The sheer size of Amna Abbasi's wardrobe always had her appalled -- nothing to wear, and no place to keep her clothes in. On casual bickerings over brunches and high tea, it dawned upon her that this is a universal issue with women. “I saw a lot of my female friends facing the common problem of closet overflow. Being impulsive shoppers by nature, we were spending a lot on clothes and not wearing them,” says Amna Abbasi, Founder and CEO of Etashee.
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Going forward she found that an average woman wears only 50% of her wardrobe and the rest of the clothes keep languishing eating up precious space in the wardrobe. “It seemed to be a great opportunity to take that other 50% and monetize it,” she adds.
With a vision so strong and mind so poised, she decided to address this grave issue and brought together a team of talented individuals to translate her dream into reality. Hence came into existence Etashee.com. It’s an online platform for all those women who are clueless about what to do with their ‘new’ clothes not worn anymore.
“I have a wardrobe full of items that were either bought for a specific occasion or no longer fit me or do not match my taste anymore. As most of them are in perfectly good condition, I find them hard to give away just like that,’’ says Apoorva Gupta, an ardent fashion follower. She loves shopping and is thrilled to find a place where she can get rid for her unworn clothes while enjoying some easy money for buying new ones.
The platform is also beneficial for those who love designer pieces but sadly cannot afford them. At Etashee, they can score some exquisite designer treasure while staying light on their pockets.
Unlike OLX and ebay, Etashee is focused exclusively on fashion items, thus reaching out to a more targeted and niche audience. The company offers two approaches for selling. “Interested seller can either go for direct sale which is free of cost or opt for concierge sale where we charge a minimal commission of 15% to collect, photograph, describe and feature the products on the website while ensuring payment delivery and authentication of product quality,” explains Amna.
What makes Etashee really close to Amna's heart is its progressive virtue. We are aware that the lifestyle product manufacturing is causing depletion of resources. One t-shirt or denim requires more than 10 litres of water for washing. By encouraging the society to opt for pre-owned products, we are making fashion and lifestyle more sustainable.
Started in November last year, Etashee currently has an 18 member team spread across Noida and Delhi. The venture also raised funding of INR 5 crore from a Delhi based business group.
On asking if the concept of using 'pre-owned products' is a little far fetched in the Indian context, Amna responds, "With the changing times, our mindset is also undergoing a sea change." Internationally, renting fashion is commonplace. If we are not sensitised about environmental consequences, doomsday is not far. The younger lot is especially more open to the idea of reuse. They have seen how their mother's priceless pieces have gone to waste rotting in suitcases for decades. The new generation knows how to strike a balance between sentimental value and utilitarian value of something."
The online apparel rental space has seen a few attempts over the past four years. Secret Wardrobe was probably the first online rental service for designer wear, where designer outfits and accessories are available on a rental basis at a fraction of the actual retail price.
Besides Secret Wardrobe, Wrapd is another startup evangelizing apparel renting space. It offers party-wear and wedding-wear on rent for men and women. The online apparel renting space seems to be interesting as young Indians tend to rent party and specific occasion wear. However, scale is a big issue with online apparel renting and above startups having to struggle to find decent growth in the coming days.