Myntra Big Fashion Festival: How these women-led ethnic wear brands on Myntra are gearing up for the festive season
After what seemed like an arduous year dealing with the pandemic, consumer sentiments are looking positive ahead of the festive season. As they switch to their festive shopping mode,is all set to make their celebratory occasions even more special with its ongoing, and largest ever edition, of the Big Fashion Festival (BFF), to meet its customers’ fashion, lifestyle and beauty needs. Held between October 3-10, 2021, this edition allows customers to shop from the best of 7,000 brands offering over 10 lakh styles to elevate their festive wardrobe and ring in the festivity with style.
As much as BFF is looked forward to by the customers, it’s also a most-awaited fashion carnival for Myntra’s brand partners who get to showcase their latest collection and reach a large customer base. The fashion e-tailer’s ethnic wear brands are giving it their all to bring you an exciting shopping experience. In this edition of the Pathfinder series, we talk to three of Myntra’s brand partners to find out how the journey with Myntra came to be, and what's happening behind the scenes as they gear up for the 'Big Fashion Festival'.
Geroo Jaipur: Supporting India’s artisans
Neelam Jain, Founder and Creative Head of Geroo Jaipur, was always a designer at heart. As a teenager, she would cut out her mom's old sarees and sew them into dresses. With encouragement from family and friends, she took up a course in textile designing and that’s where she learnt the art as well as the efforts that go into handcrafted garments.
Her initial professional stint was selling her handcrafted saree collection at exhibitions before setting up a studio of her own, with an initial investment of Rs 10,000. Starting with 15 salwar kurtas, her brand now comprises 500+ styles bought by diverse clientele in Jaipur and beyond.
Sharing an interesting anecdote in the journey of her brand, Neelam proudly says, “My collection was showcased at a fashion show in Jaipur once, where the then Miss India and 14 other models wore my collection. They loved my clothes so much that my entire collection was bought out by this group.”
In 2015, Geroo Jaipur decided to get on board Myntra with 100 SKUs. After a few quarters with the platform, the team visited Neelam’s store in Jaipur and asked her to create 100 styles for Myntra. “Things have only moved uphill since then. My sales volume has been doubling every year,” says Neelam. Geroo Jaipur also received an award in 2020 for its sustainable offering.
With the festive season around the corner, the team is hoping to hit double sales growth as compared to last year. Since March, they have been working on R&D, creating fresh looks, designing styles and keeping up with the trends in demand. This year, with 500+ styles in their portfolio, the ethnic wear brand is focusing on organza, and adding bandhani, gota patti and other embellishments on it. They're also selling in different price brackets so that it’s affordable for a larger section of the market.
Neelam’s journey with Myntra has led her to explore Rajasthan’s fashion ecosystem. "Myntra empowers me with financial freedom and encourages me to take up challenges. It gave me a platform to display my creative designs, without a mountain of investment or store space. I could continue with handcrafts done by local artisans and add to their income which brings a smile on their faces," she says.
Neelam adds, "We now have a good digital presence all over India and the constant feedback from Myntra is helping us scale up and recraft better garments."
Chhabra 555: Keeping up with style statement clothing
The story of Chhabra 555 goes back to more than 60 years ago, with the name of the brand originating from the plot where the foundation was laid i.e. Shop No 555. From a small saree shop, today it has grown to be one of India's top wholesalers and retailers in the Indian ethnic wear space.
Third-generation entrepreneur Asheeta Chhabra has been instrumental in scaling the brand’s presence over the last few years. After completing her MBA from XLRI Jamshedpur and working with one of the top consulting firms, she moved on to join the family business. "I gained experience in various sectors, where I worked on establishing best practices and replicating them across industries. This helped me when I made the move to my family brand," she says.
Her association with Myntra came into being when her team was looking for a trusted partner to grow its online presence. “Being an active shopper on the platform, Myntra was a perfect match,” says Asheeta. They started with 100 SKUs on the platform, which were largely inspired by what they were selling in stores and specifically tailored for Delhi's retail consumers.
To cater to the larger audience through Myntra, they increased their catalogue size to 500 SKUs in 2015 and worked closely with the Myntra category team to launch the 'made to measure' lehengas, gowns, and suits. "Each garment is custom-made after the order comes in, and this line helped to replicate our store collections for the online space. We also managed to fulfill the previously unmet need for high-quality festive and wedding wear online," says Asheeta. Although Chhabra 555 started with highly embroidered wedding sarees, today their catalogue has evolved to include daily wear, festive wear, garments for a friend’s special functions, and so on.
When Asheeta entered the business, it was difficult to establish her presence in an extremely male-dominated industry. Moreover, replicating a highly unorganised fashion industry online was not easy. "With Myntra, it was a level-playing field for women like us to shine," she says. She adds that while Chhabra 555 is good at designing and production, they rely on the experts for marketing, and that’s where Myntra comes in, with its huge market presence.
The Chhabra 555 team is extremely excited for this year's Big Fashion Festival. Last year, people moved away from festive wear and were focused on daily wear. Witnessing a lot of demand this year in style statement pieces such as embroidered nets, peplum styling, belts with sarees, the brand has launched a new collection with 1,000 SKUs for BFF.
Saadgi: Creating self-employment for women in villages
A passion for entrepreneurship and the desire to spend more time with her family, made Deepika Bajaj, Founder, and CEO of Saadgi, leave her well-paying job as a wealth manager in a renowned bank in 2012. With a savings of Rs 5 lakh and a few credit accounts, she started a small-scale business at home ー ethnic apparel brand, Saadgi.
The entrepreneurship spirit runs in the family. Her dream was to set up a manufacturing unit for chikankari. This journey has been fulfilling, albeit not a smooth one. Her first big order was for 1000+ pieces. Owing to the increase in demand, she hired 10 women from the village to help with embroidery and set up a small place in Lucknow to run operations. The initial years in Deepika’s career have not been without challenges. Vendors wouldn't provide fabrics easily, and several of them asked her to sell the brand name to them. A lot of people even stole her brand name for their Facebook pages, until she decided to get the trademark registered.
The silver lining was when someone agreed to supply bulk fabric on 30 days credit. She rented a warehouse in Delhi and started working with small e-commerce platforms. "The punchline of my brand Saadgi is 'sound of my soul' and I'm very emotionally attached to it," she says. At this point, she grew her team to 95 people.
In 2015, Deepika got the opportunity to design 10 of her own samples for Myntra, which the team loved. She soon went live with 60 styles on the platform. At the time, there were limited chikankari players on Myntra and sensing the demand, she took a larger warehouse of 5,000 sq feet, which she has scaled since then. "I knew my brand would reach a premium segment with Myntra and that people would trust me as a fashion brand. Because when you think of fashion, you think of Myntra," she says.
Six months ago, the Saadgi team started preparing for the Big Fashion Festival and the festive season at large. “Festive period is the most awaited season for our team as it gives us an opportunity to create more value for our customers and at the same time, is a thriving time from a business standpoint,” says Deepika. "I block 100 percent inventory in Myntra as it's the first stop for customers who are looking for new fashion trends,” she adds. The brand's main USP is chikankari and for this year’s festive season, they have introduced a wide range of printed chikankari, which is new in India.
Myntra has been a key growth enabler for Deepika, from guiding her with quality checks to hosting webinars on handling orders and marketing to the right consumers.
Today, Saadgi has grown multifold, with 500+ styles, 230+ garment racks, and employing 300 women in villages. "I'll never forget how in December 2020, I achieved a turnover of Rs 21 lakh in a day. I give 100 percent focus on Myntra, as around 80 percent of my sales come from there," says Deepika.
She adds, "Myntra believes in class selling and not mass selling. If you want to develop as a fashion brand, you need to focus on Myntra where you get premium customers you wouldn’t get elsewhere.”