By Molly Callahan
News at Northeastern
Aashray Thatai and Ashish Gurnani were frustrated. They were each working full time in professional settings near New Delhi, and couldn’t find clothes that were stylish, affordable, and appropriate both for work and dinner afterward. So, they created their own.
Thatai and Gurnani, both graduates of Northeastern University, co-founded PostFold, a company that designs and sells high-quality casual clothing for work.
“Our goal is to dress you from desk to dinner,” says Thatai.
Grunani and Thatai say that when they returned to India, it was almost impossible to find the cool, affordable, work-appropriate designs to which they’d become so accustomed after studying and working in the U.S. for years.
“It was like, choose two: price, quality, fit,” Thatai says. “You couldn’t find all three anywhere.”
One night over dinner in New Delhi in 2015, he and Gurnani were tossing around ideas for starting their own company, much like they’d done for years when they lived together in the residence halls at Northeastern. (In fact, Thatai and Gurnani, who met each other for the first time when they lived across the hall from each other in Northeastern’s International Village, are now brothers-in-law. Gurnani recently married Thatai’s sister.)
“We started talking about how India is the largest producer of cotton, and then talking about the garment industry in general,” Gurnani says. “We realized there isn’t one Indian clothing brand that’s known all over the world, despite that. Then we just sort of ran with it.”
From the start, Gurnani and Thatai knew they had to control the design of clothes, as well as the fabrics they’re made from. This is unusual in the apparel world, Gurnani says, where design houses generally rely upon manufacturers to purchase the fabrics to create the clothes.
Thatai’s family runs one of the largest apparel manufacturing companies in India, Orient Craft Limited, so the pair teamed up with the company, as well as several others, to turn their ideas into actual clothes.
And in this way, PostFold was born.
Three years later, the company employs 20 people, earns roughly $500,000 in annual sales, and has been featured in Vogue India. PostFold is entirely online for now, but its founders hope to open up a handful of brick-and-mortar stores soon, Thatai says.
Thatai, who studied mechanical engineering at Northeastern, and Gurnani, who studied marketing and finance, are both part of the university’s Young Global Leaders program, which comprises more than 100 recent graduates who advise university leadership and help to strengthen Northeastern’s network of international alumni. They credit the hands-on, entrepreneurial experience they had at Northeastern for the skills they needed to build their own business.
“Everything I learned on co-op and from my time at Northeastern has absolutely transcended into every part of PostFold,” Gurnani says.
Coincidentally, he and Thatai were having dinner with another friend from Northeastern when they first spotted someone wearing PostFold clothing. It was four months after they’d launched the company, and Gurnani saw someone on the other side of the room out of the corner of his eye in a familiar design.
“I jumped out of my seat to go talk to them,” Gurnani recalls, laughing. “It was my proudest moment. Every time we see our clothes on people walking around, I feel prouder and prouder.”
(Reprinted with permission from the News at Northeastern.)