This couple started their second venture to offer inclusive western workwear for women amidst the pandemic

Based in Mumbai and launched by Purvi and Rohit Pugalia, Not So Pink claims to be a body-positive brand offering western workwear for women with size options ranging from XS to XXXL.
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Purvi Rohit Pugalia has donned many hats – she’s been an educator, an entrepreneur, and a handwriting and signature expert doing forensic-related consultation work. As a young and ambitious woman, the only hindrance for her had been finding the right western workwear for Indian body types. 

“I might like something for myself but won't get it in a plus size. Most are restricted to small, medium, large, and sometimes, XL. Even when the sizes are right, they wouldn’t fall very well on our body types,” she tells HerStory

This led to the start of Not So Pink, a Mumbai-based inclusive brand that offers women’s western wear in sizes ranging from extra small to XXXL. The brand name, she says, is an attempt at breaking the stereotypes around pink being a colour for girls and women. 

The journey

Purvi, who holds a bachelor's degree in English and education, and her husband and Co-founder Rohit Mohan Pugalia are serial entrepreneurs. They founded Soch Foods, a healthy snacking brand, in 2016. 

They began working on Soch retail last year and launched Not So Pink and a range of products in its first season in August this year. Testing waters in the market, manufacturing and design work was outsourced to facilities in Delhi and Mumbai.

With a team of six people, it now has in-house designers who are working on the next season's launch. 

Indian women have an appetite for colourful clothes that international brands like Marks & Spencer and Allen Solly fail to cater to. “The western world may not be used to bold colours, but colour is a big part of everything we do in India,” Purvi says.

Starting at Rs 2,500, the products are available on its website. The team hopes to list them on ecommerce platforms like Myntra soon. 

A few designs by Not So Pink

Building consumer rapport

Amidst an increasing number of D2C brands thronging the ecommerce space, many women entrepreneurs are building unique apparel that no longer conform to fashion trends dictated by the runway models, whether it is the loungewear or everyday workwear market. 

In fact, India was the sixth largest market for women’s apparel in 2020, according to Statista.  Domestic market sales from women’s fashion accounted for a whopping Rs 1,313 billion in 2018 while the market size for men’s apparel stood at Rs 1,564 billion.

Add to this the ecommerce playground that is expected to reach $99 billion by 2024, and it only seems fitting that Purvi is betting on the market even though her startup was launched amid the pandemic when demand for workwear was not the highest. 

"The offices had not completely opened up and the festive sale season was going on but things are opening up now," she says, adding that the launch products cannot be sold at discounted prices.

Purvi and Rohit had been ideating on launching the western wear brand before the pandemic and the COVID-19 pandemic, especially a harsh second wave in India, affected timelines. 

“Although we would have liked to launch earlier than August, the situation wasn’t ideal and we had to go with the flow,” she says.

In its initial phase now with 75 SKUs, Not So Pink is focused on building consumer trust. “There are orders but we cannot comment on the figures yet," she says. Its only revenue source is from sale of products and it shares the market space with homegrown brands like Label Life and Fable Street, among others.

The team is leveraging social media platforms to build trust and brand awareness among consumers.

While Purvi says she has been lucky enough not to face any gender biases to a large extent, the entrepreneur says there are people who will always weigh you down for being a woman but having a business and life partner who is on the same page has “made all the difference”. 

Edited by Teja Lele Desai

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