By: Shikha Kumar
She speaks with a confidence that belies her age. Ayesha Kapur, 19, in a black dress, chunky bracelet and strands of necklaces as she poses for the camera, says, “I feel I’ve always been an adult. My parents had a ton of expectations from me. There was school, riding and I started acting at a very young age.” She is well-known for the role of a specially abled child in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Black.
She is also the co-founder and face of Ayesha, a contemporary accessories brand that is now present in nearly 20 cities. “It’s been a journey of trial-and-error. Initially, we had a bolder collection but it wasn’t selling too well as we were too quick at bringing global trends home. We realised we had to be well-known to become trendsetters,” she says.
The first outlet of Ayesha was in 2009 in Casablanca, a department store in Pondicherry run by her mother, Jacqueline Kapur. Today, the brand has 30 stores and there are plans to open more outlets.
In their five years, says Jacqueline, they’ve gauged their target audience a fair bit. “It depends on what city you’re in. Siliguri is very fashionable, but what sells there may not sell in Raipur, which has more conservative tastes. In fact, in Raipur we had a hard time with neon, a trend that sold like hot cakes everywhere else,” says Jacqueline.
The inspiration for Ayesha stemmed from the Kapurs’ experiences travelling across the world, and the need to fill the gap in an otherwise sparse Indian accessories market. “While growing up, I felt that there was no place to shop for affordable accessories,” says Ayesha. The desire to cater to a larger market led them to venture into the men’s accessories segment two years ago. Unknown, Ayesha’s menswear section, consists of rugged leather bracelets, chains, sunglasses and key chains.
The duo admits that much of the brand’s success is the result of the understanding of each other’s tastes. “We shop together like friends, but also as a mother and daughter. This translates in fresh perspectives for the brand,” says Ayesha.
Since the past year, Ayesha has been in Mumbai concentrating on her acting career. “I want to return to films as an adult, play a more mature role but work with the right people,” she says.