Pursuing her passion and creativity, taking a risk, and demonstrating that age is just a number at the age of 60. Chitralekha Das, a self-made businesswoman, is one of those individuals who has defied all barriers to forge her own road to success. Chitralekha Das, 60, a grandmother of two, began her entrepreneurial career at that time. Despite this, she did not let it stop her from succeeding as an entrepreneur and seeing her saree company, Sujatra, through its early trials and tribulations.

Meet Chitralekha Das

Chitralekha Das, who was born in 1954 in Agartala (Tripura) to Pratima Das and Bansibadan Das, has always enjoyed designing. While raising her two young children and pursuing a successful teaching career in music, she continued to develop her artistic abilities in other areas, such as painting and jewelry creation. But because she constantly experimented with color, her journey as a saree designer was influenced by the vibrant world of art.

The Logic Behind ‘Sujatra’ Name

The names Sushmita, Sujata, and Chitra are combined to form the name Sujatra. Sujatra was founded by Chitralekha Das, and Sushmita and Sujata are her daughters-in-law. If Su-jatra is broken down, it can also be understood as a lovely (Su) trip (Yatra) of passion.  

Chitralekha Das’ Initial Journey

In India English, a startup in the fiercely competitive women’s wear segment faced its share of challenges with determination and grace. Overcoming obstacles like a shortage of funds, the founder relied on her own savings and enthusiasm to kickstart the venture. With no separate space, her 2 BHK home transformed into a 1 BHK, while her husband, a retired Ministry of Defence Official, took charge of the warehouse and dispatch duties. Securing skilled tailors was a challenge due to the demand for consistent work and a lack of fabric-sourcing connections.

Also Read: Meet World’s Richest Family, Richer Than British Royals, Ambani, Adani, Musk, Gates

To grow the business, the founder turned to exhibitions, where she established valuable relationships with vendors. This experience served as the foundation for entering the e-commerce realm. The brand developed its website and embraced digital marketing techniques to reach a wider audience. Through hard work and perseverance, the startup carved a space for itself in the competitive market.

A Startup With Helping Hand

Sujatra, a company focused on Indian crafts, fabrics, and designs, takes pride in its skilled tailors and artisans. The heart of Sujatra’s work lies in fabric artistry, craftsmanship, embroidery, painting, and tailoring. The products offered by Sujatra showcase intricate Indian paintings such as Kalamkari, Madhubani, and Gond tribal art. Alongside these, the collection also features detailed works like Ikat, Batik, Kutchi mirror work, Indigo, and various other block prints and embroidery designs.

“We truly value the efforts, intricacy, and time put in by our talented artisans. Through our designs, we aim to give their hard work and talent the recognition it deserves. We encourage them to think creatively and outside the box, collaborating to create new and contemporary pieces. Our expertise in the retail market is also shared with them,” shared the founder.

Chitralekha Das, the founder, hopes to inspire not only the artisans’ families but also regular individuals to explore the path of craftsmanship and turn it into a rewarding profession. Additionally, she endeavors to raise awareness among the youth about India’s rich cultural heritage.

Currently, Sujatra operates with a small team of 10 direct employees and collaborates with over 100 skilled tailors, embroidery masters, and painters through contract manufacturing. In its first year, Sujatra achieved a business turnover of Rs 60 lakhs, and now, the company aims to reach Rs 20 crore by FY24.

Chitralekha Das’ story serves as both an inspiration and an example of how passion and belief in one’s work can lead to success.