Spanx, silk, and sensible cotton: these six women have redefined innerwear business in India with their lingerie brands

Here are the founders who have helped Indian women embrace their femininity with delicate lingerie, sensible sportswear, and shapewear for everyday needs.

Give a girl the right lingerie and she can conquer the world, goes a popular saying. Gone are the days when innerwear used to be considered just mandatory pieces of clothing not to be seen, and definitely not to be talked of.

Lingerie has got its rightful place in a woman’s wardrobe with a slew of brands catering to her tastes and needs. Throw that ill-fitting bra out of the window, and let a popular brand measure the right one for you. Want to look in great shape? There’s shapewear just perfect for your body. You are certainly spoilt for choice!

Who better understands lingerie than a woman herself? Underwires, bralettes, shorts, cups, and more importantly, comfort?

We present to you seven women who have redefined the innerwear business in India with their unique offerings.

Buttercups’ Arpita Ganesh

Arpita Ganesh - Founder of Buttercups

She is known as India’s bra queen. We are talking of Arpita Ganesh and her lingerie brand, Buttercups, available at innovative lingerie boutiques (both offline and online) in India. Besides retailing the world’s finest curated lingerie brands, Buttercups has made choosing lingerie a lot easier. From personalised sizing, fitting, to consultations based on every woman’s requirements, they care for you and how you feel in your underwear. Introducing the concept of fitting rooms with lingerie experts for assistance, creating a product line, and using a multi-channel strategy for acquisition and retention are some of the tactics that have helped the brand make its mark.

Also read: Indian Bra Queen is on a mission. Are you joining her?

Zivame’s Richa Kar

Back in 2011, when talking about lingerie was still taboo in India, one woman went on to start Zivame, a leading player in the online retail lingerie business, so that women don’t feel embarrassed to walk into stores to buy intimates. Richa is a graduate of BITS Pilani and has a Master’s from Narsee Monji Institute of Management STudies (NMIMS), following which she worked in the IT sector and also with Limited, the company that owns Victoria’s Secret. Zivame offers a wide range of products for women including lingerie, activewear, and women’s apparel through its online and offline platforms. In 2017, Richa stepped down as CEO, but continues to be a member of the board at Zivame.

Clovia’s Neha Kant

Neha Kant - Founder of Clovia

After a decade’s worth of experience in corporate India, Neha Kant decided to take the plunge into entrepreneurship and started Clovia, a lingerie brand along with her husband. During her travels abroad, Neha found that there existed a gap in intimate wear for women in India. With Clovia, she wanted to offer women quality, fashionable, and affordable lingerie. With an in-house designing and sourcing team, Clovia produces its own products with imported fabrics, lace, and satin. Clovia offers a variety of styles going upto 200 styles per month.

Also read: Say no to drab lingerie says Neha Kant, the Founder of Clovia

SimpleBra’s Madhavi Jagdish

Madhavi Jagdish - Founder of SimpleBra

In 2012, Madhavi Jagadish was in London and was looking for the right bra. "I went from store to store trying to find the perfect combination of padded, wire-free, and light-weight bras,” she says. Discomfited, she returned to the US, where she was working, only to be more disappointed. Madhavi simply wanted the bra she'd been wearing all her life - one that seemed to be a uniquely Indian make. So, in 2013, Madhavi decided to re-create the bra herself. The same year, she incorporated SimpleBra, and officially launched the brand in June 2014. After receiving dozens of samples from factories in Asia, and many more Skype conversations with seamsters, Jagdish finally found Doug, a manufacturing agent in Hong Kong, to manufacture for her.

Inner Sense’s Neerja Lakhani

Neerja Lakhani - Co-founder, Inner Sense

Neerja Lakhani launched Inner Sense in 2014, which she claims to be India’s first premium organic antimicrobial lingerie. Inner Sense is the flagship brand of Green Ideology, an organic cotton and bamboo fibre manufacturing company, founded by Neerja along with Abhishek Lodha. Started with eight styles, Inner Sense now has more than 60 styles in primarily two products – brassieres and panties. It has padded, non-padded, wired, non-wired, and cushioned bras in myriad colours and prints. The panties’ line has bikinis, thongs, boy shorts, and cheeky styles. The brand is also all set to launch a capsule collection of night/lounge wear.

Xcellent’s Raksha Shetty

Raksha Shetty - Founder of Xcellent

When Raksha Shetty found that the plus-size market was largely ignored in India, she dedicated several months to researching apparel retail - specifically the plus-size market - and chalked out model after model to make a profitable entry into this space. An online ecommerce portal for plus-size clothing, Xcellent, founded by Raksha, houses both womenswear and menwear, across the Indian, western, casual, couture wear, innerwear, sleepwear, and sportswear categories. Its sizes start from ’L’ and goes up to 8XL. It also plans to introduce the largest online sizes available in India – 9XL and 10XL – shortly. Eighty percent of its products are produced in-house, while 20 percent are sourced externally.


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