Interview: Venkatesh Maheshwari, Co-Founder of Gokyo

Venkatesh Maheshwari

An interview with Venkatesh Maheshwari, Co-Founder of Gokyo, a brand that has manufactured the first Mountaineering Downsuit in India

Welcome to an exclusive interview with Venkatesh Maheshwari, the Co-Founder of Gokyo. With a bold vision and relentless dedication, Gokyo has etched its name in history by crafting India’s first Mountaineering Downsuit.

Maheshwari’s expertise and leadership have propelled the brand to unprecedented heights, revolutionizing the adventure apparel landscape in India.

Can you share the inspiration behind founding Gokyo and the journey towards manufacturing the first Mountaineering Downsuit in India?

Venkatesh Maheshwari: The founding of Gokyo was inspired by the growing mountaineering community in India striving to conquer peaks above 8,000 meters.

Indian mountaineers faced challenges acquiring suitable gear, with options limited to renting in Nepal or buying expensive suits from international brands not designed for Indian bodies.

My own Everest summit experience fueled the motivation to address this gap, having struggled to find appropriate mountaineering attire. This drove me to create a product tailored for Indian climbers, here in India, focusing on accessibility and fit specific to our community. Thus, the Summit downsuit was born to cater to the needs of Indian mountaineers.

What were the challenges you faced during the development and manufacturing process of the Mountaineering Downsuit, and how did you overcome them?

Venkatesh Maheshwari: Creating the first Indian-manufactured mountaineering down suit posed significant technical challenges. Achieving the intricate stitching and pattern design demanded meticulous attention, compounded by the complexity of sourcing raw materials within India.

Our criteria included an 80-20 downfill for insulation, breathable yet warm fabrics, and a facility capable of specialized manufacturing. The development process extended over a year, involving multiple rounds of sampling and rigorous testing.

Close collaboration with experienced mountaineers was integral; their feedback refined our designs and validated the product’s effectiveness under extreme conditions, fostering trust within the mountaineering community.

How does Gokyo ensure the quality and performance of its Mountaineering Downsuit, especially in extreme weather conditions?

Venkatesh Maheshwari: Over the course of a rigorous 12-month development cycle, we meticulously crafted our down suits to exceed the stringent demands of high-altitude mountaineering. Paramount among our criteria was the selection of manufacturing partners held to the highest global standards, ensuring uncompromising quality.

Through extensive testing, from raw materials to finished garments, we validated every aspect, field-testing them in the harshest mountain environments.

Our down suits boast a myriad of technical features, including inner suspenders for weight distribution during climbs and a back half-moon zip for convenience during nature’s calls—a design feat particularly challenging to source in the Indian market.

What sets Gokyo’s Mountaineering Downsuit apart from those manufactured by other brands?

Venkatesh Maheshwari: This product epitomizes exclusivity, crafted solely by elite international brands tailored for high-altitude mountaineering, typically above 7500 meters. Consequently, its premium quality commands a hefty price tag, rendering it inaccessible to many expedition enthusiasts, despite ample budgetary provisions.

Hence, Indian climbers often resort to procuring or leasing counterfeit alternatives from the Nepalese market, albeit at the expense of compromising on quality and safety.

Introducing the GOKYO downsuit, tailored precisely for Indian climbers’ body shapes. Surprisingly, it delivers top-notch quality like those pricey international brands but at a much lower cost, making it a smart choice that balances quality and affordability perfectly.

What are the future plans and aspirations of Gokyo in terms of product development and expansion into other markets or product categories?

Venkatesh Maheshwari: Expanding upon our triumph with the mountaineering down suit, Gokyo ventures into a broader range of climbing and exploration equipment, previously scarce in India at competitive prices.

Our mission is to bridge the voids in the Indian market by delivering superior-quality gear at affordable rates, thereby enriching the resources and safety standards of the local climbing fraternity.

What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs looking to venture into the outdoor apparel industry or start their own brand?

Venkatesh Maheshwari: GOKYO’s vision is centered on empowering individuals to realize their outdoor aspirations, offering products that not only exude style and comfort but also deliver exceptional functionality at a competitive price point.

Delving into this realm necessitates a steadfast commitment to managing the intricate supply chain, ensuring a consistent delivery of top-notch products at compelling prices.

Drawing upon my extensive experience spanning three decades in both apparel retail and mountaineering, I’ve meticulously curated the product line, leveraging insights to navigate the complexities of this domain.

In the realm of adventure apparel, Venkatesh Maheshwari stands as a beacon of innovation and perseverance. His visionary leadership at Gokyo has not only introduced groundbreaking products but has also inspired a generation of enthusiasts.

As the brand continues to ascend new peaks, Maheshwari’s unwavering commitment to excellence ensures that Gokyo remains a trailblazer in the industry.

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