“So much goes into building a brand for long term viability with quality versus developing an aggregator or a deep discount shop”- Sandeep Singh, Co-founder & Coo,Freecultr.com

Amongst all the categories in Indian etail space, apparel seems to be gathering considerable steam at both business as well as consumers’ end. In 2011, the industry had witnessed debuts of various online stores across this category. Freecultr.com, an online store for premium smart casual wearsalso had made its debut last year and since then freecultr has been registering 3-digit growth month-on-month in terms of sales and revenue. In order to know more about the Freecultr journey so far, iamwire interacted with Sandeep Singh, Co-founder & Coo, Freecultr.com. During the course of interaction, Singh candidly spoke about Freecultr’s growth, marketing strategies and trends of premium basics at consumer’s end. Below is the excerpt of the interaction.

How has the journey of freecultr.com been so far?

The journey has been amazing so far. Seeing your idea translated into reality is very satisfying and more so when you get a great response from consumers.  Industry is also taking notice as we have been covered in almost every major magazine in India in the initial months of launch.  It is humbling and exciting.  Our consumer feedback on product indicates their understanding of our design process, attention to detail, and selection of fabrics/trims which translates into a meaningful product at a very significant value to offline premium retail brands.  This is an important business differentiator in a market where some online players simply go with white label and deep discount, whereas we are building a premium brand that offers the value for money while not sacrificing quality and style.  We are building a brand, for the long haul.

What sort of growth has Freecultr has been registering since its launch?

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It’s too early to comment on this, we have just launched a few months ago. All I can say is that we are seeing three digit growth M-O-M in all major aspects of the business.

 Which categories are catching up fast at Freecultr?  If you could share some numbers?

We built the brand architecture of FREECULTR around Premium Smart Casual Wear Brand and a concept called Premium Basics which is hugely popular in the rest of the world.  This position focuses on designer quality products in the everyday wear categories from basic T-shirts, polos, tops, shoes, and jeans/pants.  We are seeing great growth in each of these categories.  In Jeans/Pants, we took the risk of being bullish on a category which some believe is difficult to sell on the internet.  However, Jeans and pants are one of our strongest growth categories with high editorial coverage by fashion magazines, a strong word of mouth & repeat purchase. Besides shoes, several styles of our t-shirts sell out as soon as we launch them; some styles have already seen multiple replenishment cycles.

What sort of leverages Freecultr reaps from services like ‘Shop by Look’ and how convenient and preferred is it at the consumer’s end? 

The philosophy behind FREECULTR as a brand is having the freedom to express your own style, mix-and-match colors to come up with your own unique style statement. Shop by look is our way of helping consumers to get started with the idea and see themselves how our different products can be styled together to create a look. It’s perceived as a very convenient method by the users who can buy the entire look if they like or any one product from the look.

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What new trends has Freecultr experienced across apparels in Indian e-tailing market?

The most encouraging trend is that consumers are very open to experience a new brand like FREECULTR.

If the product is good and the price point is correct, consumers are willing to give it a try. Going by the response we have got for our jeans, pants, polo’s, tees, and shoes (to name a few) it’s a very encouraging trend.  There is so much that goes into building a brand for long term viability with quality versus developing an aggregator or a deep discount shop.   We are committed to conveying a lifestyle, a level of quality, and a connect with the consumer who understands premium retail and brands delivered at value.

Throw some light on the split of orders via COD and plastic card enabled payment including return rates of COD orders.

It’s very similar to the Indian industry wide split with more COD orders versus Credit/Debit Card orders.  This usually is the trend here as trust is built between the consumer and company.  We hope to see more of our customers shift to prepaid payment methods as it saves them time in delivery and money.  Our return rates are quite marginal andbelow the industry average.

 Which marketing mediums and strategies has Freecultr used so far?

We have taken off by deploying contextually or demographically targeted digital mediums to reach the right target audience primarily through Google and Facebook ads. We are expanding our footprint fast in digital channels and other channels.