Novice stylist tops sales in online fashion portals
Anubhav Gupta's degree says he is a computer engineer; his curriculum reads that he started a small development firm in Pune. However, at the moment his job has nothing to do with any of those. His story proves that it is never too late to reinvent yourself.
In 2012, dissatisfied with the work he was doing, Anubhav turned for advice to his father who had been working in garment export for more than 30 years. With an eye on the future, his dad told him to go for e-commerce, which was then starting to gain momentum. It was as if a light bulb got switched on in Anubhav's mind. He started researching the market, studying every casual wear brand available and eventually set up his online clothing brand which he named RIGO.
Driven only by the question: “What would I wear?” Anubhav designed an entire collection of casual men’s wear, without having any previous experience in the field. “I was told to hire a professional designer for the job,” he says, adding, “but I thought that the guys who will wear my clothes won’t be designers, so why shouldn’t I design for people like me.” So far, the bet has paid off. After two years of recession, in 2013-2014, the import-export of textiles and clothing grew by 25 per cent, mainly due to the boost that came from e-commerce.
After his brave experiment in designing, Anubhav turned all his focus on marketplaces and on building a customer base. Within a month, his team was invited to sell his products on Snapdeal. “Since 2012, we have joined almost all major e-commerce fashion portals like Jabong, Myntra, Flipkart, Amazon, and Limeroad,” he says.
Either RIGO delivers directly to the customer or via the fashion portal where the order has been placed. “We get paid for every order fulfilled minus the portal’s commission,” informs Anubhav, adding that the brand has never needed to look for funding.
RIGO products are manufactured in India and have recently expanded to include women’s clothing and accessories too. “Everything is designed inhouse,” explains Anubhav, adding, “We source raw materials from different parts of India and manufacture in Delhi with a three tier quality check process. We ensure that all products are of the same premium quality which means strict control over the manufacturing processes.”
The 20 members behind RIGO have a strong background in high fashion exports to Europe and US and, Anubhav says, that this helps bring the same work ethics to the domestic market. “We have a small and swift team, which is the secret of our efficiency,” he continues. In addition to that, temporary staff is also employed (through vendors) to look after some outsourced processes. “The best thing about our team is that they derive pride in our success,” he says.
Anubhav says one of the most exciting moments for him was when he joined Jabong. “It was the biggest fashion portal at that time and we were very pleased to be coming on board with them. We were told to expect 40-50 orders per day which was a good average number under normal circumstances. On the second day of the launch, we crossed 200 orders; on the third day we crossed 300 orders. We literally had to pull back when we touched 400 orders the next day due to inventory issues. The whole office was so excited. I was even called to Jabong’s office as they wanted to congratulate the company for this unexpected response.” Moreover, RIGO has been nominated for Microsoft Accelerator.
Anubhav says they have received tremendous response at all the portals where RIGO was which has encouraged him and his team to come up with an even better collection every time.” He explains that the company products have been priced economically with respect to major brands and the designs have been kept simple, which gives them considerable competitive advantage.
“Fashion is a tough business to be in,” argues Anubhav, “there will always be products that catch on and also products that are dead from day one. You can’t just sulk over lost products and need to move on. There are thousands of brands listed on these sites, and to be able to sell amongst them is not easy. This constant competition drives us to keep going ahead.”
“The more important thing I have learnt in the journey so far is not to get distracted by daily operations of the business,” feels Anubhav. RIGO is looking ahead at what's next. “Now that we are present at almost all the portals, we will start focussing on our own portal rigo.in. We plan to push the number of orders from the 300 we get each day to at least 1000 per day.”