23-year-old launches NeceSera to reinvent loungewear for Indian womenAthira Nair
Inspired by the world, designed in Europe, and manufactured in Faridabad, NeceSera offers stylish, comfortable loungewear and nightwear made without hurting the environment.
At a glance
Founders: Riddhi Jain
Sector: Fashion retail
Problem it solves: High quality loungewear
Riddhi Jain was 23 years old when she returned home to Delhi after graduating from Emory University in Atlanta. Armed with a BBA degree in marketing and information systems and operations management, she was supposed to move to Mumbai for a job. But before that, Riddhi spent a month in Delhi helping with the family garment business and noticed that the apparel industry in India lacked high-quality comfortable loungewear.
“Be it every evening after work or every night for sleeping, we spend most of our time in loungewear. Despite this, the market is missing high-quality casual clothing,” she says.
This sparked an idea in her - creating nightwear for women, with the best quality fabrics and out-of-the-box designs. She named her venture NeceSera – derived from “necessary”. Also, she informs us, Sera translates into evening in Italian. “The ‘Sera’ in the name is prominent because eveningwear will always be an essential part of our brand,” Riddhi tells YourStory.
Soon, Riddhi put together her abstract photography, pictures of art, and even mosaic tiles to create NeceSera’s first mood board. “My initial idea was to do quirky nightwear. To differentiate ourselves and to give customers what they truly want, we decided to focus on fabrics and unique design strategies,” she recollects.
Bootstrapped, NeceSera launched in August 2017 with a small team of youngsters and experienced individuals, including freelancers.
A sustainable business model
Riddhi’s initial strategies were to make customers experience the products through multiple popup shops, as “touch and feel helps one understand the quality and what goes behind each garment”. Now NeceSera is moving to a more cost-effective online retail strategy along with some temporary offline presence.
According to Riddhi, online channels of sale are more cost effective while offline gives a quicker turnover.
NeceSera works with creative managers to ideate the concept of each collection. The designing is done in Europe for an international aesthetic. Once the mood boards for each design are ready, the graphic designers work on the prints. Mood boards tend to include all kinds of inspirations, including pictures of travels, flowers, and food.
Their manufacturing is in-house in Faridabad, which helps ensure quality and a sustainable manufacturing process. All raw materials come from units near their manufacturing facility, which makes production easy to manage.
An environmentally conscious effort
NeceSera is environmentally conscious, too. For instance, on an average, it takes 2,700 litres of water to make one T-shirt, including processes like dyeing, washing etc. But at NeceSera’s in-house manufacturing unit, 70 percent of the water is recycled.
Also, they use digital printing, which, as compared to regular printing, has much lesser chemical discharge, water consumption, and leads to much lesser wastage overall. “Even though this is costlier, it helps us minimise our carbon footprint and provide better quality products to our customers,” Riddhi says.
Every season, they also work on 10-15 styles in upcycled collections, which reuse and put together smaller quantities of leftover fabrics in perfectly good condition, which would’ve otherwise gone waste.
NeceSera uses three materials, all ideal for sensitive skin:
- Modal with Spandex, which is the softest and ideal for sleepwear.
- Pima Cotton, the most durable version of cotton, ideal for loungewear and sleepwear.
- Cotton and Modal with Spandex, which gives a softer texture to the durable Pima cotton.
Every three months, NeceSera experiments with a new collection of fabric variants. They are set to introduce a range of natural antibacterial fabric now. The startup sources sample fabrics from fabric fairs across the world, and then works on developing new combinations with the help of suppliers in India.
Necesera targets women of age 18 and above as Riddhi believes that women of all age groups need loungewear. NeceSera competes with all loungewear and nightwear brands in and outside India, including Zivame, Marks and Spencer, Oysho etc., and also brands like Zara, which have a section of basic clothing.
“We aim to be the one-stop shop for everything comfortable, so any brand that has high-quality basic clothing or quirky printed pajamas would be our competition,” Riddhi says. But she is quick to add that NeceSera’s designing process is unique.
“Every design has a story that is first researched, ideated, and finally hand-painted and/or virtually drawn before it comes together as the colourful print that you see,” she claims.
Under loungewear, NeceSera has two main categories - nightwear and basic wardrobe essentials. So far, they have launched two collections with around 100 SKUs. Their prices range from about Rs 500 for T-shirts to Rs ,2800 for entire sets. The average basket size is around Rs 1,800-2,000.
Riddhi says NeceSera will soon be profitable. While every metric is important, for NeceSera, at this stage one of the most important metrics is customer retention rate as it shows the trust that customers are putting into NeceSera. And Riddhi intends to build on that.