June 25, 2022

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Anjali Kamra talks about Rungolee clothing line

Rungolee is a “small-batch, global, travel-inspired, women’s ready-to-wear brand,” Kamra said.

ST. LOUIS — Anjali Kamra has used her passions for art and travel to build a women’s clothing line. Rungolee is a “small-batch, global, travel-inspired, women’s ready-to-wear brand,” she says.

Based out of a design workshop added to her home in Ladue, the company has its own manufacturing ateliers in Mumbai and Kolkata, India. The company’s name originates from “rangoli,” intricate Indian artwork.

The now 12-year-old business’s sales were built primarily through trunk shows held across the country. The pandemic pushed Kamra to make changes to Rungolee’s business model, including a more robust e-commerce site.

Rungolee recently added a local staff member and now has four full-time and three part-time workers here, with a team of 20 in Mumbai and 10 in Kolkata. Kamra currently is seeking a hybrid space to relocate the business from her home that would accommodate retail, design and fulfillment as well as pop-ups and community events.

What’s been Rungolee’s business model? It works through three different sales channels. Before the pandemic, 75% of our business was really trunk shows around the country – it’s like the whole champagne-and-shopping circuit – 15% was e-commerce and about 10% was wholesale to boutiques. While we had always wanted to pursue the digital model, we were so busy and doing so well with the trunk show models that we had put it on the back burner. And the pandemic literally just forced us to rework our entire model.

What changes did you make? The most important thing we did was we completely revamped our website. We hired a team, started from scratch and we built a much more beautiful, easier to shop platform and migrated to Shopify, which integrates much more cohesively with Facebook and advertising and also greatly improves the e-commerce shopping experience for the customer. We hired a marketing team out of Seattle, and we really made a huge push on our marketing with Facebook and Instagram ad buys. We’ve seen an amazing ROI on our marketing spend as a result of all the work that we did. We also hired Blish Connor out of Kansas City to help us connect with the right influencers. We signed up with a rewardStyle (an influencer marketing platform) to sell to influencer groups.

We also diversified our supply chain, from sourcing all the way to fabrication. We added a new atelier in Kolkata, which is the city that I grew up in, to take advantage of the talent, the artisans, the rich textiles history of the area, as well as cheaper costs of space in Kolkata versus Mumbai, where I have my original atelier. And this has helped us with upping production and having more unique fabrics as well.

How would you characterize the Rungolee line? The line is very versatile and we try to make it as season-less as possible. We create small-batch pieces that are unique and easy to wear, so you can dress it down during the day and dress it up at night. The age range for this line is anywhere from 30 to 65 and above. The price point is between $124 to $400 for an embroidered blouse and about $400 to $450 for a long silk dress or an embroidered jacket. So it’s an accessible price point because we own our own atelier. All of our prints are exclusive to us, we’re not licensing the prints or buying them from anyone. Our projections this year are at least a 50% growth over 2019, which was a very good year for us. 

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