Dipti Tolani, CEO & Founder of Salt Attire, Affordable luxury formal wear and smart casuals brand for women

Dipti Tolani-Salt Attire CEO-Founder

Interview with Dipti Tolani: CEO & Founder of Salt Attire, Affordable luxury formal wear and smart casuals brand for women

Dipti Tolani, once a typical woman immersed in the finance industry in New York, had a daily routine filled with client meetings, conferences, and endless gatherings.

However, amidst significant changes in her life, she made the decision to migrate from New York to India.

To her surprise, she discovered that the available options for workwear in India did not meet her expectations, with their deep necklines, sheer fabrics, and high slits lacking the desired professionalism.

Tell us a little about yourself

Dipti Tolani: My grandparents moved to India post-partition. My parents are children of post-partition India,  and I have seen them, especially my father, build everything from scratch. My father runs his  own business and has been an inspiration to me through my journey. 

Prior to SALT, Dipti worked as a Consultant working on Financial Risk in New York. She has  also worked with HSBC as a software developer for their OTC Derivatives Platform. 

Dipti has completed her Engineering from Pune University and has a Master’s in Operations  Research & Financial Engineering from Columbia University, New York. 

Can you share the story behind the founding of Salt Attire? What inspired you to start  a luxury brand specializing in business casuals and formal dresses? 

Dipti Tolani: I happened to experience, and then identify a gap in the Indian market when it comes to high  quality business casuals and work wear for women, and the demand for such clothing to only  increase as more women are entering the workforce.

I conceptualized a one-stop store for 9AM 9PM clothing needs, where any piece of clothing that you pick, could be worn to both work and  after.

After realizing the gap between what working women want out of their clothes and what’s  available, I started digging into the reasons why the gap exists and started asking myself about  what could be done better.

Some core factors such as design, fabric selection and fit stood out  clearly. I did a lot of ground research and studied the industry and the designing process in  detail.

I remember making a list of manufacturers on Google maps and went from manufacturer  to manufacturer in Noida and Gurgaon, literally driving around and knocking doors until I found  someone who referred me to another person, where I made my first 4 garments.

I would visit  the manufacturing unit and sit with the workers watching them craft the garment from a design  sketch that I provided to the final product. 

This experience gave me a lot of operational and business insights, ranging from tailor wages to  workflow, from designing a clothing item to its implementation.

SALT has come a long way from  that, we have an in-house team now, which designs, develops, and produces the clothing. We  sell through our website and have 4 offline retail stores: three in Mumbai and one in Gurgaon. 

The idea, the vision behind SALT Attire was to build a one stop shop that provides a high quality  wardrobe solution for the professional woman. An affordable luxury business casual brand. 

Salt Attire focuses on luxury business casuals and formals. What sets your brand  apart from other clothing labels in terms of design, quality, and customer experience? 

Dipti Tolani: Every piece of clothing that you pick up from the SALT collection is eligible to be worn both in  office and for all your other official appointments.

Hence, no lugging around extra clothes for  that dinner party you might have to attend after office. This is one of the many ways in which we  at SALT bring together the best of fashion along with complete functionality. 

Tailored fit pants, anti-gaping shirts, lightweight skirts, fuss-free tops, and the most flattering  dresses- all made with the best quality lightweight polyester, rayon and pure cotton which are  imported from the best sources. After all, what looks good to the eyes, must feel good the skin 

too. Our assertion to our consumers is that given our fabric, our finishing, and our workmanship,  SALT Attire will give the best bang for your buck. 

How does Salt Attire cater to the specific needs and preferences of professional  women who seek stylish and sophisticated attire for their work environments? 

Dipti Tolani: SALT Attire Offers a wardrobe solution for the contemporary woman and all her professional  needs. Our fabrics are mostly imported and are of premium quality.

We offer tailored fits and are  moving to customization as well. But I would say, hands down, our USP would be our trousers.  We have a range of fabrics and styles and provide tailored fits. 

We also provide customizations and personalized shopping based on customer preferences,  lifestyle, and body type.

The cuts cater specifically to the Indian silhouette, and the clothing is  also notable for its impeccable craftsmanship—superior fabrics and stitch-work that guarantees  to last through the wear and tear of life on the go.

With outfits that are professional, stylish and  comfortable all at once, one can own that fast-paced work schedule and look stylish while being  at it. 

Sustainability is becoming increasingly important in the fashion industry. Could you  explain how Salt Attire incorporates sustainability into its manufacturing processes and  material sourcing? 

Dipti Tolani: We have a select number of places to source our raw materials from. Most of our styles are  designed to be versatile and crafted in premium fabrics to ensure lasting wear, leading it to be  an investment rather than an expense.  

The brand operations are run locally, boosting the local economy, thus empowering the people  that work with us.  

We also don’t keep a large inventory of products but work on a made-to-order module. 

Can you describe the design philosophy behind Salt Attire’s collections? How do you  ensure that the designs strike a balance between fashion-forward aesthetics and  professional appropriateness? 

Dipti Tolani: SALT Attire is a one stop shop that provides a high quality wardrobe solution for the  professional woman. It is an affordable luxury business casual’s brand.  

We also provide customizations and personalized shopping based on customer preferences,  lifestyle, and body type. Our design team has a simple philosophy, design a nine to nine  wardrobe for the contemporary working woman.  

We have anticipated the needs, the lifestyle, the schedule to create designs which are  functional, sophisticated and chic.

We focus on clean cuts with finer detailing. After traveling  across various markets in search for that perfect fabric, we brought together a selection of  fabrics which are aesthetically pleasing, feel good on your skin and are very comfortable for all  day wear.

The fabrics range from breathable linens and cottons to light-weight polyesters that  are all weather and wrinkle free.

Fit and comfort are crucial factors when it comes to clothing. How does Salt Attire  ensure that its garments not only look stylish but also provide a comfortable and  flattering fit for a wide range of body types? 

Dipti Tolani: Our design philosophy is based on Clean Cuts, Functional, Simple and Sophisticated Clothing.  We provide tailored trousers, dresses and skirts.  

The cuts cater specifically to the Indian silhouette, and the clothing is also notable for its  impeccable craftsmanship—superior fabrics and stitch-work that guarantees to last through the  wear and tear of life on the go.

With outfits that are professional, stylish and comfortable all at  once, one can own that fast-paced work schedule and look like stylish while being at it. 

Business casual and formal attire can vary across industries and regions. How does  Salt Attire cater to the diverse style preferences and dress codes of different  professional environments? 

Dipti Tolani: In this fast paced environment the idea for dressing to work has been changing. We’ve moved  from crisp formals, which is only restricted to certain occasions now to more functional high quality business casuals clothing. Garments that you can wear to office and then to your drinks  or dinner after is the need right now.  

In addition to the garments being fashionable, function plays a key role. One must be able to  move effortlessly from client meetings to travel to picking up kids at school.

It’s very important  that the fabrics are premium quality, easy on the skin and comfortable to wear all day long.

We understand the need for functionality without compromising on the aesthetic appeal. All our  clothing is modest with no plunging necklines or high slits that would make you uncomfortable at  work.  

Our trousers use stretchable fabric and they are so comfortable you could lounge in them all  day. For any design that might need the use of a sheer fabric, we provide you with a  complimentary camisole. 

Salt Attire offers luxury clothing. How do you ensure that the price point of your  garments remains competitive while maintaining the brand’s exclusivity and quality? 

Dipti Tolani: Supply Chain plays an important role here. We have developed a robust supply chain over the  years to ensure we procure quality fabrics at competitive prices.  

If something specific that we need is unavailable, our design team would develop the  corresponding prints, surface work in-house to achieve the same results 

In your opinion, how does fashion impact professional confidence and empowerment  for women in the workplace? How does Salt Attire contribute to this empowerment  through its clothing offerings?

Dipti Tolani: Cognitive psychologists have examined the psychological of dressing well and performance related effects that wearing specific articles of clothing have on the person wearing them. 

They call this term, enclothed cognition. Enclothed cognition captures the influence that clothes  have on the wearer’s psychological processes. 

Experts have discovered that our thought processes are based on physical experiences that  trigger abstract concepts, such as those generated by the clothing we wear: the psychology of  dressing well.  

Clothing can enhance our psychological states, and it can improve our performance on tasks.  Therefore not only does clothing reflect personality but it encourages and even develops  personality too. 

What advice would you give to aspiring women entrepreneurs in the fashion industry  who are looking to start their own luxury clothing brand? 

Dipti Tolani: Like any consumer business, it is very important to define who your customer is and whom you  would be making your garments for.  

Once you understand your customer, their needs, wants, your product would reflect that and  things would be smooth from there.

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