Kaaryah is an online brand of western non-casual wear for the Indian silhouette which focuses on providing best possible fit with their 18 different sizes. It was launched in 2014 and till May 2015 they were completely bootstrapped. After 113 rejections from investors, Nidhi Agarwal finally managed to impress Ratan Tata, chairman emeritus of Tata Sons with her unique concept and raised her Series A round of funding in June and earlier this month it saw Mohan Das Pai, former Board member of Infosys investing in this brand. “From February 2014 to May 2015, we were bootstrapped and we actually grew 15-20% on the back of zero marketing spend, having said it was only after we got funded we started to spend on minimal marketing but we are 3x order volumes as of last year on the basis of season to season comparison,” says Nidhi Agarwal, CEO and founder of Kaaryah.
Agarwal’s realisation about the lack of sizes available for women when it comes to western non-casual wear is what gave birth to Kaaryah. “I was on my way to a meeting when suddenly I spilled coffee on my shirt and while looking for a replacement I couldn’t find a basic formal shirt which would fit me well as most of the sizes in branded shops are limited to 6-11,” says Agarwal. She wondered if she was the only one or even other women faced the same problem. “Like a typical consultant back then, I ran a survey and three things came out which were missing in the market—one was that sizes were limited to 6-11 at the very most, second was that women thought they were compromising comfort for fashion and third thing was that women kept complaining that varieties of shirts were limited,” adds Agarwal. After investing enough towards market research, Agarwal arrived at the concept of Kaaryah.
“To arrive at these 18 different sizes we studied 1,500 women, we didn’t just take them off the rack,” adds Agarwal. According to her they studied multiple segments of the Indian demographic to arrive at 18 sizes which will roughly fit 80-85% of women. Kaaryah recently launched accessories and scarves on its website. It has also developed an interesting line with the Rajasthan government which is called the Rajasthan Heritage line. “Kaaryah was the first online brand to have walked the ramp on December 15 to showcase the line. This line that we created applies hand loom fabric to the western silhouette and just by virtue of it we got an opportunity to work with the weavers directly,” adds Agarwal.
Most of the products are priced between Rs 1,000-7,000. According to the company, they have a return rate as low as 3% and around 33% of their products are purchased by return visitors. When asked whether she would go in for a hybrid model, Agarwal says, “As a brand I would like to leverage and tap into any channel that helps me gain access to my customers.”
Agarwal says that a key challenge for her was raising funds. Now that they have raised funds, her next challenge would be making sure that her 50 member team gun towards the same vision. On competition, she says that any brand that speaks to similar customers and have identities adjacent to the identities that they want to cater, is competition for them, be it online or offline.