Tell us about your entrepreneurial journey.
After dropping out of college in January 2015, Vishi Porwal and I started working on Indian Threads. We found ourselves brainstorming about launching our own brand, centered on our love for design and fashion and started as an online web store as our passion and entrepreneurial experiment quickly grew into much more than just selling a few shirts. Indian Threads didn’t start with a formal business plan and in fact we had absolutely no background in fashion and design. Rather than following the traditional model of starting a business, we just tried to apply common sense and research to figure things out as they came,, whereas the design aspect came instinctively and we completely surrendered to that passion. We’ve found that the best way of learning is by doing ourselves. Over a period of 12 months, we continued to build Indian Threads by working round the clock and on weekends, refining designs, learning the process, making mistakes, building a team of craftsmen, organising logistics, and you name it. Our dream of starting a brand was no longer just a dream. It was what fueled us and this is what keeps us moving. We also had to make sure that everything was ethically managed. We did door-to-door to 100’s of small vendors to big multi brand outlets to market our product.
What is the USP of your brand?
We believe that fashion can be made in an inexpensive way where creativity and quality is valued equally. We use high quality fabric. We spare no effort or expense at detailing and fine-tuning each garment. By selling directly to the consumer, online and offline retailers, we cut the huge share of middle men at three levels. And also it’s a huge profit of margin at every level. Secondly, as a startup we plan to survive, thus keeping a thin line to profit which cuts our cost to more than half the price.
What has been your biggest challenge? How are you addressing it?
Being into product manufacturing industry, the key challenge was to reduce the long production market cycle viz the time period from conceptualising a product to getting it out in the market, which ranges from two to four months. We have innovated and been successful in bringing the product-to-market cycle to about 20-25 days and wanted to bring it down further. Our focus for the New Year is to add more product categories and increase the reach of our brand.
What is your business model? How do you deal with distribution?
Today, in the fashion industry, the opportunities don’t necessarily go to the big and established players, but to the fastest ones out there. We work very closely with our followers on social media, as well as use other consumer engaging tools and incorporate their feedbacks into what we do. To cut down the middle men’s margin and pass on the savings, we sell and distribute our products directly to the retailers through our on ground salesmen.
What is your pricing strategy?
We have seen how this garment and fashion industry works. The major brands have made people believed that only expensive clothing is of good and high quality. We wanted to break this mind set. High quality fabric shirts and garments shouldn't necessarily mean expensive; we believe in serving the finest quality shirts at the cheapest rates possible. By cutting the over whelming profit ratio and selling directly to customers on our online platform, we detour the middle men and pass the savings on to our customers.
What potential do you see in the online format of retailing?
Currently, fashion has more than 50 per cent share of the B2C e-commerce market, which is likely to come up with online retail gaining prominence. We believe that the online retail sector in India is here to stay. This confidence comes from the much better eco-system that prevails in terms of consumer acceptance and the infrastructure to deliver. And, there is the successful example of Myntra, Jabong and Koovs, where online shopping has permeated across socio-economic strata.
Vishi and I, also point out that with the huge mobile subscriber base and fast increasing base of mobile internet users, the Indian online retail market could potentially take a non-linear growth in the years to come, which will surely help to push Indian Threads in market.
Put some light on the investment front?
We are a bootstrap company and we have invested everything all by ourselves. We have been growing 200 percent year on year and ours is already a profitable company. Indian Threads is looking to expand with the help of right kind of investment funding from investors. The firm markets itself to young men through social media, online and offline ads and through word of mouth. Their website receives around 1,500 hits per day with a conversion rate of 2 per cent. Indian Threads has also partnered with elite lifestyle and other online apparel portals to increase their reach.
What are your plans for geographic expansion? Elaborate.
Today, we are selling over 6000 Shirts every month through our 120 vendors and retail outlets from all over Madhya Pradesh. We have also started adding the vendors and retail outlets from Rajasthan and Maharashtra, last month and plan to sell over 10,000 Shirts every month by March, 2017.