How these sisters are disrupting the billion-dollar kidswear market with an organic clothing business
Greendigo Co-founders - Barkha Bhatnagar Das (L) and Meghna Kishore (R)
Living consciously and in a manner that is environmentally sustainable was the inspiration behind Greendigo. Founders Meghna Kishore and Barkha Bhatnagar Das, both belonging to corporate backgrounds, saw a gap in kids wear. The duo realised that the ones available in the market contained a lot of synthetic fibres, toxic materials, dyes etc., which cause health hazards. They quit their jobs in HDFC Ltd. and Axis Bank respectively to start a business rooted in organic textiles with an initial investment of Rs 15 lakh.
The Mumbai-based brand started its operations in August 2019. Greendigo is an organic clothing brand for kids up to the age of 12 years. In a few months, they have over 500 customers with 20-22 percent being repeat customers.
After completing their MBA, the two sisters, who were riding on different career paths,
were brought together by something significant.
Meghana says, “My daughter had a lot of skin issues. That’s when I figured that garments for kids in India are not that great.”
Because the ones in the market lacked quality and would trigger allergies and rashes, she would have to often rely on relatives who were travelling abroad to bring some quality garments for her daughter.
Barkha says, “We both are very conscious of living responsibly. We believe in making eco-friendly and sustainable choices in our day-to-day life. That is a common factor that brought us together.”
An environmentally sustainable business model
The clothes provided by Greendigo are termed as capsule-wardrobe friendly (clothes that don’t go out of fashion).
Owning good quality yet a limited number of garments which can be easily mixed and matched to create multiple looks and outfits is something that Greendigo endeavours to produce through the concept of the capsule-friendly wardrobe.
Meghna feels that fundamental thought behind the same is to own classic pieces without getting swayed away by empty fashion trends and fads.
Meghna and Barkha are of the thought that even though the concept is limited to adults it can also be followed by kids. It has several benefits including cost-saving, superior quality, durability, among other things.
“We as a brand advocate shopping for good-quality clothes which are long-lasting, durable, wash and rewash well and most importantly, remain evergreen because of their classic designs,” she explains.
With this vision, these women entrepreneurs are out to disrupt the billion-dollar kidswear market. Barkha says, “In 2013, kidswear, at $ 8.3 billion, alone contributed 20 percent of India’s apparel market, but given its higher growth rate, this share is expected to increase to 22 percent by 2023.”
Delving into the process
Greendigo claims to use 100 percent organic cotton sourced from farmers of Chetna Foundation in Orissa. The seed sown by the farmer is not genetically modified nor is it treated chemically. The produce of the farmer, as a result, largely remains devoid of any artificial fertilisers and synthetic pesticides. Traditional methods are taken up while farming and to maintain the fertility of the soil. This, further, eliminates the penetration of toxic materials and harmful circumstances at all stages of manufacturing.
Even the colours being used for dyeing or printing the garment do not contain harmful substances. Moreover, to ensure that quality standards are maintained, the entire supply chain is audited by the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), a body that does quality checks on organic textiles. All products by Greendigo are GOTS certified. The pouches in which these garments are packaged are also made from organic cotton.
All the products are manufactured in GOTS certified third-party manufacturing units present in Mumbai, Noida and Kolkata.
Challenges and the way forward
Greendigo sells through the website and also ecommerce platforms such as Amazon and Flipkart.
“We are reasonably, competitively priced,” says Barkha. She also added that urban parents nowadays are shopping from international brands like GAP, Mothercare etc.
According to Barkha and Meghna, the market for kids clothing is not very crowded and by their own admission, they would want more people to come up in the Indian organic or sustainable industry. Meghna says this is a category which is “waiting to get created in India.”
The duo plans to expand and also adopt the brick and mortar setup. Meghna says, “We are looking at presence in large-format retail stores and multi-brand outlets in India and overseas.”
According to Barkha, there is a rising awareness among urban parents and they want to know the backstory behind the clothes their children are wearing. Coupling the kind of clothing parents want for their children with social and environmental consciousness is what will shape the business strategy of Greendigo in the coming times.