Over the last decade, the power of internet has changed the way people buy or sell goods or services. Many new startups with new innovative ideas have also come into existence. Today, we can purchase almost anything from our convenient location and all we need is an internet service and a computing device (laptops, desktops, smartphones, tablets etc). Many ecommerce startups also give us the option to purchase garments from their online store. However, in most of the cases, such garments don’t fit in our bodies properly. To solve this problem, Bhavana Motwani and Neetu Singh launched their startup venture StitchMyFit in August 2015. Today, we have Bhavana with us in this session to share her story.
Hi Bhavana, we are so happy to have you among us today in this session at conflatingVisions. To begin with please tell us about yourself.
Hello readers, I am thrilled to be sharing my experience on this platform. I have been a techie all my life. With a passion for coding during school, I pursued it formally with an engineering degree from the Mumbai University and then Masters in IT from IIT Roorkee. I also happened to be the batch topper across all MTech streams in IIT from the 2007 passing batch.
Post that I worked for Symantec followed by a decade long experience with a string of early to mid stage startups scaling up their tech stack and also enabling them to launch multiple services in multiple cities.
By this time, I was very well aware of how startups operate across several functions and what it takes to be an entrepreneur! Every experience of my career was preparing for my big leap of faith!
What inspired you to leave your well paying job and launch your own venture?
I was beginning to realize that there are a large number of tech-savvy women like me who resort to ecommerce portals more and more to purchase items like gadgets, accessories, groceries, etc. But they still shy away from buying ready-to-wear clothes online, especially ethnic wear. The reason being apprehension of misfit.
Most Indian women cannot be categorized into standard sizes Small, medium, large, etc. Even “standard” sizes are not standardized across different ready-to-wear brands, thus making online shopping for readymade clothing extremely daunting.
Also there had to be a way to access fresh designs that one could customize, and not resort to run-of-the-mill mass-produced stuff.
This made me thinking and thus germinated the idea of a doorstep solution for ladies where they could select fresh boutique designs, customize colour, neck, sleeves, etc and call home a stylist to get her measurements taken. Everything at her home’s convenience.
Tell us about e-tailoring startup StitchMyFit.
According to a report, 1/3rd of the women are not happy with ready-to-wear garment fitting. This and bad quality of the fabric are the top reasons for returns of readymade clothes purchased online. Lack of human interaction and face time in something as personal as clothing aggravates the issue in online shopping further.
Good boutiques and tailors that offer made-to-measure are always difficult to find and are limited to the vicinity of the customer.
StitchMyFit.com solves all the above issues for the end customer and at the same time disrupts the unorganized sector of boutiques by bringing them online and increasing their reach across cities without any additional investment. We are India’s first and largest curated marketplace of boutiques offering made-to-measure women’s wear, with high focus on quality.
A customer can select any creation of a boutique onboarded on StitchMyFit’s platform and customize it. StitchMyFit’s stylist visits the customer’s home to take her measurements which are saved for her future orders. The boutique creates the selected design in the customer’s measurements which is then dispatched to the customer.
In this way, our travelling stylists work as a bridge between the customers and the boutiques.
What is its working model?
Step 1: Customer selects boutique design from the website www.StitchMyFit.com
Step 2: Customize colour, neck, sleeves, etc.
Step 3: Do not mention any standard size Small, medium, large etc. Call home our stylist to get your measurements taken.
Step 4: Customer can also avail only Tailoring Services for her own material. The stylist will also recommend patterns based on customer’s preference and body type.
Step 5: Perfect fitting garments will be home delivered.
How good is the response so far?
The response has been phenomenal, thus strengthening my belief in the need of this product.
It is amazing to see both, the customers and the boutiques, benefiting from our product. A customer from one corner of the city can order a creation of a boutique located in the other end of the city. With our launch in multiple cities, this lean model can make it possible for a boutique to cater to customers beyond their cities as well!
What is the composition of your present team?
Currently my team is composed of my co-founder Ms Neetu Singh who looks after the operations. We have a team of three stylists, an in-house tailor and an engineer who works with us as a freelancer, but is integral to our product. We are hiring more people as we speak to address the growing demand of the product.
How much funding went into your business till date? What were the sources for such funds?
The venture is currently bootstrapped with our personal savings. With the unit economics being profitable, the monthly cash burn is quite low.
We have been approached by several investors for growth funding and we are in advanced levels of talks with some of them.
Narrate some of your success stories.
Based on the design recommendations of one of our stylists, a customer was able to revamp her entire wardrobe. She was suggested necklines and colours and styles based on her body type and occupation. The customer claimed to have renewed confidence at work with the well fitted clothes custom made for her.
A boutique located in the outer suburbs of Mumbai could cater to the bridal trousseau of a customer in the main city without the boutique owner or the customer visiting each other. Our stylist was the perfect bridge!
What has been your most satisfying moment in your journey as an entrepreneur?
It is very satisfying to know that StitchMyFit has been able to generate more revenues for partner boutiques through its platform, while taking away the pains of customer acquisition, customer interaction, delivery and dispatch from them.
How do you plan to grow further in future?
With our platform, we want to empower and encourage designers who have limited resources. They are able to cater to customers from far and beyond, even without a fancy brick and mortar boutique.
With our platform, we want to empower women to feel confident about themselves by wearing well fitted clothes suited to their personality, occasion and body type.
We see ourselves in Bangalore and Delhi NCR next.
Your advice to those who want to become entrepreneurs.
(1) The only correct reason to start up is the identification of a genuine real-world problem and if you are passionate to solve it.
(2) If the reason above exists, the only correct time to start up is now.
And, one last question of this session Bhavana, if you have had one wish…
I wish more people take up serious entrepreneurship as it teaches one so many things one could never learn from a job and generates employment for others. It is a very humbling and at the same time, a very enlightening experience.
Website of StitchMyFit:www.StitchMyFit.com
Facebook Page of StitchMyFit:www.facebook.com/stitchmyfit
Twitter Presence of StitchMyFit:www.twitter.com/stitchmyfit