In this brand spotlight feature, we speak to the energetic Ms Ayesha Kohli, founder of emerging artisan brand Ayesha Cashmere on growing her niche brand in Asia.
Hi Ayesha, please introduce yourself to our readers and tell us about your brand Ayesha Cashmere.
How long has Ayesha Cashmere been in the market?
Since November 2014. So almost two and a half years.
What motivated you to launch the brand?
It’s really my love for textiles, prints and stories that prompted me to start a niche brand focused on premium quality cashmere and story-led prints. I did have a bit of an aha-moment when I observed during my sister’s wedding in India that people were pairing their beautiful and colourful outfits with very beige heirloom shawls! I thought I would change that visual spectrum and create a fine quality product that would be classy and colourful, while retaining traditional aspects of craftsmanship but incorporating a modern design aesthetic.
Why did you name the brand after yourself?
The brand is an authentic representation of me. The product offering reflects my personal design aesthetic and uses a lot of graphic, abstract prints. The brand personality is how I see myself – classic, confident, bold. The brand voice is mine – curious, celebratory, empathetic. So I thought I would use my name “Ayesha”. The word “Cashmere” is a strategic business choice.
I want to be known as a cashmere specialist and so I focus on creating textures and weaves using premium quality cashmere that deliver on my brand promise of softness, lightness and a luxurious feel while ensuring natural, strong and long-lasting weaves.
Share with us what is unique about Ayesha Cashmere
The quality and design elements make an Ayesha Cashmere scarf unique. And after two plus years of being in existence, this is corroborated by feedback from clients. The strong quality aspect is the result of using premium cashmere yarn and leveraging decades of artisanal knowledge to create finely constructed weaves that feel wonderful, breathe naturally, wear well and last long.
Additionally since I collaborate with small local businesses and artisan weavers, an Ayesha Cashmere product also focuses on promoting heritage crafts and fairtrade practices. My designs are modern interpretations of art, history, culture, architecture that are translated into colours, prints, textures and people love the concept stories behind the designs. So it’s this combination of quality and design that makes Ayesha Cashmere unique.
What is your vision for your brand?
To celebrate creativity and collaboration through fashion.
What are your plans for growing your brand?
I am growing my brand slowly and organically. I am in a very niche segment and for me it makes sense to build reputation, strong word of mouth referrals and a very targeted audience reach, rather than scaling in a mass-market approach.
What is coming up in a year or two that we should watch out for?
New markets and new outlets is what I have been focusing on in the past year and will continue to do so. Currently Ayesha Cashmere is available via online platforms and retail outlets to audiences in the US, Australia, Indonesia, Vietnam and Singapore (where I am based).
Discussions are underway for building a partnership in India currently. However, I am particular about who I partner with as it needs to be a fit with my overall brand positioning, so this process takes time. Regarding new product lines, I have been experimenting with jackets specifically, but am yet to commercialise them.
For more info:
Brand Spotlight is a special feature on interesting and growing purpose-driven brands in Asia. If you would to share your unique brand story, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.