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Premium / high-end, conscious luxury brands catering to a niche, more discerning market


Sell slow living + higher order values by elevating art, craft, and focusing on mastery


Most likely to take pride in building a global brand from India


Create an evolved brand universe that does right by artisans and planet


Contemporising craft to offer unique, never-seen-before products + experiences


Associated with prestige, sophistication, and cultural capital; priced at a 5 - 10x premium


Offline experience centres key to propagating a more holistic brand experience

Design-led brands targeting affluent customers
Mostly self-financed
  • For-profit, lifestyle-focused enterprises

  • Typically associated with 1-2 creative founders or founders from design backgrounds

  • Shows a strong women skew with increasing participation from men

  • 7% support 500+ artisans — not always tiny in scale

  • 1 in 10 enterprises likely to have a turnover over ₹4 crore ($500,000)

  • Recent acquisitions by retail conglomerates demonstrate their significant potential

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Business Hardships

  • Insufficient ease of doing business in India given the complexity, corruption, and high costs

  • Struggle to show transparency across the supply chain

  • Find it hard to navigate international markets and understand global tastes

  • Lack the vision, mindset and drive to build aspirational 'Indian' brands, often preferring to play the role of back-end operators supplying to others

Financial Roadblocks

  • Tough to find the right investment fit as craft not typically on VC radar and holistic business models take time to scale

  • Difficult to find investors willing to back creativity, culture, and “Pride of India” story

  • Hard to find investors willing to have a 10-year investment time horizon instead of the prevailing 3 / 5 / 7 years 

  • Investors' expectations around scale have been skewed by what’s possible with tech startups (these are misaligned to the needs of craft businesses, which take longer to scale)

  • Lack a ready reckoner for whom to reach out to for investment (region, craft, instrument)

“India still suffers from the inferiority of being a colonised nation. We do exceptional work, have great products, quality, design but have it engraved in our psyche that we are a trading nation. It’s easier to be an exporter for an H&M than to become an H&M.”


Building a high-end, experiential, offline brand takes time and money. As does doing right by artisans while ensuring consumers receive a higher quality product and experience. Lifestyle Curators' growth / scale trajectory cannot be compared with that of a tech startup. However, if done right, they are well-positioned to achieve a high degree of profitability and influence.

“We struggle to find funds for building infrastructure and buying machinery. We wish to work with new artisan communities but do not have the necessary means to invest in engaging with these artisans and develop prototypes with them.”



Design Distinction
Brand & Marketing
Market Connections
Working Capital
Offline Retail
Customer Acquisition
Government Schemes
  • Not relevant in most instances when building premium, lifestyle brands for affluent consumers

  • Founders of these enterprises typically belong to a more privileged “white collar” cohort of Indians where the tendency is to avoid engaging with the government

  • Experiences or the perception of relying on government schemes is that these will be corrupt, complicated or not worth the hassle

  • Disinclined to fund businesses until they have already proven they are viable entities

  • Demand collateral which most HCM founders are unwilling to provide since it is either non-existent or personal

PE / VC Investors
  • Do not have sector specific portfolios, tend to view craft as poor investment

  • Find Lifestyle Curators too niche (which they are but the premium ensures high value and global market potential)

  • Cannot always offer the right market linkages and support needed for a premium HCM to scale

  • Offer equity with too many strings attached; terms and conditions that accompany capital investment not palatable and Lifestyle Curators are fiercely protective of their brand identity

  • Offer very short time horizons, expect quick turnarounds

Institutional Investors
  • Inaccessible, due to lack of networks unless designer has an established pedigree

  • Only interested in large ticket sizes

Impact Investors
  • Do not find “Lifestyle Curators” impactful enough; their potential to drive livelihoods at scale in the CMH sector is seen as small

Patient, Mission-Aligned with Long-Term Horizons

  • Helps brands to create an experiential offline presence and leverage marketing to communicate brand USP

  • Enables HCMs to build market linkages and invest in professional hires, certifications and quality assurance, as well as CRM and ERP systems

  • Allows HCMs to diversify and build multiple revenue streams, bring in more skilled artisans, support more livelihoods

  •  Supports HCMs with building out a strong brand vision and growth story

  • Offers HCMs flexibility to successfully build global brands and thereby influence economic and export markers + "Make in India' narrative

Capital for Creativity

  • Allows HCMs to enhance creative output

  • Enables HCMs to develop and streamline product-market fit by investing in good design, brand and marketing

  • Empowers HCMs to take greater risk, innovate and experiment with product and process

Collateral Free, Low-Interest Debt

  • Helps HCMs to address working capital challenges to build a strong and steady revenue stream

  • Enables HCMs to invest in raw materials and enhance capacity to hold stock

Non-Financial Support

  • Enables HCMs to identify and access networks (especially accelerators and incubators)

  • Helps HCMs to build strategic partnerships and help sharpen focus, plan, and vision

  • Allows HCMs to build a clear and detailed business plan, have clarity around how to calculate capital requirements and its use, outline milestones, and acquire skills to communicate expectations clearly to the investor 

  • Enables HCMs to access mission-aligned guidance, build a better story, and become investment-ready

“The idea is to take traditional know-how, technique and material, and use it in a way which is more relevant to current design needs, pushing artisans to attempt new ways of working and move away from their comfort zone.

Investing in R&D will help artisans in overcoming their fear of failure because they will be compensated well to experiment and encouraged to fail. Funding would help us set up stronger backend workshops where we can have all our artisans working full time for us and train them to reach a high level of quality and precision.”


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