How an entrepreneur, salesman and banker join hands to build a fashion discovery platform

14th Aug 2015
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While the e-commerce bubble in the country has produced a whole range of fashion platforms, the team at HeyLeela believes that today, the women's fashion space is fragmented. Started by a salesman, entrepreneur and a banker, this platform lets women discover and shop handpicked products from curated stores.

"As a team, we discovered a gap in the market for a fashion product that brings together small and medium-sized stores onto a single platform, delivering curated, personal shopping experiences for women," says Aditya Kothari, Co-founder of the online fashion curation platform.

The workings

At HeyLeela, the team handpicks stores and products that are not available anywhere else. Most of the stores that are currently on the platform do not list with marketplaces, thus making it difficult for consumers to discover these products. Aditya adds that it also is a tedious and difficult process for consumers to switch across portals to pick what they want.

"Apart from product discovery we work very closely with the stores, so that they can create curated collections of products for their users. What we eventually want to do is allow stores to build a community on our platform; this will bring a fundamental change to how consumers and store owners interact with each other, eventually making the whole shopping experience very personal," says Aditya.

Pivot and shift

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Aditya Kothari (Left) and Ajay Mathew (Right)

Ajay Mathew who was running a SaaS based venture was a client to Kiran Kumar, who had 14 years of experience with some of Australia's biggest banking companies. The duo had started working on Pricify.

In the meantime, Aditya with his experience in sales and marketing was looking to start on his own. "I met Ajay at an event and we got chatting, and we discussed the idea of HeyLeela," says Aditya. This is how the pivot from Pricify to HeyLeela happened. The team was soon accepted into JFDI's accelerator programme, and was able to build and test an MVP. It then started working on a scalable solution for HeyLeela which was released into the market a month ago.

Aditya says HeyLeela gives the consumer ease of finding products without any clutter or too many unwanted features. He adds that monopoly would be hard for any player, given the size of the Indian market.

Traction and future plans

"We believe the quality of content that would be available on our app is going to set us apart from the competition, along with our long term vision on community building and strategic partnerships planned for the future," says Aditya. The goal is to continually add more high quality stores, products and constant improving of the user experience on the app.

The addressable market would be women between the ages 18 and 30 looking for fast fashion products/boutique items. The primary focus markets at this stage are Tier I and Tier II cities.

"We are on-boarding small to mid-sized stores that already have a web presence but not a mobile app. To begin with, we are going to charge a transaction fee to merchants for every successful transaction that happens via HeyLeela and premium store front features charged on a SaaS Model," says Aditya.

The online fashion market

The time of marketplaces is gradually moving towards a more discovery and curation platform. Recently Yebhi pivoted to a discovery model, and other fashion discovery platforms like Wooplr, Red Polka and Roposo have raised funds. The Indian online fashion market is believed to touch USD 35 billion by 2020.

If Google India research is to be believed, then every third shopping search on Google from India is fashion related, and queries in this particular category is said to be growing at 66 per cent YOY.

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