The Fashion scene in India has come a long way and yet in so many ways it stays in a limited circle of influence. Why is that? Why is it that designer fashion is limited to the 'celebrity' and extended only to the Big-Fat-Indian-Wedding? Are the designers catering to demand or creating it. Talent there is plenty and it's growing. Perhaps the angle that is missing is distribution, marketing, technology, all affecting the reach of designer wear and leaving fashionistas with limited options. Where does one go?
We recently interviewed the founders of an interesting new start-up in the fashion world - shoptheramp.com
They are technology graduates who came together to bridge the gap that exists between fashion and technology offering a unique concept that makes Indian designers accessible to the fashion lovers. The website allows it's member base to pre-order from the next season's collection of designer wear, through previews and trunk shows. Fashion enthusiasts can now place an order on the site from the upcoming season's collection and get their desired outfit before it's released through retailers. shoptheramp.com has already hooked up with fashion mavens such as Agnimitra Paul, Niki Mahajan, Manoviraj Khosla and Nida Mahmood amongst others. This certainly bodes well for the designers who can now plan their collection and production keeping in mind an extended clientele and confirmed orders. Also, makes for a good proposition to those who desire to be true fashion trend-setters and wear unique designs before they are available to anyone else and choose styles that they like instead of picking them off the shelf of a retailer.
Read the excerpts from the Q&A between Beluxed Fashion and the shoptheramp team. Here's wishing them luck with their venture...
BF (Beluxed Fashion): How did three ‘IITians’ decide to enter the realm of high-end, designer fashion?
STR(Shoptheramp): Our lucrative jobs in leading management consultancies, technology firms and investment banks never quite managed to douse our burning desire to develop solutions for tackling the pressing needs of today's world. It is this entrepreneurial spirit that has led us to the ethereal world of Indian fashion and starting https://shoptheramp.com, where we believe we can make the most difference. The biggest scope for improvement in this industry lies in the technology and distribution part rather than in the creative side where there is no dearth of talent.
STR: Our vision is to harness the power of technology to put the Indian fashion industry firmly on the global fashion map. We will be leveraging our fresh perspective as well as technology and business expertise to help us realize this vision. That means challenging the current accepted way of doing things at every step and adding value at each of these steps.
STR: It is extremely important to provide something new and different to the customer to capture their attention. We have achieved that first step through our unique business model that allows fashionistas the opportunity to pre-order next season's collections of top Indian designers and get them before anyone. But in today's world it is important to not rest on your laurels and constantly innovate to stay ahead of the competition. We are currently in the process of rolling out a whole new host of features to enhance the current customer experience.
STR: We have adopted a combination of digital, print and offline marketing strategies. Some of these are focused directly on growing sales while others help us increase brand recognition and consumer trust.
STR: To become a member of our website, an individual can either apply for membership or be invited. A regular member can invite only upto 5 other people. An Affiliate however, can invite an unlimited number of people through a special track-able link which he/she can circulate in their network. With the help of this unique link we can track which members have come through a particular partner affiliate network and reward them accordingly. From the blogger's perspective, they can inform their readers about a new, unique service while generating potentially unlimited revenue at the same time.
STR: A rich network along with a good business proposition is key to bringing top designers on board. To maintain the relationship, enhancement of their brand value and achievement of their objectives is key. This has worked well for us so far and would hopefully continue to do so in future.
STR: It has been extremely well received so far. Customer feedback is critical for a new business and we have managed to get some excellent suggestions for improvement. We will be implementing these along with some new features soon.
STR: It has been a steep learning curve, to say the least. We have experienced a number of extreme highs and lows that have only added to the excitement of our journey. We are a self-funded company but have begun talks to secure a round of funding that is essential to keep us on our high-growth trajectory.