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Top 6 Indian fashion startups that haven't run out of style

As per an article published in Livemint, the overall Indian fashion e-retail market value is expected to touch $35 billion by 2020. Consequently, the Indian fashion industry is spawning numerous startups that are striving to capture more market share.

The modern fashion industry is not limited only to beauty and comfort but has become powerful enough to influence the society at large. Keeping pace with the latest styles amid your busy schedule and the ever-changing fashion trends isn't always practicable. However, the startup fashion houses mentioned in this post have used their knowledge, research findings and latest technology to bring the retail world to their customers' doorstep and enhance their shopping experience.

The success stories of these emerging entrepreneurs are excellent sources of motivation for upcoming business persons.

Here are top six fashion startups in India that have established their niche in the fashion world.

1) Voonik

Voonik is India's first stylist-handpicked fashion store for women, founded in 2013 by two former students of ISB, Hyderabad, Navaneetha Krishnan and Sujayath Ali. Voonik is a popular fashion e-shop that was designed with the objective of personalizing customers' shopping experience. The venture started out as a small team of two web developers and two stylists, but now has about 450 employees who have contributed to building a customer base of 10 million registered users and enabled 8 million app downloads.

Voonik works on a lean business model and with zero inventory and fulfillment centers. The e-commerce startup claims to showcase over 15 lakh products from 15,000 registered retail stores. A recent report revealed that the firm has accrued an annual gross merchandise volume of over $80 million.

2) BlueStone

BlueStone is currently the number-one online jewellery destination that aims at revolutionizing the jewellery shopping experience. It was founded by Gaurav Singh Kushwaha, an alumnus of IIT Delhi. Gaurav used his entrepreneurial skills to make people more comfortable with making high-value purchases online. He addressed this concern by introducing the 'Home Try-On' initiative in which customers can try the product in the comfort of their home before purchasing it.

BlueStone has immense scope due to the high value of the products and a dearth of larger players in the same niche. With an average order size of INR 25,000 and a larger design selection than any player in the market, BlueStone is on its way to establish itself prominently in the online fashion jewellery category.

However, since jewellery is a high-value item, the category posed challenges like high inventory, insurance, and logistics costs. BlueStone has managed to overcome these challenges by taking a few cautious decisions like following a complete in-house model.

3) Roposo

This Gurugram-based fashion startup was conceptualized in 2014 with the aim of becoming the 'Facebook' of fashion for women. Roposo specializes in fashion categories like apparels, footwear, accessories, and lingerie.

The three co-founders, Mayank Bhangadia, Avinash Saxena, and Kaushal Shubhank are IIT Delhi alumni, who started out with the intention of offering relevant e-solutions to their customers' fashion requirements. They started Giveter.com, an online gifting portal, under the company Relevant e-solutions Pvt. Ltd. This site offered them insights into the fashion preferences of modern women. Consequently, they realized that women had to surf multiple websites to meet their fashion requirements.

This discovery led them to launch Roposo that is positioned as a democratic fashion platform for women. On this portal, women can share their style stories, and curate and discover new trends. Today, Roposo enjoys over 2 lakh posts per month from more than 12.5 lakh subscribers, which include Bollywood actors, sports icons, and famous fashion designers.

4) LimeRoad

LimeRoad is similar to an online fashion scrapbook which allows you to create your own look by choosing from products showcased by over 1500 vendors and share it online. Founded by Suchi Mukherjee, Prashant Malik, and Ankush Mehra, the brand helps you discover other styles and buy/share them.

The business model they follow benefits all those involved - the customer gets a chance to exhibit his/her creativity and wins reward points, and the vendors end up selling more than one product as a part of 'the look'.

Presently, LimeRoad has 40,000 active shoppers who create 20 lakh looks per month on average. LimeRoad works on a simple marketplace model, where the cost is kept low by keeping the majority of the operations technology-driven. They have a total team strength of about 200 employees.

85 percent of LimeRoad's gross merchandise value comes from organic traffic and the rest is dependant on paid marketing efforts. According to a recent article published in Livemint, LimeRoad doubled its revenue in FY2016 with a growth rate of 173 percent against the previous year.

5) Craftsvilla

Founded in 2011 by Manoj Gupta and Monica Gupta, Craftsvilla aims at aggregating the supply of Indian crafts using the power of internet marketing. The biggest challenge they faced initially was that the artisans were doubtful about selling their products online. However, as more sellers joined and shared their success stories, their sales gained momentum.

Presently, this Mumbai-based startup is India's largest online marketplace for ethnic fashion products. Craftsvilla now offers over 4 million products in the category of clothing, footwear, handicrafts, and jewellery by over 25,000 artisans and designers across India. Manoj shares that a strong customer acquisition strategy and dependence on automated systems to track suppliers were crucial in ensuring that the startup became capital efficient. In present times, Craftsvilla stands tall in the ethnic e-commerce space.

6) Flyrobe

This innovative startup introduced in 2015 by IIT-Mumbai alumni Pranay Surana, Shreya Mishra and Tushar Saxena, is an online rental store for designer apparels and accessories. Flyrobe works on the concept that instead of spending a fortune on buying over-priced brands for one-time use, customers can rent them at 1/3rd of the price.

Presently, there is a massive latent demand for premium designer brands like Sabyasachi, Ritu Kumar, Armani, Hugo Boss, and Calvin Klein. Flyrobe offers its customers easy access to these first-rate brands and hence, is the most loved fashion rental platform in India.

The three entrepreneurs came up with the idea of offering an online on-demand wardrobe to customers which they can access easily without having to shell out big bucks to own it. Currently, Flyrobe rents out apparels and accessories through its website and mobile app, which has seen nearly 50,000 downloads.

Flyrobe acts as an experiential marketing platform for designers and is a great platform for customers to experience new brands and styles without worrying about the price tag.

The aforementioned fashion startups dared to be different by combining their innovative ideas and the latest technology to enhance customer shopping experience. They have redefined fashion and shopping in every sense. That's precisely why they're high on the list of fashion startups in India.

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Swara Segal is a freelance writer and blogger based in the Mumbai, India. She is immersed in the fashion industry and is the go-to-person for trend tips. In her free time, she loves to cook for family & friends and enjoy photographing nature on her cam.