terms of time expended and expertise involved. Our prices are thus reflective of the same. My first customers have been a leather brand in Bangalore! They sent out leather gear in bulk quantities to us, and have been quite satisfied with our services! I have had people coming to me with precious leather gear (of high sentimental value) from their grandparents’ times, seeking advise on preservation and restoration techniques.
We are a completely self-funded venture for now! Possibilities of future funding are totally contingent on how I plan to diversify and grow over time! I am playing it by ear!
The key milestones for the next one-year would only be to focus on excellent quality and timely deliveries. We will try to get as much traction as we can in Delhi/NCR and in other metro cities through our brand partners! I have tied up with 3 brands from Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore, who have exclusive rights to market us in their respective cities! I am in dialogue with 2 other brands, and the idea now would be to tie up with, as many brands as possible, so that they can direct all the leather care needs of their customers to us!
Too early to be able to make any kind of projections! I am taking my own sweet time, and want the venture to grow organically (banking heavily on word-of-mouth). We are learning every day and are playing it by ear! Of-course I have certain dreams, goals and milestones for the venture, but I would like to keep them to myself for now!
For me competition has never been a deterrent, or a motivator! In all honesty I have never worried about competition much. I want to effectively package and sell stellar quality service that is timely, courteous and durable! I will not say that the concept is entirely unique/novel! There are several Indian players dabbling with the concept already! I do not want to under-cut competition by indulging in a price war of sorts. The focus area will only and always be “quality”. Since my focus area is narrow and caters to a niche market, it will take us a while to get volumes and break into the market! But it will be totally worth its while! Profit, is not the motive at the moment, building up on a culture of leather-care in India, is.
What propelled us to take up this venture was an enviable experience of 2 and half decades in the leather industry. We already have all the technical know-how, expertise and synergies in place! Also a genuine dearth of professional leather care technicians in India, prompted us to jump in and fill the gap! Being an environmentalist at heart, I also took immediate liking to the concept of a laundry service for leather. Reason being, that by offering to clean, repair and care for leather, we are dissuading people from discarding their leather gear. This reduces wastefulness and conserves the environment (as leather processing entails a lot of water consumption and air pollution). Thus TLL, is also a socially responsible initiative that tacitly reduces the impact of growing consumerism and fast fashion!
We faced a lot of teething troubles at every stage. Even to this day, we are learning and are faced with unexpected challenges from all quarters! It is like playing a sport! I love every bit of it!
Ours is a humble team of 2 technicians, 1 delivery boy, 2 people at the administrative level and last but not the least, myself!
Family and Friends love the idea and swear by the venture and see great potential!
One advice to all future entrepreneurs: Patience and Perseverance
I am making tough decisions every day!
Free pick-up and drop-off in Delhi/NCR
We cater to all major metro cities
Contact: +919711255431, +911122795768
Registered Office: 56-A, Friends Colony East, New Delhi, 110065.
Store address: C-240, Defence Colony, New Delhi, 110024.