We're different because we are absolutely original: Harshita Gautam

Ethnic retail in Indian apparel market has increased up to 75%.
Harshita Gautam, Founder, Nomad

Rural consumer market is estimated to grow at the rate of 40 percent, as on the other hand the urban market growth would be only 25 percent. This is where the need to connect tradition with trends becomes essential. In an era where trendy apparels are primarily focused, the nomadic ethnic wear is likely to get highlighted.  Ethnic retail in Indian apparel market has increased up to 75%.
With a strong belief in the fact that tradition never fades out, Harshita Gautam founded Nomad. This startup has a rich collection of nomadic ethnic wear ranging from beautiful ghaghras and dupattas to a wide collection of apparels for women.  Her attempt of introducing nomadic ethnic wear to the urban society has proved to be a promising concept considering the higher demand for fashion.
Retailer Media caught up with Harshita Gautam to get her opinions about nomadic ethnic wear.

How has been the journey of Nomad so far?
Over the past 5 years, Nomad is propagating "Rural-Unfashion" in the Indian Fashion Industry. The journey has been quite overwhelming, yet highly satisfying since we, as a brand, strive to bring back the lost "Ghaghra", originally worn by nomad tribes, back into existence. We have marked a niche for ourselves with a certainty to bring the INDIAN GYPSY in vogue again. In keeping with our mission of reviving our lost traditions, last year we launched a jewelry brand called “Nani’ki” which again, endeavors to bring vintage back with its rural India inspired jewellry.

How do you differentiate yourself from other brands in the market?
We're different because we are absolutely original!  I am not a trained designer, hence my aesthetics are driven by passion. Usually clothing brands give "Looks" for the seasons based on the market trends but we, instead of only selling clothes, also sell the concept of "freedom" & "free-spiritedness".  Our clothes are 90% handmade and have hidden details, which only a discerning wearer can understand. Nomad is about cult attire.

What inspired you to setup this brand?
My deep love for rural India and the ghaghara.

What is the USP of your brand? Was there any specific reason for selecting ethnic wear?
Our USP is the gypsy, free sized & colorful ghaghara. Although the only reason why I started creating ghaghras was my love for the garment, but as the business aspect set-in, I realised that apart from being a timeless piece, it is also very versatile & can be worn at any occasion. This gave people another reason to buy ethnic as everyone likes things which are best value for money. Ghaghra is one such thing! Inspired by India, ethnic is an obvious choice, but that has not prevented our international clients from reaching out to us. Since the garments have a bohemian vibe, they appeal to the global audience as well.

Have you raised any funding so far. If yes, what are your plans to use the funding for?
So far the business remains self-funded, but as it grows, we're open to the possibility of external funding as well. We plan to use the funding to reach out to a global customer base & tap it at the right time as theme India becomes more & more popular among foreign shores.

What are your major business models?
Having a direct relationship with our customers is one of our major plans and we are working tirelessly to build & nurture a connection with them. For us, it goes beyond "business". We also plan to focus on the business development aspect of it through marketing, participation in exhibitions, fashion weeks & tie-ups with physical stores. We currently have a capacity to produce 500 garments a month, but as the business grows, we plan to increase the capacity through upgrading to more sophisticated & efficient equipment, but the hand-made & hand-embroidered garment shall continue to be our mainstay as it is the identity of the brand.
We started with the "Ghaghra" as our signature garment & created other things like kurtas, blouses & accessories around it. Nani'ki was also born to compliment the clothes & to support the philosophy of reviving lost traditions. We plan to further diversify into products like footwear & beauty products in future. Other revenue generation plans include a line-up of affordable trinkets & knick-knacks. 

What are the upcoming business models you intend to launch?
Since we do not follow the fashion norms, hence we do not have the concept of "Seasonal collection". Instead, what we have is the "Garment of the week". It keeps our creativity channelised and fresh! This way we also give the audience something new to look out for every time they log onto the website. Along with the website we have an active blogspot through which I share personal stories. The motive is to find a connection & have a direct relation with each and every customer at a level that goes beyond economics.

What kind of investment went in setting up this venture? What has been the ROI?
I started with an investment of Rs.1 Lakh, which I saved from my stints as a corporate trainer & Spanish teacher. The money was used to buy a sewing machine, fabric, table & employing a tailor. A corner in my interior designer sister's office space was used to seat the tailor, but as we started getting more orders, another tailor was hired & we moved to our own unit which was a small rented room. We grew from strength to strength & today have a two storied office that doubles up as our studio as well. So far the ROI, considering that we're a young enterprise, is close to 500% but we are striving to push up the numbers & plan to achieve it through aggressive marketing & increasing the line-up of our products.

How do you gauge the growth scenario in your business?
My passion to create is so tangible that as a business, despite the occasional setbacks, we continue to sail above them.  If I look back from where we have started, we've come far, but still have a long way to go. I see a lot of scope in terms of experimentation with design & finding a market for them as more & more people are breaking away from fashion trends & are keen than ever to try out alternate fashion. Also, the new found interest & pride among the new generation in our culture & traditions augurs well for the brand as NOMAD is as Indian as it can get! 

What are your expansion plans?
Our expansion plans are majorly e-com centric, but tie-ups with premium multi-brand stores are not ruled out. We have recently launched our website www.diariesofnomad.com and plan to market it aggressively all over the world.

Harshita Gautam