Trying to explain to investors, many of them men, is a challenge because there will never be a relation to my product or offering. Also, there is a huge focus in funding towards ‘top line’, ‘mass’, ‘quick growth’ businesses rather than ‘profitable’, ‘niche’ and ‘exclusive’ businesses.
For someone who can be truly called as India’s first bra fitter or the India Bra Queen, Arpita Ganesh has come a long way from explaining investors(as mentioned above, an excerpt from an interview taken last year) to raising angel funding. Her innovative lingerie brand Buttercups has raised angel investment from Kanwaljit Singh, Angie Mahtaney and others. The Bengaluru-based company was earlier crowd funded given its large customer base.
With more than six years of experience in lingerie, having personally fitted more than 3,000 women and consulted for (and retailed) numerous Indian and international brands, Arpita aims to create a lingerie brand that will help women find their right size, fits and styles, all at affordable prices. Currently beta launched with select styles in more than 20 sizes in bras, (all 40 sizes will be available by July’15), Buttercups plans to launch collections in all facets of Intimate wear by next year.
According to Kanwaljit, intimate wear is a large market with very few branded players and Buttercups has a unique business model and a domain expert founder in Arpita. He believes that Buttercups can build a leading brand in the category. Now an advisor on the Buttercups board, Kanwaljit also sits on the boards of Yepme, Lifecell, Mast Kalandar, Qwikcilver and others.
A unique selling point of Buttercups is the personalized fitting process, both online and offline.
A specialized questionnaire before purchase on the brand website, helps customers understand their bodies and find their Buttercups size, also showing them styles suited to their body type.
The “Fitting Room” is differentiated by the intensive Fitting session with highly trained fitters, who help customers with understanding their size and style, equipping them to make educated choices in their intimate wear purchases.
The funding and the funders
The angel funding is being utilized to develop the brand, enhance backend manufacturing and help Buttercups expand its product offering. The company will be focusing as much on customer education as providing quality products. Buttercups aims to capture a significant chunk of the Indian lingerie sector that is currently growing at 42% a year (CAGR).
Angie Mahtaney, CEO of K Mohan, an experienced garments manufacturing firm, says,
I invested in Buttercups as I understand the struggle Indian women go through to find the right fit and size of bras and intimate wear. Buttercups clearly aims to solve this critical problem, with its unique online/offline model, making it a key differentiator in this fast growing space.
Sridhar Viswanathan, who is an expert in sourcing lingerie and has had his own Apparel buying house for over twenty years, and Manoj Varghese, currently Dean at XIME Cochin and a former HR director at Google Asia and a Director at Facebook India, are among others who have invested in Arpita’s visionof creating a quality brand and a great business opportunity.
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