IT MAY be called Outhouse, but Kaabia and Sasha Grewal’s avant garde jewellery design enterprise is very much an in-house affair. The sisters-turned-business-partners, who launched their bauble label in 2012 at Lakme Fashion Week, credit their real estate entrepreneur and hotelier dad with being their driving force and their jewellery-loving mom for instilling in them a fascination for Punjabi maang tikkas and jhoomars, and an appreciation for all things beautiful. And while the Ludhiana girls have since moved on from gawking at the opulence of traditional Indian jewels and gone on to create a whole new contemporary paradigm with their luxury fashion accessory line — even opening stores in Delhi, Bangalore and, most recently, Mumbai — talk of home is not far behind.
At their newly opened Bandra store, which wears their signature brand colours — salmon pink and grey, with accents of brass — Sasha talks about how they want their customers “to feel like they are walking into a luxurious living room which has a warm and comfortable feel, at the same time providing an unforgettable shopping experience”. An experience that has been a few years in the making, she admits. “We’ve always felt a deep connection with the city as we showcased our very first collection here. And since it’s a very important market for us, we wanted to make sure that we found the right location, where people would find it easy to walk in and explore,” says Sasha. While their bridge jewellery line has often been called bold, audacious and experimental, the store itself wears a distinct vintage vibe channelling the colonial-influenced architecture of Mumbai with its oakwood and wicker weave and terrazzo flooring.
The designer duo wanted their band’s synergy with the city to be palpable and visible. Sasha (29) and Kaabia (30), who come armed with training in industrial design from the Indian Institute of Gems & Jewellery, Delhi, and in gemology from the Gemological Institute of America, New York, respectively, have seen the market for their craft grow slowly yet steadily over the years.
The sisters, who primarily work with brass and love to experiment with stones such as onyx, lapis, rose quartz, Swarovski crystals, even enamelling, admit that the market space for a conceptual bridge jewellery brand is still limited. “When we started out there were kundan vendors aplenty, but nothing creative, dramatic and contemporary. People would ask us about the return value of our jewellery. So, for two years we chose to focus on our creativity and improving the quality of our craftsmanship,” recalls Sasha.
The patience has paid off with social media opening up newer avenues of interaction and marketing. “People are travelling more and becoming aware. Tier II cities may still have a long way to go but women in the metros are open to experimenting,” says Sasha. Having a considerable celebrity clientele, including the likes of Sonam Kapoor, Deepika Padukone, Kangna Ranaut and Priyanka Chopra, also helps increase sales.
The sisters, who have hitherto retailed their jewellery through online portals like Perniaspopupshop, Aza and Carma Online, are set to launch their own website soon. Expansion plans include spreading their wings to markets like Paris and Los Angeles. Looks like the Outhouse girls are literally going all out to make it big in the luxury fashion accessories market.