469
8 min 55 sec

Singaporean Sells Handcrafted Cashmere Scarves With a Story

A Singapore-based storyteller and lover of textiles earns an extra $40,000 a year selling handcrafted cashmere scarves from Nepal.
International Manufacturing Product Retail

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What It's About

A brand storyteller tells stories through a line of cashmere scarves.

Business Model
Product
Skills Required
Marketing & Resoucefulness
Complexity
Medium
Profit Potential
Medium

Words of Wisdom

So, we feature a lot of side hustlers who end up taking their profits and reinvesting them in their business. But the question is—how much should you reinvest in your business? Overall, it depends, but here are some guidelines:

To start, you shouldn't invest all of your profits. Set aside a percentage and make sure that you invest wisely. In order to make the process even easier, make moving money over to savings and paying yourself automatically.

Fun Fact

The philosophy of Ayesha's stories and designs are called "stories forgotten and familiar," and her goal is to take a story that is old and forgotten and give it a contemporary feel so that it becomes familiar again.

She also works with many heritage crafts techniques and commission craftsmen and women who have decades of experience in traditional screenprinting, weaving, embroidery, block printing. Again the effort here is to bring attention to "forgotten" crafts and make them familiar.

Notes from Chris

Episode 469

Singapore-based Ayesha Kohli runs a communications agency called Sparq Communications. She is a brand storyteller helping companies connect with their customers through content marketing.

She is also the owner of Ayesha Cashmere, where she sells limited edition handcrafted scarves using premium cashmere. And since Ayesha has a passion for storytelling, each scarf’s design is inspired from art, architecture, popular culture, or history.

Ayesha had been collecting different textiles and doing small personal design projects for years. After a trip to Nepal, her husband brought back with him some cashmere shawls for her. He even talked with the manufacturers who said they could print designs on the shawls. So in 2013, she printed 10 long, black scarves with a very simple design that was inspired by Japanese Buddhist iconography—a design that continues to be one of her bestsellers. She gave those first 10 scarves away as gifts to friends and family.

People who saw the scarves loved the feel and design of them and asked where they could buy one. Spurred by the interest, Ayesha went to Nepal later that year to get educated on the manufacturing process. Something that, up until that point, she knew nothing about.

These days she works with manufacturing partners in Nepal to source the finest cashmere yarn and with local artisans who specialize in weaving, dyeing, screen printing, block printing and embroidery. The intricate process involved is why she makes limited quantities of each design.

Ayesha has brought about $40k in revenue each year for the past 3 years, but she reinvests the same amount back into the business. So she hasn’t made any profits, but no losses either.

If you’re like me, you’re probably wondering why she reinvests 100% of her revenue back into the company each year and not pay herself? Here’s why: each year, she spends about $20k on new production and $20k on business expenses including marketing, ads, events, and travel costs. The money she makes that year is invested into next year's inventory and covers her business costs.

She has received orders from all over the world, including Mexico, Dubai, and Tokyo.

What's next for Ayesha Cashmere?

She is collaborating more with artists, illustrators and master craftsmen, which makes her brand positioning more interesting and unique. She is also working on building a distribution network in key cities like London, Paris, New York, Tokyo, and Dubai. Ayesha Cashmere..covering the world in luxury, one neck at a time.


MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

  • Ayesha Cashmere: Check out Ayesha's collection of high-end, cashmere scarves over on her website
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Inspiration is good; inspiration combined with action is better. Now get back to work!

Yours in the revolution,

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Resources

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Quote of the Day
"There are two distinct types of people—those that like floral prints and those that prefer abstract prints. While people may have a mix of patterns, by and large, I normally tend to find that people have a strong preference for one or the other."
—Ayesha Kohli #SideHustleSchool

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To infinity and beyond,

Chris Guillebeau