This sustainable brand offers maternity outfits that can last beyond pregnancy
As young mothers juggle professional, personal, and social commitments, their pregnancy and post-partum period is no longer considered one of ‘confinement’. Changes in lifestyle and inspiration from the west has encouraged Indian women to look stylish while staying practical and comfortable when they are expecting.
Couple-prenuers Mitali Jaggi Sood and Samir Sood launched their organically sourced and sustainable maternity-wear line MISASO this year in response to this need.
“Most brands in the Indian market are still offering ill-fitting, loose dresses and frumpy gowns for women who are expecting. We wanted to address the changing mindset of Indian women as well as their pain points. Many moms shared that they sought maternity clothes that are wearable even after delivery and those that mimicked western maternity styles. We observed a strong motivation for women to embrace their maternity curves, and not hide behind tent-like garments!” shares Mitali.
Image courtesy: Misaso
MISASO offers styles that can be worn during pregnancy, nursing, and even after delivery, ensuring a wide appeal for its offerings.
Its designs have been spotted on celebrities and influencers like designer Nishka Lulla, film producer Nehaa Mishra, fitness maven Zoe Modgill, and actress Aditee Malik, among others.
In a candid chat with YSWeekender, Mitali and Samir share what their brand stands for.
MISASO represents the creative union of an enterprising couple. Samir is a passionate entrepreneur and startup enthusiast who has worked with marquee brands like Airtel and Jabong, and spent the last five years in startups working in the energy and recruitment space.
Mitali is a seasoned digital marketing professional, who graduated from McGill University, Canada, and began her career at Edelman. Over the past decade, she has worked with numerous brands, including PepsiCo and Samsung.
Their creative outlook and approach towards business is similar on many counts, allowing them to divide their roles easily. Samir manages sourcing, production, and delivery, while Mitali leads product design and marketing. Though the entrepreneur couple always wanted to start something meaningful together, MISASO came as a ‘eureka’ moment while exploring a mall one day.
“Our idea led us to survey Delhi-based malls and markets, speak to several moms as well as carry out the usual business analysis. We discovered that the maternity wear market in India is valued at over Rs 2,000 crore and the segment is growing at around 15-17 percent year-on-year. In fact, a number of startups have entered the space and even international maternity brands are breaking-in to India,” explains Samir.
Image courtesy: Misaso
The duo soft-launched the clothing line in February 2021 with a capsule collection, which included maternity and infant clothes. After successfully testing the feasibility of starting a business in the midst of a pandemic, they launched their first official collection in July this year.
Though they are based in New Delhi, their manufacturing and sourcing partners are located across India. While the duo handle everything independently, they have tied up with partners for sourcing, manufacturing, technology, and logistics.
Pillars of the brand
Along with being an amalgamation of Mitali and Samir Sood, the name MISASO also stands for:
- MI for Made-in-India -- highlights the Indian aspect of production, from the use of organic cotton sourced from the south to their team being located across the country.
- SA stands for a Sustainable Alternative to clothing that is usually discarded. Their focus is on creating styles that women can wear over and over again, long after their babies are born.
- SO means Sourced Organically, as 90 percent of its products are made with natural fabrics such as GOTS certified organic cotton, which shuns pesticides. The team believes that safe, non-toxic fabrics are better for their customers, their babies, and the environment.
Some of the other brands operating in the space include MomzJoy, Wobbly Walk, MomToBe, The Mom Store, Preggear, and others.
“We are unlike any maternity wear brand in India, both in terms of products offered and how we brand ourselves. We manufacture products which are only made from natural and organic fabrics, yet unlike other organic brands, we don’t charge a premium because we know expectant mothers have other financial priorities. We also believe that purchasing quality clothing should never cost a bomb,” says Mitali.
The startup’s organic cotton range is priced between Rs 1,499 and Rs 2,799, and according to the co-founders, the reasonable price tag is on account of them procuring organic fabrics directly from the vendors. Most of their garments are designed in wrap-style, which can easily adjust to changing body shapes.
Apart from their eco-conscious focus, MISASO prides itself in creating styles that are modern, and allow one to embrace their curves and express their style.
The brand recently participated in a campaign called ‘Freedom to Feed’, an initiative that encourages positive dialogue around breastfeeding.
Mitali shares, “We vehemently oppose the notion that pregnant women should hide behind meters of flowing fabrics, especially polyester, which is a fast fashion favourite! Empowering women in their own skin is important to us. Further, we salute women who balance their personal and family goals and regularly feature such women in our campaigns. In fact, the current face of MISASO is my elder sister Shivalli Jaggi Bhatia, who is a mother of two and a successful entrepreneur.”
For a bootstrapped business that began with an investment of Rs 5 lakh, MISASO has done really well since its launch. Its capsule collection is almost 95 percent sold out, and its recent launch is gaining traction, with orders being fulfilled every week.
The latest collection uses vibrant and eye-catching prints, but the brand plans to release new and different styles every few months to appeal to the tastes of customers.
MISASO currently retails only on its website, but plans to expand to both national and niche online marketplaces soon. Physical retail is not on the radar as of now as it is keen to stay true to its branding as a digital-first business.
At the moment, delivery is available across India, and the brand is planning an international presence in the near future.
Mitali and Samir share that receiving their first order was their biggest moment of pride.
“Since maternity is a niche category, it’s not easy for a new brand to make its first sale instantly. Often, first sales come from family and friends. We didn’t have that luxury as there weren’t any expecting mothers around us! So we really waited for that first sale!"
"Additionally, we love seeing pictures of our customers flaunting their MISASO purchase. It is truly fulfilling to see an individual shine in something that you’ve created,” they say with a smile.