Have you ever heard of a mother driven with the burning desire of spreading her daughter’s name far and wide, and starting up to do just that?
Vedika Bhatia did just that. Named after her daughter, Vanya Creations, is an online women’s clothing company.
With Vanya coming to our lives I started facing challenges to go out and shop for my daughter and me because all our shopping schedules had to be squeezed into her sleep time – which is very unpredictable. I started to shop online and discovered that many women have similar experiences. This was my epiphany!
She continued to chew upon the idea and an ultimatum from her father and husband made her take the plunge.
This is not her first venture. Vedika’s career started with an event management firm. At that time the desire to do something of her own, led her to start her own company– Binary Consultants which she started in 2005 in Mumbai. Due to personal reasons she shut it down after three years and joined recruitment firms like Globaleprocure and Directi. She simultaneously started to pursue an executive MBA from NMIMS Mumbai. A Delhi girl, she graduated from Delhi University and did her post graduation in Public Relations and Communications and moved to Mumbai in 2002 after her marriage.
Three years ago she and her husband moved to Bengaluru.
HerStory spoke with Vedika about starting up and the multiple challenges that come with it.
The question of many
Vedika agrees that there are too many players in the market. A question she asked herself before startingup. “But I realized that exclusive products that are not available with anyone else (marketplaces included) at reasonable prices can help build a good business,” says Vedika.
According to her one needs a few happy customers initially and then business sets into motion. “Getting that first customer is tough but not impossible. The trick is to sell products that are low range initially to build trust and then increase the offering with higher value products gradually. I have built my business on customer trust and I will do whatever it takes to keep a higher bar on it.”
Playing to your strengths
My husband often tells people about me being sent to a room full of strangers and walking out with a bunch of friends.
Networking and building communities comes easily to Vedika. She loves to talk and meet people. “I rarely network to benefit directly – but always to build connections that are beyond just business,” she says.
This definitely gives an edge to Vedika, given the sector in which she operates.
Sector related challenges
Establishing trust and reputation in the online clothing retail is a challenge. “I remember the first week of business where we uploaded products and were twiddling our thumbs waiting for our first inquiry.”
Since Vanya is about women’s fashion, new designs and exclusivity also become important.
The most crucial problem in this sector according to Vedika, is ensuring that the clothing fits the customer well. “Over the months I have developed a novel way of building trust with my customer with regards to sizes – however that method is not very scaleable.”
After every purchase she follows up with her customers and tries to get feedback on material, fitting, delivery, etc.
For Vedika, the biggest challenge is collecting payments. “As most purchases are impulsive buys when it comes to fashion, customers interested in a product maybe hesitate to buy because of the technical challenges or the process of NEFT or Cash Deposit acts as a major deterrent.” To keep things simple, Vedika has introduced payments via credit card through a service provider and that, she says, “has helped a bit – but for a major part payment still is a major challenge.”
Social media and markets
Vedika’s marketing platforms are Whatsapp and Facebook. On the latter her venture enjoys a large following.
Her website is going to be launched shortly, her husband has also created a listing building site where she invites people to join her email list to keep them posted about new products and promotions.
Vedika draws a lot of support from her family. They are her pillars of support. While happy customers keep her motivated, it is the constant reminder from her family about her visions for making Vaanya Creations into an international brand that keeps her going.
- Delhi University
- higher value products
- online clothing retail
- Vanya Creations
- Vedika Bhatia