2021 has been a year full of positive changes for LUKH! We’ve launched a new clothing collection, and even created a new team. This year, we’ve welcomed several new team members to LUKH. Currently, we are a small but mighty team of 7 women who come from diverse backgrounds. For you to get to know our team better, check out some of their hobbies and their experiences with LUKH so far!
Karen Desai: CEO & Co-Founder
Favorite Hobbies: Travel, Hiking, Orange Theory, & Running with my dog
Fun Fact: I’ve visited 34 countries and hope to visit all the continents by the time I’m 35 years old.
What inspired you to start LUKH? In 2018, I was planning a very traditional 4-day Indian wedding. I first hand saw how challenging it was for my friends and family who are not Indian to find the appropriate attire. The options for Indian outfits in the US are limited unless people are willing to go to little Indias like Edison, New Jersey, or Devon Street in Chicago. Even there, styles are outdated and overpriced. Naturally, a lot of guests were feeling a lot of frustration and wished that they had more ideas of where to go and what to wear.
As a result, I ended up offering to buy outfits for many of my wedding guests. When I went to India to buy my bridal wear, I ended up coming back with over six suitcases of over 45 outfits for my bridesmaids and friends. Indian weddings are three to four days long, so a single guest requires 2-3 dresses. I felt that the Indian shopping experience was incredibly frustrating.
As an Indian-American in my late 20s, none of us like to outfit repeat dresses to events. And I questioned why all of us millennials were relying on our mothers to buy clothes for us when they traveled to India. I thought that if “Rent the Runway” exists for American clothes, why doesn’t this concept exist for Indian fashion, or ethnic wear in general? So I took a leap of faith and decided to pursue this concept!
Alisha Daga: CFO
Favorite Hobbies: Outdoor activities (hiking, kayaking, tennis), bingeing new shows, trying new fitness classes
Fun Fact: I have my black belt in tae kwon do!
Tell us about your experience from the Northwestern VentureCat Challenge Competition. It was an incredible experience to participate in Northwestern’s annual start-up competition - VentureCat. Leading up the day, we had the opportunity to network and learn from leaders in the Venture Capital and Entrepreneurship industry. We were provided with so many mentors and touchpoints to help us feel prepared going into the competition. On the day of the competition, nerves were running high but we knew we had prepared well. We got some challenging questions on the business but it was a great learning experience to understand where investors are focused and to get more practice pitching. We were so excited to place first place in our track B2C and win the audience favorite vote! Overall, it was an incredible experience!
Purvi Vyas: Director of Confidence
Favorite Hobbies: Teaching spin classes, being a dog mom and exploring new breweries
Fun Fact: My favorite taco bell sauce is the fire and hot sauce mixed together. If you ever need some, I always got some hot sauce in bag
What has been your most memorable project while working for LUKH so far? My most memorable project while at LUKH has been helping launch our new collection. From helping plan the photoshoot, finding the models and updating the website, it has been such an amazing learning experience. I had no idea how much work goes into prepping and planning a photoshoot! After the long day of shooting, the team and models got drinks afterwards and it was such a great bonding experience!
Kruti Malkan: Pre-MBA Marketing and Content Intern
Favorite Hobbies: practicing Bollywood dance, being a yogi, going on adventurous hikes, and exploring new fashion trends!
Fun Fact: My family and I hiked 26 miles on the Incan Trail in Peru! We backpacked for 5 days, made friends with llamas, and enjoyed drinking hot chocolate on a 16,000 foot mountain.
What do you like most about working for LUKH: When I first joined LUKH, I had one simple goal in mind: to gain a better understanding and become more knowledgeable in the marketing world. Over the past 6 months, I have not only been able to achieve my goal, but I have also been able to become a more confident woman. LUKH has allowed me to create my own ideas, develop them, and bring them to life. Working alongside a team of 6 other women who encourage and motivate me on a daily basis has been the best part of my LUKH experience.
Sherry Zhong: Pre-MBA Operations Intern
Favorite Hobbies: Cooking, lounging, and when I’m done becoming one with the couch, lakeside running!
Fun Fact: I once ran a half marathon on 12 hours notice. I couldn’t walk for a week afterwards.
Why did you join LUKH? Coming from a corporate career in retail, I wanted to understand both how start ups and rental businesses operate. I also wanted to work on a brand that champions Asian American culture instead of tokenizing or dampening it for palatability. At LUKH, I’m able to create processes from the ground up to get customers their orders efficiently while working with talented, bright teammates who have an inspiring passion for their culture.
Puneet Kaur: Undergraduate Operations and logistics Intern
Favorite Hobbies: I love to travel and join spontaneous adventures, go on road trips and hang out with my friends and family. I take interest in venturing into different industries like business, technology as well as real estate.
Fun Fact: I have flown an airplane once!!
What’s it like being an intern at LUKH? I joined LUKH mainly for experience in a startup company, but LUKH is so much more than that. The team of women here offer so much more than just experience. I have had such a valuable experience, learning about all the different ventures of running and maintaining a successful business as well as being able to maintain a friendly relationship with all co-workers. At LUKH, I get more than what I signed up for.
Sonali Surti: Undergraduate Social Media and Market Research Intern
Favorite Hobbies: I love dancing, cooking, and working out - especially when I’m stressed. I also love anything involving the fashion and cosmetic industries!
Fun Fact: I was an American expatriate when I was younger and lived in Pune, India for about 3 years.
What is your favorite LUKH outfit? I definitely have more than one favorite! The Chai Lengha, for its sequin work and embroidery on the dupatta, and the paneled skirt. The Chamak Lengha, for its layers of tulle on the skirt and the pleated fabric detail on the edges of the sleeves. And the Tamarind Lengha, for its modern, strapless blouse that ties into the traditional tribute of the skirt and dupatta.
About the Author:
Kruti Malkan is an MBA candidate at the Kellogg School of Management. Her background lies in supply chain and operations, but she has a passion for marketing. In her free time, she loves to Bollywood dance, practice yoga, and explore new fashion trends!