marking its presence in online ethnic-wear space marking its presence in online ethnic-wear space

Supplying to 8000 pincodes across the country, is targeting to have Rs 20 cr turnover by 2018. Revealing the same, Aditya Makharia, Founder and Managing Director of the company spoke to

Please tell us about
Based in Kolkata, we launched in 2014. It is an eCommerce portal which offers unique services like an option of pre-draped sarees, customised blouse, and a segment of hand woven fabrics with different quality and designs. We are also available on marketplaces like Flipkart, Jabong, Snapdeal and Amazon.
We are an independent premier online store and currently do not supply to any other offline stores across India or outside. We have a team of selected 600 weavers, designers and exquisite artisans either directly or indirectly engaged in the production of ethnic wear products. We follow stringent quality control at every step which is backed by a strong in house production framework.
We supply 15,000 to 25,000 pieces of sarees annually to around 8000 pin codes in India which includes metros, tier I to IV cities. We also supply to 120 countries around the world, majorly the US, UK and Canada market with sizeable NRI population. The price range of our products starts from Rs 1000 to Rs 50,000.
We focus on quality than the quantity. We promise the delivery of 100 per cent accurate products displayed online. We try to give money for value product.

What TG you are looking to cater to?
The target audience for Indian ethnic wear is diverse. Today, boardrooms as well as high network meetings have women donning chic Indian ethnic wear. India’s ethnic wear consumer base can be largely diversified into traditional and contemporary. Also economic empowerment of women has been remarkable, making them the primary consumers, so age is no bar.

What inspired you to enter into ethnic wear category?
I have always found the ethnic wear segment to be interesting. It is a very niche market and the scope to expand with this sector is immense. Gone are the days when ethnic wear was only restricted to being an apparel of limited choices. The sector has now transitioned into a fashion essential, be it for a college going girl, office goers or an elite socialite.
Women love to experiment with the ethnic wear and do not restrict them only for family gatherings.  Prime factor that has driven me to enter this category is India’s new-found love with online shopping including that of the ethnic wear, with more and more women having disposable income to splurge on them. This segment is bound to see rapid growth in the years to come.

How is been the journey so far?
Making the transition from running the family business to owning your own business seems like it should be easy enough. But the hard knocks in business taught me how to deal with growth and a lot about crisis. I have learnt a lot of insights on the ups and downs in businesses, few of those are to have an unstoppable belief system and the commitment to make it work, luck is a residue of design. You find your own luck through the opportunities you seek and act uponMy dad’s brainstorming had become my turning point and my first step towards starting my own business.

How do you see online demand for sarees which conventionally demands physical presence of the consumer?  
Each saree mirrors an effortless story. The Indian woman of every age prefers to wear sarees on the auspicious occasions of her life. Fashion keeps on changing but saree is only the attire which never changes. There are always variations in terms of fabrics, patterns and colours that keep on changing with preferences, demand and trends. There are various traditional styles of sarees available in the Indian market the most sought after sarees for various occasions would be Banarasi, Silk, Chiffon, Kanjeevaram etc.
Customers choose a design and can provide exact measurements if they want it customised. This also makes them more comfortable buying clothes online. Payment is made up front, through a standard gateway, and delivery is handled by three or four global logistics players. Generally, it takes anywhere between seven and 15 days to deliver an order. With ready-to-ship-products it’s easier. The products get delivered within 3-4 days of placing the order.
A business model can make or break a business; hence it has to be very clear and transparent. Each online portal has a design catalogue available.

While it’s a western dress sense that is picking up across the country, how is the saree competing in the apparel space?
Saree is a niche product in itself and will always be evergreen choice of dressing. The saree in itself is perhaps the most innovative garment in the history of India. What’s more is, it’s holding out in the era of slowdown. The brisk business speaks volumes. The saree trend is growing strength to strength from Twitter to Facebook to the pages of glossy magazines to drawing room conversations. In today’s time a rather distinguished club of the discerning saree wearers are willing to spend close to a fortune to get the right saree.

What are the challenges that you have come across so far?
Higher gestation period, deficit of trust among online consumer while buying ethnic wear one and reaching out to the target are the challenges that we have faced so far since entering the online space.

What are your expansion plans ahead?
We do intend to work towards expanding ourselves slowly and steadily. As a dynamic business of course the larger goal is to be able to present to maximum destinations globally. We do have a heavy demand from overseas Indians that are always shopping for ‘desi’ occasions on our website. In the coming times, we wish to be able to provide more variety and options to choose from.
We are planning of launching a mobile app for shopping by February 2016. We understand that the new age generation enjoys shopping at the click of a button on their mobile phones. The app designing is an important process and we wish to do it right. As soon as the softwares and dynamics are in place, we should be able to introduce our mobile app services soon.
By 2018 we are aiming to see emerging as a pioneer in the ethnic wear segment. A name that consumer’s trust and a one stop shop for traditional and ethnic wear.
Further, we are trying to revive and promote the traditional hand-crafted and handloom made products and fabrics in modern trends and styles. Over the next five years we aim to engage over 25000 such weavers and artisans.
While presently we are operating out of Kolkata, and further planning to set up our offices in Mumbai, Delhi and Chennai.

With FDI approved in the offline retail, how it’s affecting the online ethnic wear space?
Fashion is a serious business everywhere. The emergence of FDI as a strong concept over the last few years has resulted in positive implications for numerous sectors in the fashion eCommerce industry. Through FDI ethnic wear has not only captured the Indian market, but has also made its presence well-built internationally. A lot of change has happened in the ethnic wear scenario since bygone times making the process hassle free.

What is the current turnover of your company and the target for coming fiscal year? has a turnover of 3 crores a year approximately; we aim at reaching a figure of Rs 20 crores in the next three years. We plan to hit the break-even by next year.

What is your opinion on startups venturing into ethnic wear category?
Over the past few years the startups entering the eCommerce space have been building up on its capacities at various levels, expanding its product base, incorporating innovative technology and engineering newer avenues of business. It is not just about more brands entering this particular segment, but also more about being able to achieve decent returns on investments on a continuous basis.

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