Why Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates backed Village Global funded this omnichannel fashion platform

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May 19, 2021 6:46 PM

India’s fashion segment is likely to be worth $16 billion in 2021 with apparel cornering $10.5 billion of the market, as per Statista. The revenue is expected to grow at a CAGR of 10.14 per cent leading to a projected market volume worth $23.5 billion by 2025.

If e-commerce companies are allowed to sell non-essential commodities, then it will create an uneven-playing field for the traders whose shops will remain shut for compliance of the curfew orders in different parts of the country, he said.The company wants to penetrate into Tier-II and III towns with price points of less than Rs 999 that caters to their target audience.

Omnichannel fashion platform 335bazaar — a small business aggregating unorganized offline fashion stores, which are largely micro-units, and standardizes them aesthetically with its own inventory – is looking to enhance its store count to around 100 by the end of this year if the current Covid situation normalizes. That’s on the back of the undisclosed capital it raised recently from the US-based venture fund Village Global which is backed by some of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs including Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, and Reid Hoffman. While the target seems to be a very long shot, its co-founders believed it to be a “doable” target. “The online channel for us has been doing well. While it takes a little more time to deliver orders but it isn’t a big challenge,” Poornima Vardhan, Co-founder, 335bazaar told Financial Express Online.

Founded in August 2020, the company has two stores in Delhi and it eventually wants to penetrate into Tier-II and III towns with price points of less than Rs 999 that caters to their target audience. Apart from aggregating and standardizing these retail stores, the company also leverages them as their micro warehouses. Taponeel Mukherjee, the other co-founder, believed that the problem of online shopping of lifestyle segments is in terms of sizing while the terms of returns is a big challenge. “Through our network of stores, we will change that. We give customers the flexibility to shop both online and offline. They can look at the app/website and shop or also get it picked up from the neighbourhood store by reserving. They can try and buy it from the store,” Mukherjee said.

Also read: E-commerce store builder Dukaan to help SMEs deliver orders as well; partners with Dunzo, Shiprocket

The omnichannel model combined with the live streaming of products at stores to potential customers online helped 335bazaar attract Village Global. “Everyone in the US is looking at the Indian market which is one of the biggest opportunities in the 21st century. Our business model is very strong. We had many conversations with them (Village Global) and I think they understood our vision and background. Credibility was not an issue for us. Everyone is looking at India’s regional market,” said Vardhan.

“We at Village Global are excited to partner with Poornima and Taponeel as they build 335bazaar – the future of commerce in India. The founding team’s background and determination hold them in good stead to win in this market,” Lucas Bagno, part of the investment team at Village Global told Financial Express Online.

335bazaar brings in its own inventory which is contract manufactured and offers a cut of the monthly sales to the store owner. The merchandise rotates every three-four weeks.  “We are keen on working with micro-entrepreneurs as there is some real value to be created. Retail has suffered a lot in one year and the part of it is to also empower these small independent entrepreneurs to make more money. And hence we are working with unorganized retail as one of the reasons,” added Vardhan. India’s fashion segment is likely to be worth $16 billion in 2021 with apparel cornering $10.5 billion of the size, as per Statista. The revenue is expected to grow at a CAGR of 10.14 per cent leading to a projected market volume of $23.5 billion by 2025.

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