Fashion has always been an epitome of style, elegance and attitude. Apparel industry is booming at a CAGR of around 12 per cent and has emerged as a mammoth entity. Retailers are toiling hard enough to conceptualise new style and cut to earn profits and popularity. Among plethora of options available for all fashionholic bugs, women with plus sizes have always shied away from garnering their choices.
In order to address these clothing and fitting issues of women with plus sizes, Vidit Sehgal, Founder of Lurap came up with a stylish collection. He was flabbergasted by the plight of women trying to fit into men’s large sized t-shirt. This incident kick-started his entrepreneurial journey and he came up with Lurap.
Retailer Media caught up with Vidit Segal to know about his inspiration for startups and entrepreneurial experience.
Please share your educational background and whether entrepreneurship was something you always wanted to do?
I did my schooling from Bal Bharti Public School, Pitampura, graduation from Sri Guru Gobind Singh College of Commerce, Delhi University and Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from IBS Ahmedabad in the field of Marketing.
I worked for HDFC Bank for around 4 years. However, entrepreneurship was something that always interested me. Managing people, resources, skills, ideas, finances etc. are what each entrepreneur has to go through and I always wanted to be one of them.
I believe that in order to make a successful business and an entrepreneur, one does not necessarily need to disrupt else’s established market. You can create a new market thereby addressing some of the biggest challenges people are facing these days.
How was the idea of your Start-up conceptualised? What is the need you are addressing in the market?
Lurap was conceptualised when I once saw plus sized women shopping for themselves in a men’s outlet. I thought they might be shopping for a male, however when I saw them come out of the trial room, I observed them trying on a Men’s XXL T-shirt. The fit was bad (obviously as it was a men’s t-shirt), but they still bought it.
We started with US and Canada as we believed this concept already existed there. We got good response. Customers accepted us in the market. However, a pilot project done last year for Indian market showed staggering results. The results were so impressive that the Indian market potentially beat US, Canada, UK, France and Australia markets put together.
The need to address this market is to bring a change in people’s mindset. We want to tell people that you need not be size 0 to look beautiful being and fat is not ugly.
Is there a story behind the name Lurap?
Yes, Lurap stands for LoveURAPpearance, which tells people to love their shape, size, body and appearance. Also Lurap is my wife’s name spelled backwards (Parul).
What is your Business Model? Please share numbers of founders, product/services offered and current business size?
Our business model includes offering custom size (XS to 7XL) and custom style (Change in Neckline, Sleeve Length, Garment Length etc.) clothing for women including regular, plus and odd size all over the world from XS to 7XL. Products are made after receiving an order exclusively for the customer, therefore no bulk stocks.
Unlike other fashion websites, we sell products under our brand name. Also, we are a vertically integrated company having internal controls over activities ranging from fabric sourcing to customer service including IT and marketing. This is unlike other fashion websites who have no control over the quality of the product.
Vinay and Smriti Khurana are the other two founders besides me. Smriti Khurana is an Alumina of NIFT, Delhi and heads the Design Team and Vinay heads the operations Team.
Who is your target consumer? Could you please share how you have detailed your consumer?
Our target customers are all women who want to look fabulous irrespective of their size. They can be a XXXS to 7XL. We are currently targeting Tier 1 city customers however; 40 per cent of our Indian orders come from Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities.
What is your team size? What is your office culture like?
We are a team size of around 60 people in Lurap. Our office culture is relaxed and people are given the liberty to do things differently, think differently, and come up with new ideas. Our HR team ensures that our office environment is relaxed yet everyone is giving 100 per cent to their responsibilities.
What has been your A-ha Moment in the business? (The high point)
Whenever we get an email from customers giving their positive feedback and express how they love us, our products and services, it makes us happy. There are people who recommend us voluntarily. This is reflected through 50-60 per cent of our orders coming from repeat customers.
What has been your biggest challenge so far in scaling -up? How are you addressing it?
Initially, making people believe that we are here to serve the deserving market, making them believe that they are beautiful was a challenge. However, we have overcome this challenge to a great extent.
Currently, a challenge is that we are offering 22 different sizes, however a garment can only be shown to the customer in 1 size on the website. Therefore, we get lot of requests to include plus size models. This becomes unfeasible to have 22 different sized models showcasing the same garment.
To address this concern, we are introducing a virtual fitting room on our website. A customer can give her body size and details of her body like skin tone, hair color, height etc. A virtual 3D Model shall get created accordingly and the customer can try all sizes of all the garments virtually.
How do you see growth scenario is this business? What are your future scale-up plans?
Currently, we are more than doubling up our orders every month. As per our projections, if we address 0.25 per cent of the total potential market size, we should be touching 5000 orders a day by April 2019. We have plans to introduce new and unique features, thereby, also entering into men’s custom clothing including plus, odd and regular size. We are also planning to venture into offline market (Tailor at your doorstep etc).