Published: 20th April 2021
Why this former interior designer quit his job to start a sustainable clothing line for babies
We speak to Arun Kumar, founder of eco-friendly baby clothing brand Ambaram about how he began and took the business online
After quitting his interior design job in 2015, Arun Kumar moved back home to Madurai. It was there that he stumbled upon a pillowcase filled with old baby clothes. These were made of pure cotton and it was unlike anything Arun had seen in the market. "I asked my mother about them and she informed me that those clothes belonged to my sister, Poonmani, and me," recalls Arun. Such was the quality that the clothes survived all these years and could still be used. This gave him an idea and soon he launched his own start-up, Ambaram, to source pure cotton and handloom fabric and tailor them into clothes for babies and toddlers.
Founded in 2016, Ambaram had very humble beginnings. "My sister, who had studied fashion designing, and I began by selling the clothes — meant only for babies in their first year — to our family members and friends who had just welcomed a new member. It was only later that we decided to move online and also sell through organic stores and social media in 2019," says Arun. Ambaram range of clothing includes unisex jablas, bibs and nappies.
Arun with his sister Poonmani | Pic: Ambaram
Arun says that he sources the fabric from weavers in Erode. "We have collaborated with six weavers from Chennimalai who supply the fabric to make the clothes. My sister made most of the designs before she got married and moved out," says Arun. And it is not just handloom weavers that Arun is empowering. "The stitching is done by five to six local women, who work for us part-time. They are homemakers and working for us gives them a source of income," he adds.
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Ambaram has a customer base all over the country. Besides its own website, Ambaram's clothes are also available on various other online marketplaces. Arun explains why it is advantageous to make babies wear handloom clothing. "Other than being eco-friendly, this type of clothing is very suitable for the Indian climate. Moreover, at Ambaram, we are using natural, herbal dyes that won't cause harm to the baby's skin. We also avoid using elastic and zippers to ensure that the child is not harmed in any way," says Arun.
Ambaram has now begun manufacturing clothing for boys and girls up to two years of age. "We have shorts and dhoti pant sets for boys and frocks for girls. Eventually, we have plans to make clothes for kids up to five years," concludes Arun.