Fashionara plans to triple sales


July 17, 2014

Mihir Dalal, Nikita Garia, MINT
Bangalore, 17 July 2014

Online fashion retailer has raised $7-8 million (around Rs.42-48 crore) from its existing investors Helion Venture Partners and Lightspeed Venture Partners and plans to increase its sales by three times to Rs.100 crore this fiscal year by expanding into new cities and increasing its product range.

Fashionara, a specialist online apparel retailer founded by former Madura Garments and Reliance Trends executive Arun Sirdeshmukh and e-commerce specialist Darpan Munjal, raised the money earlier this year, two people aware of the matter said. The company has now received roughly $15 million since it started out in 2012.

“We don’t play the discount game as aggressively as Myntra and Jabong but even then we are doubling sales every second quarter,” chief executive Sirdeshmukh said. “Unlike other sites, we’re not trying to convert people to online shopping; most of our customers, primarily women, are those who are already online but are looking for high quality fashion. We are focusing on personalized service, offering the latest fashion as well as convenience in shopping by boosting product discovery features on our site.”

Sirdeshmukh confirmed that the company had raised funds but declined to comment on the specifics.

Fashionara, which typically offers lower discounts than rivals such as Myntra and Jabong, is adding men’s footwear and accessories to its product assortment. Women account for a majority of Fashionara’s sales—up to 75%.

Investors have started showing an interest in e-commerce firms that cater to women shoppers, who are expected to significantly increase their online spending over the next few years., another women-focused online retailer, raised $15 million from Tiger Global and others in May. Sites such as Myntra, now owned by Flipkart, are also trying to increase products for women.

Fashionara is expanding its delivery network to three new cities including Hyderabad, and will launch its mobile app within the next three months, Sirdeshmukh said.

The company is also managing the online businesses of some offline clothing brands and is selling their products and its own products on sites such as Flipkart, Amazon and Snapdeal, he said.

“We ourselves are building technology to allow third-party sellers to host their products on our site, which will happen some time this year,” he said.

Analysts said that smaller companies that capture “sizable” niche markets in online apparel retail may become acquisition targets for bigger firms such as Flipkart.

“Companies that have a differentiating factor, say they cater to a specific market segment or have a different product or a branding ability that the acquirer does not have, are good takeover targets,” said Devangshu Dutta, chief executive of retail consultancy Third Eyesight. “If you as a smaller firm are looking at scaling up, then the big players that are well-funded would definitely eye the smaller ones that have a differentiating factor.”

(Published in MINT.)