This homegrown kids clothing brand is the preferred choice of celebrities and regular moms alike
Parents of little children who grew up in the 80s and 90s in India are familiar with the woes of shopping for nice clothes for their kids. The dearth of occasion wear led many families to stitch clothes themselves inspired by what they saw on movies and TV shows, while others relied on gifts from family members who lived abroad.
Fortunately, things have changed now and we have access to beautiful homegrown kidswear labels. One of the prominent brands is Mumbai-basedhelmed by Poonam S Sanghvi, Raina Shriwaardankar, and Viinii K Doshi, which began in 2018.
“The three of us have been working together since our college days and have collaborated on many projects, which always did well in terms of academic grades. As entrepreneurs too, we decided to join hands. We all have kids, and it was a unanimous decision to start a venture that revolved around kids. As mothers, we realised there are several brands for kids but still there is a dearth of dresses that offer the best quality and fits,” say the founders in a chat with YSWeekender.
The genesis of the idea
Poonam has an MBA in International Marketing from London and has worked with major retail brands like Shoppers Stop, luxury car brands like Audi, and has even dabbled in event management. She was the marketing manager and organiser of events for Loreal India, and is known as a marketing expert, having been part of several successful projects in her career.
At Oui Oui, she handles the marketing division and works on PR development. An alumnus of the London School of Communication, she is also an active Lions Club member.
Raina has a bachelor’s degree in mass media (advertising) from GN Khalsa College and an MBA in retail from Chetna’s Institute of Management and Research. She recently received a certification in Luxury Brand Management from the London School of Trends. Raina has worked with brands like Shoppers Stop, Crossword, and Tresmode along with other international footwear brands. She has expertise in merchandising, ecommerce, and retailing and heads the sales and distribution of this business.
Viinii has a bachelor’s in mass media from KC College in Mumbai and has done a design course from the London School of Fashion. Her work experience varies across fields including the financial, telecom, and healthcare sector. She has nearly twelve years of experience working in corporates like Citi, Idea Cellular, Vodafone, and VLCC across roles like sales and service. A passionate fashionista herself, she particularly enjoys dressing her daughter. Her eye for detail and passion for clothes and styling, made her the ideal designer for brand Oui Oui.
This brand was the culmination of a long-held desire of these childhood friends to work together.
“We began by selling to friends and family and through social media - mainly Instagram. Today Oui Oui is a favourite among celebrity mothers and retails across all the major market places in India,” says Poonam.
Raina explains, “Oui Oui, which in French means ‘yes yes’, signifies our sentiment against the patriarchal system, which doesn’t see women as both mothers and entrepreneurs without judging them. Our story as three friends from college is very similar. We gave up our fledging corporate careers to be full time moms for a while, before setting out to be mompreneurs. We loved dressing up our little girls and decided to do it full time. This is our story of creating a label that is making a significant dent in the kidswear landscape in India.”
Viinii adds, “We hope to lead, innovate, and provide the best value products and services to glocal customers. We hope to make a difference through our clothing and styling by staying ahead of fashion trends, market changes and the latest technologies and providing comfort and quality. We hope to reach our target audience across India and abroad along with our growing ecommerce reach.”
Oui Oui caters to a pan-India clientele. The brand also ships abroad through direct orders, and is currently speaking to Namshi in the Middle East for a potential manufacturing collaboration on their private label.
All their products are designed in house and their manufacturing unit is in Dadar and Vasai. New collections are launched every three months.
The team describes their most popular items as their range of smart casuals, crop top sets, and party wear in pastel shades. Their customisations are also highly appreciated.
The products are priced from Rs 899 to Rs 4,500 depending on the style. Their online prices are capped at Rs 2,500, but customisations go up to Rs 4,500.
A large number of celebrities favour their designs, which have been spotted on Soha Ali Khan’s daughter Inaya Khemu, Neha Dhupia’s daughter Mehr Dhupia, Kareena Kapoor Khan’s son Taimur, Shilpa Shetty’s daughter, Karan Singh Bohra’s daughters, Lisa Ray’s twins, and Shobha De’s granddaughter, among others.
Direct competitors of Oui Oui include brands like Fairies forever, Ruckiaa the Label, Panchi Couture, and Picolo. However, each brand has its unique design sense.
Challenges and growth
“Getting investments and funds have been a major challenge for us. Initially, we were self-funded, but now the banks and our family are helping us expand,” shares Poonam with candour.
According to data published by the IMARC Group, the Indian kids apparel market reached a value of $16.4 billion in 2020 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 14.5 percent from 2021-2026.
Oui Oui started with a bootstrapped investment of Rs 30,000 per partner, and has grown steadily since then.
Raina shares, “We started with 5-10 orders a month, and today we dispatch around 6,000 pieces a month, which include Instagram sales, through our website ouioui.in, and through third party websites like FirstCry, Nykaa, Hopscotch, and Amazon. We also do private label manufacturing for FirstCry and Hopscotch, and will soon be tying up with Reliance and Myntra.”
Word spreads through Instagram, Facebook, personal recommendations, third party portal promotion, fashion weeks and celebrity endorsement. The co-founders believe the high level of adoptions from celebrities who share their outfits on social media gives the brand a lot of visibility.
The team hopes to eventually have their own boutique stores, and offer a made-to-measure bespoke service to their customers.
Winning the Google and ‘She Entrepreneur’ awards in 2021 was the high point of their business journey so far.
Viinii signs off saying, “Once we have more support in terms of funding for our website, we would love to push that medium. We receive many orders on our website without any publicity or promotion and believe it is a huge untapped segment. Ideally, we would like to launch ten new styles every two months, and hope to get at least 100 orders per month from our own website.”
Edited by Megha Reddy