How this Tech Start-up is Disrupting the Online Fashion Retail?

In an exclusive conversation with Samiksha Bajaj, Co-Founder, Samshek talks about the role of technology in improving the fashion scene of the country.
 How Fashion Tech Start-up is Disrupting the  Online Fashion Retail?
Samiksha Bajaj

 What inspires you to launch Samshek? Also tell us about your entrepreneurial journey so far?

My journey pretty much began when I was a little girl and I used to see my father working hard to build something of his own, I used to tell him “mujhe apni company kholni hai” and this dream stayed with me. But it was not just any other business I wanted to start to earn profits. I wanted to inspire change, leave a mark, and benefit the society, especially the women. I used to watch my mother being the perfect wife, sister, daughter in law to everyone but what did she do for herself? Women are always expected to be the givers, the caretakers for others. I also wanted to give, but to all the women out there. I wanted to give them the empower them.

So after completing my masters from London College of Fashion, I developed a keen interest in the tech side of fashion. I learned that fashion is in my roots but it is technology that will help these roots to originate into something which will be functional and practical.

That’s when the research started; I used to spend my days and nights to put this mere idea into action. And one fine day I was shopping with my aunt and we were in this store, and as usual she picked out two sizes M and L which fits her generally. I asked her- you have been shopping for years and you are still unsure of your size?

She said you know, after a certain age your size becomes uncertain. I am a medium from my upper body and a L or XL from below.”umar k sath sath weight badna aam baat hai” her exact words. That’s when it hit me! We are all different. After a woman hits the age of 35, she is not bound by the standard retail sizes, and why should she?

I then decided to use the technology we have today in terms of Artificial Intelligence to create a database that analyses measurements of women of different age groups with different body shapes. And with the help of the 3D Body Scanner we can get 150 exact measurements which will determine what size they actually are.

That’s when Samshék happened. Eliminating the standard retail sizes and help women discover their true body size through custom-made clothing was my lifelong dream that got fulfilled.

Today, we have zero waste policy and digital customisation options and our industrial waste is minimum. In the coming 5 years we want our industrial waste to be zero.

So, that’s my journey and it’s only been a decade and I have a long way to go, but one thing I am sure of is, that I am going to enjoy every bit of it.

How Samshek is a different concept as compared to leading online fashion retailers including Myntra and Jabong?

Samshék provides sustainable clothing and eliminates the major pain point of fit in the garments through tech and AI, Samshék is different because there is no brand (online/offline)provide all 4 at one platform

 Custom-Made clothing in personalised size

 Retail size XS-9XL (Whereas Myntra,Jabbong offer only up to XXL)

 Free Digital Customisation option (changing sleeves, neckline, garment length and colour) in store as well as online.

 Measurement scanning through 3D Body Scanner at store (one of the nfirst ever in India)

 All of the above, and that too in a time frame of 48-72 hours (from store) and 5 business days PAN India,U.S and U.K

Apart from this, online portals like Myntra, Jabong have major sizing and fit issues with high return rates. Samshek return rate is less than 0.5%

 What is your assessment about online fashion market in India. According to you, what are the factors propelling growth in this segment?

The India e-commerce platform in India is flooding with growth opportunities. India’s internet economy is expected to double from US$125 billion as of April 2017 to US$ 250 billion by 2020, majorly backed by ecommerce. India’s E-commerce revenue is expected to jump from US$ 39 billion in 2017 to US$ 120 billion in 2020, growing at an annual rate of 51 per cent, the highest in the world.

Electronics is currently the biggest contributor to online retail sales in India with a share of 48 per cent, followed closely by fashion apparel at 29 per cent.

If we speak in regard with designs, online market provides end number of options to its consumer as compared to the retail industry where due to limited storage area, the inventory is limited. For the end consumer online platform has become much more feasible, easy and economical.

Competitive pricing and ease of home delivery are the major factors.

Propelling factors-From the last few years, Samshek has observed online orders from tier II-III cities increasing, data operators like jio provided ease of internet access even in the remote areas of India.

The availability of more brands present online gives more diversity to women, therefore online fashion market is bound to increase through out India

Technology is becoming the driver of online fashion. Do you agree?

To an extent, yes I do agree. Technology is slowly grasping all industries and online platform is not behind.

Augmented reality, virtual reality, wearable tech, and connected fitting rooms are all making big waves in online fashion. Virtual fitting room apps go beyond smart fitting and let customers use their smartphones or virtual reality glasses to conduct 3D body or face scan. Whereas smart fitting technologies enable users to buy the right size for them. AI and machine leaning has enhances online user website experience.

Have you raised any kind of funds so far or plan to?

We are in the process of raising funds, up until now it is completely bootstrapped.

 How many markets are covered by Samshek in India presently? Going forward, what are the plans to scale up the distribution?

At present Samshek has a strong hold on online and offline marketplace. We deliver PAN India and currently have our retail store located in the commercial area of Maggarpatta city Pune at Seasons Mall. Being one of the first tech stores at India the response is really overwhelming for us. The concept of digital customisation and zero waste has been well accepted by our online as well as offline (retail) consumers, looking at such a positive response we are planning to launch more stores in all other metropolitans.

We have also collaborated with a few international market places Fit Match (based in Texas) is one which works with AI technology to give a perfect fitted garment. Balodana (Chicago) is another custom-made clothing platform which works on the similar concept.

 At last, kindly highlight your growth plans?

In the coming few years our vision is to be at the forefront of technology and fashion. Rejuvenate fashion through technology and create an industry which is efficient yet sustainable. Opening more retail outlets in the coming 5 years PAN India.Implementing major technological developments like virtual stylist, virtual changing rooms, robotic manufacturing is part of our growth plan in the coming 5 years

Samiksha Bajaj