Ahead of the festive season, women leading various categories at Myntra gear up to deliver more than just a shopping experience
As one of the leaders in the fashion and lifestyle ecosystem for over a decade, Myntra has always been a strong advocate of equal opportunities for all. ‘The Pathfinders’ series showcases Myntra’s commitment to women empowerment with stories of women who are trailblazers in their own right.
In this article in the series, we spoke to women leaders who are driving some of the emerging business categories for, and how the organisation has given them a perfect platform to chart their success stories. With one of Myntra’s key events, Big Fashion Festival around the corner and the festive season upon us, these women leaders share, how with their work they are not just able to make a difference in their own careers but create a positive impact for their customers and in the journey of their brand partners during such peak times and beyond.
Equal voice for all
While a lot of us have been looking to solve our beauty needs with DIY kits from the safety of our homes during the pandemic, Aditi Garg and her team have been working hard behind the scenes to cater to the growing demand in this evolving space. Aditi joined Myntra in 2014 as the Manager of the Women's Indian Wear Apparel category and moved on about three years ago to lead the Beauty and Personal Care category as a Director.
With a problem-first approach, the team tried to introspect customers' beauty needs and identified the products to make their portfolio more comprehensive. Second, they studied different brands in the market that could solve these problems. And finally, they bridged the gap by ensuring those products were available on Myntra.
"Beauty and personal care are an integral part of every individual’s day-to-day life. It’s not as simple as picking up a product and running with it. With so much focus on individuality, customers know what exactly they want. So, for us as a team, it was a mix of not just offering what's available in the market, but also understanding customer challenges and then bridging the gap with the right product offering," says Aditi.
In her team, every member gets the opportunity to traverse between different departments, understand the supply chain, and even manage the entire P&L of the category. "At Myntra, every role is more than just a regular business profile. It's a 360-degree role that enables the team to not only manage their individual facets but ensure that they're working towards the common goal of the organisation,” says Aditi.
Beauty, in a short time, has progressed from being the emerging to one of the fastest growing categories on Myntra, with 600+ brands as part of the portfolio.
The fashion marketplace provides an equal opportunity for everyone, regardless of gender. "There's never been a time when I was looked at as superior or inferior because I'm a woman. Everyone is given the opportunity to be heard, innovate beyond their roles, make mistakes, and come back stronger to innovate again. Professionally, it’s been an amazing journey for me to be able to lead and grow this portfolio. Personally, it’s been an even more gratifying experience - Being a woman, to be able to bring thousands of women closer to their favourite brands and help them express themselves differently, has been a gratifying experience."
"The leadership at Myntra is very supportive and you feel like you're a part of the organisation. No one is growing or suppressed based on their gender,” she adds.
On talking about the upcoming festive season and Myntra's mega fashion carnival, the Big Fashion Festival, Aditi said that the team is prepped up by adding new brands on the platform and are expecting high demand from across geographies and markets - metros, Tier 1, Tier 2, T3 cities, and beyond. The team is also focusing on putting together the largest selection of offerings to provide the best value for customers.
Unearthing employees' potential
When Sonal Kumar joined Myntra in 2019, the Kidswear category was at a nascent stage and her role as Associate Director was to scale it and make Myntra a one-stop fashion destination for kids. The category witnessed a major uptake post lockdown last year.
Sonal says that the kids' category is one of the most complicated pieces to solve in the fashion industry, but with massive support from Myntra's leadership, internal functions and her team, it has today become among the fastest growing in the company. "The category has a plethora of sub-categories and to excel, you have to be well-versed with all the nuances such as age level, size level and so on," she explains.
She had to break the category into age cohorts with different need states, and then build up a healthy assortment across brands. During the pandemic, the demand for this category has continued to be high as kids grow out their clothes fast and customer requirements have evolved. The team has had a three-fold strategy - identify customers' needs state and the product they are looking for, provide it at the right price, and solve for discoverability.
Sonal outlines how the approachable and motivating culture at Myntra is to be credited for the category's success where opportunities are shared, and training is provided to both employees and managers to upskill. "Everyone is encouraged to take ownership and drive projects end-to-end. If there's a problem, Myntra ensures that we're given everything we need to solve it," she says.
With more than 1 lakh styles, covering age groups from 0-16, today Myntra’s Kids category has executed multiple successful brand launches and continues to gain market share. For 2021, their vision is two-fold - take a customer-first approach and ensure repeat customers. The team is gearing up for this festive season and the upcoming mega fashion carnival, the Big Fashion Festival by focusing on curated styles, regional selection, ethnic selection, new launches and much more.
“While parents are always excited about shopping for their little ones, festive buying infuses a celebratory cheer in their children’s wardrobe. This is important even more now, as festive shopping can really be a mood lifter when most kids are celebrating festive occasions at home,” adds Sonal.
Reflecting on the last few months and talking about her learning, she adds, "The Kids category was an emerging one and to make it bigger, our team had to interact with a lot of other functions and dig into the nitty-gritty. This included adapting to emerging fashion trends like comfort wear during the pandemic or co-ord sets for the festive season ensuring most in-demand sub-categories for kids are available. It made me stronger in pushing genuine use cases and improving my problem-solving skills," she says.
A few weeks back, Sonal took over the role of Category Head of Women's Ethnic Wear and Myntra has been an enabler in helping her easily transition to her new role and expand her learning horizon. Here again, she looks forward to a steep learning curve especially as this happens at the opportune time of the onset of the festive buying season where ethnic wear holds immense relevance for the fashion major. With her customer-first approach, Sonal is working with her new team on ensuring that the shopper finds all of their fashion needs at Myntra with many exciting launches and a well curated assortment in women's ethnic wear.
Opportunities to innovate and scale new heights
Another category in Myntra that witnessed a scintillating growth in 2020 is Lingerie and Loungewear. Anjul Baijal, associated with the organisation since 2019, has been instrumental in successfully scaling up this category. "The Lingerie and Loungewear category is a fashionable yet essential need for a woman's wardrobe," says Anjul.
In the last year, she and her team adopted strategies to meet pace with the growing needs of this category especially during the ongoing pandemic when loungewear is everyone's most preferred choice of attire. First, they developed strategic partnerships with existing brands on their platform to develop assortments catering to the times. "For those working from home, we had the WFH assortment where the top needs to be stylish for presentations and the bottom has to be something comfortable that you can step in and out any time," explains Anjul.
Second, the team onboarded close to 150 new sellers to provide a wider assortment to customers. And finally, they created content to educate customers on the intended use for different products. "Take for example seamless bras - we told customers why it's important to wear one under a semi-transparent top, what kind of neckline it would suit, etc. This helps them identify their needs easily and find the solution quickly," she says.
The Lingerie and Loungewear category has grown multifold under Anjul’s leadership.
Anjul and her team are optimistic about the upcoming festive season, the team had started prepping for it well in advance, and is geared up to provide the best curated collection for the customers at attractives prices.
Anjul shares how Myntra's fair and transparent culture is key to the success of this category. "At Myntra, organisational priorities are identified, and every employee contributes to achieving it. Every individual’s unique strengths are identified at the very beginning and tasks are allocated accordingly," she shares.
She adds how Myntra is a cheerleader for women empowerment and there's no dissipation based on gender, caste, colour or creed. "Myntra is a psychologically safe place for both men and women. You're mentally at peace and multiple benefits empower us to deliver our best," Anjul says.