We are publishing an interview of Mr. Anupam Arya – VP, Marketing Communication and Strategy, Fabriclore Retail Pvt. Ltd.
Please tell us about the founders
The foundation of Fabriclore is laid down by a trio of men. From working in one of the leading electronic companies together, Sandeep, Anupam, and Vijay share strong ties for more than ten years now. Vijay, who is a serial entrepreneur and an absolute ninja in management & execution, brings in the best of his leadership and insights for the company.
Hailing from Jaipur, Sandeep has been a fabric connoisseur since early age and literally, breathes fabric every day. While doing it for more than a generation, his passion for fabrics is skin-deep and is the go-to-guy to source fabrics from across the country and also re-create them to suite modern tastes.
A tech buff and a design thinker, Anupam holds extensive knowledge and experience in the sphere of design, strategy, and web. His keen interest in branding has given Fabriclore a unique identity that makes the company stick out in the world of online fabric stores.
Give us a brief background of what founders were doing before starting the venture.
Before starting the venture, the trio worked in leading engineering, energy & infrastructure companies. With entrepreneurship running in the blood, Vijay started his own venture in the field of engineering by the name – Ozone. Having met the like-minded Anupam in the same company, they both teamed up again in Ozone where Sandeep joined in.
With an undying urge of doing something in the professional realm, Sandeep made his debut in the world of e-commerce with naaari.com which eventually proved to be the cornerstone for Fabriclore.
List all the names of the core team members, along with their skill-sets, specific domain expertise & designated roles.
Founding Team Members are:
- Vijay Sharma – CEO
- Sandeep Sharma – VP of Operations and Sourcing
- Anupam Arya – VP of Marketing communication and strategy
Core Team Members: While the founding team is dominated by a trio of men, the heart of Fabriclore ticks from an all women team who manage almost all the functions. The idea behind consciously building a woman-centric team comes from their inherently complex more detailed buying behaviour.
With Fabriclore extending the orb of yarn in the e-commerce industry, their role will become more complex and layers of young creative minds will be added beneath the existing team to strengthen the foundation of the company.
What is the problem you are trying to solve?
After analysing the fashion trajectory for the past 10 years, we realized that right from the Darzi era to the advent of e-commerce, stitching is something that has always been there. It is just that with the introduction of customization and fusion, the independent designers are innovating across the country like never before.
Keeping this undying penchant for personalization at the fore, we are trying to solve the problem of virtual availability of Indian Handloom and contemporary fabrics at one place. With talent blooming, bootstrapped designers no longer have to pile up stock of fabrics at their store and can easily get their business going without investing in fabrics at one go. With our doorstep delivery, designers no longer have to get into the hassle of traveling and accumulating fabrics from different parts of the country.
How we realized that this problem of stockpiling and curation is big enough, is from the learnings we got from Sandeep’s pilot venture Naari.com. We discovered that in the B -tier and C-tier cities people till date rely on stitched fabrics. With a restricted penetration of e-commerce in these tiers, the choice available to them is limited. There are people who buy ready-made garments but they don’t bring out the regional crafts of India.
Looking at these insights, we are providing consumers a choice to experiment with different crafts of India at their will.
What challenges did you face when you were starting out?
Like any other start up rapid scaling up, high-quality branding and digital marketing were some of the major challenges that we faced due to a limited pool of resources. Warehousing and sourcing were other major concerns! Our first warehouse was a basement and was completely manual. However, with the overwhelming reaction from our customers, we have now moved to a much larger, automated warehouse.
How did you get the initial capital?
Started as a self-funded company, we didn’t go for early stage seed funding because we strongly feel having a proven concept on the table makes more sense and builds credibility for the company. We are growing at a rate of 17% CAGR.
Please tell us about the Product / Solution.
Initially, we started with Indian Handloom products available in Rajasthan. With orders rolling in we decided to expand our horizons and started curating crafts from many other states. Summoning from fabric heritage, we also worked closely with artisans to exclusively produce a lot more contemporary stuff.
Talking about the product-market fit process we work on a response basis. While many independent designers are willing to experiment with the regional crafts, we are continuously adding fabrics accustomed to the current trends of fusion and customization.
What were your assumptions when you entered the market, learning that you have?
We entered the market with an assumption that whether it is clothing or home furnishings, fabric is something that is a pre-requisite for designing and production. Connecting the chord between the three phases- The Darzi era, e-commerce and the existing customization era we learned that fabric is something that has been persistently common among all the three phases.
A lot of learning came from Sandeep’s first venture Naari.com. Since it had no differentiating factor, we comprehended the need for a long-term vision backed business and this is how Fabriclore came into being.
What is the insight that you have about this market, which no one else has?
Our in-depth understanding of the crafts available across India, backed by a comprehensive knowledge of fabric production, gives us an advantage over other businesses. We understand the industry and the supply chain mechanism very well. Our USP rests in offering a comprehensive range of Indian handloom and contemporary fabrics with numerous innovative design cross-overs. By bestowing the yarn of inspiration to every individual we are enabling them to explore the designer within themselves.
What is the strength of the startup and the scale of operations?
Our major strength lies in understanding fabrics to their core, intricacies involved in weaving, handcrafting, modern production techniques and deep familiarity with very complex legacy supply-chain. Our competition mainly comes from stand-alone suppliers at regional level and also a few modern retailers who also happen to be doing fabrics. But it’s a highly-fragmented legacy market and has long way to go before entering into the modern era.
What is the revenue model?
Since it’s an e-commerce initiative our revenue comes all online and we don’t sell on POS. Our sale majorly relies on product innovation, consumer engagement. We don’t plan to open up any retail store.
Who are the consumers that you are targeting? How is this going to affect them?
Since women have a more detailed and complex buying behaviour, we are predominantly targeting them along with the budding designer community spread across the country. Since creativity has no age and boundaries, we want to enable every individual across India to design on their own and also gradually target a few international markets as well.
How did you get your first customer?
A little buzz and strong branding steered our first sale. Having grasped insights from erstwhile e-commerce venture Naari.com, getting our first customer was not a big hassle.
What is the big picture of your startup? Is this Product leading to something bigger? If so, how?
Our big picture is to narrate the lore of fabrics across the world markets. We want to become a pioneer in the reinvention of handloom crafts. Collaboration with independent designers is certainly going to be big. We would like to become their enabler.
Since inception, give us a sense of the value of business done by your venture?
Since the time Fabriclore saw the day of light, there has been no looking back. Establishing a firm foothold in just 12 months, our company is blooming on the chosen path. From starting with just a few hundred fabrics we now cover 18 types of unique materials, 16 types of crafts, covering as many as 6 states. We are now shipping more than 2000 orders a month.
Some virtual insights are as follows:
- 80,000 + Meters of fabric sold
- 41000 + Organic Facebook followers
- 1600 + Unique fabric designs. Will be updated 5000 within next few months
(updated every week)
- 100000 + Monthly store visitor
What would be your goal to accomplish in the next six months?
The next six months are very crucial for us. With a lot of plans for our customers, we are going to boost our existing collection of fabric designs to a next level. We also intend to expand our business in the international realm and work on building a strong marketing and sales network. We also plan to build professional textile design house who would work like warp and weft with the artisans and couture designers to innovate and extend their abilities.
What message do you want to convey to fellow entrepreneurs?
As such each of us have their own unique journey and all we can share is what has been ours. And in our journey, our biggest learning is product innovation and how it is conveyed to the target audience without sacrificing the experience which often haunt entrepreneurs as they attempt to do a lot in very rapid time. We are not among those looking for wealth multiplication. Our only motto is to remain focused on solving the problems for our customers and innovate product mix.