This Mathura-based woman entrepreneur’s quirky idea won Rs 35 lakh funding on Shark Tank India
Malvica Saxena is the Founder of The Quirky Naari, a fashion and lifestyle startup that offers quirky and fashionable footwear and apparel. Her brand clocked average monthly sales in just 48 hours after she pitched at Shark Tank India.
Tuesday February 01, 2022,
4 min Read
As part of her MBA course in Mathura, Malvica Saxena won a business plan competition where she proposed a sustainable fashion accessories startup made out of scrap that she named Fashionista.
Her professors predicted she would be an entrepreneur one day and it seemed like a given because Malvica hails from a family of entrepreneurs.
Born and raised in Mathura, Malvica completed her entire education in the city itself.
“During my teens, there was no concept of online shopping, and I found it very difficult to find apparel and footwear that suited my quirky and offbeat tastes and preferences in the shops of Mathura. I found the market full of repetitive, boring, similar patterns,” she says.
In 2018, when she decided to launchwith handpainted shoes, she discovered that it was not a unique idea and she had to find a USP that would make her brand stand out among existing and established players.
Her research showed that brands making handpainted footwear did not focus on customisation and that could be perhaps her niche.
“I started an Instagram page from scratch. When I started, I did not have much money and at the age of 27, I didn’t want to ask my parents for financial assistance, as things were already cold between me and them,” she recalls.
Business is about risk
With an Instagram page that had no product pictures, Malvica used the HNHL (half now, half later) strategy and took only half the payment to cover her raw material cost. She requested the client to pay the other half, which “was my profit”.
“It was risky but business is about risk, right? I fulfilled the first 15-20 orders on this model. This built our credibility, elicited honest feedback, pictures from clients, and also built a product portfolio. After these, there was no going back,” she adds.
The other strategy was to look for celebrity collaboration, as millennials are strongly influenced by their favourite celebrities and influencers when it came to making a fashion statement.
In the initial two-three months, when people advised her to approach celebrities for collaboration, she often wondered which celeb would agree to wear painted shoes.
After six months, she received a favourable reply from Dipika Kakkar’s team for sneakers that she then wore in the Bigg Boss house.
“Till now, we have collaborated with Raveena Tandon, Sunny Leone, Adaah Sharma, Ranvijay Singha, Rubina Dilak, Asim Riyaj, Paras Chhabra, Anita Hasandani, and many more. The most important thing, being a small business, is that these were all barter collaborations; we haven’t spent a single penny on marketing. All the traction that we have received so far is purely organic,” she says.
The Quirky Naari offers a variety of footwear with its star products being bridal sneakers, handpainted sneakers, and handpainted jackets.
“Our aim is to cater to the customisation request of clients to give them a personal touch with attention to design language and fineness. The fun, colourful vibe of The Quirky Naari is pretty addictive. For example, you could have your own portrait on your jacket, or kids’ jackets could have their favourite cartoon and their name at the back,” she explains.
The Shark Tank India experience
Two years ago, a picture of a bride holding the brand’s bridal sneakers went viral, and featured on over 100 platforms, including Bridal Asia, wedmegood, popxowedding, and shaadisaga.
“Gone are the days when brides used to wear pokey heels. Contemporary brides love to stand out on their big day with our comfortable sneakers,” Malvica says.
So far, her brand has sold over 1,000 pairs of bridal sneakers.
From a one-woman army sourcing shoes, painting, and then despatching them, The Quirky Naari has now grown to a team of five.
The brand sells through its website, Instagram handle, and Facebook . It is also planning to increase its visibility via platforms like Nykaa. Its revenue so far is Rs 45 lakh.
Recently, Malvica pitched The Quirky Naari at Shark Tank India and received Rs 35 lakh in funding for 15 percent equity from Anupam Mittal and Vineeta Singh, the Sharks on the show.
She says it’s been a life-changing experience.
“After the episode was aired, our Instagram account saw 10,000 new followers in just 36 hours. Our website crashed, and we clocked our average monthly sales in just 48 hours. We still have over 1,500 inquiries to cater to.”
She is excited about the opportunities the show has brought her.
“Now there is no going back, onwards and upwards only. We are going to focus on our design language, which is our USP, and getting more designers and interns on board to make our supply chain efficient. The funding will help us to spend a big chunk on marketing,” Malvica says.
Edited by Teja Lele