What is Kaaryah?
Launched in September 2013 by Founder & CEO Nidhi Agarwal, Gurgaon-based Kaaryah is a fashion portal for women’s wear that focuses on providing the best possible fit with 18 sizes. The startup caters to women’s non-casual wear – it means everything causal that is not jeans and t-shirts. It already has a presence across online marketplaces and also services through Kaaryah.com.
“It is the only brand, globally, that offers western wear in 18 sizes, compared to a global average of 12-13 sizes,” said Nidhi Agarwal.
“The brand introduces 150 new designs every month; its catalog of shirts, trousers & skirts for women is larger than any Indian or International brand’s offering,” she added.
Nidhi is a certified Chartered Accountant from KPMG and an MBA from Kellogg School of Management. She has 15+ years of experience in Strategy, New Technology Marketing and Finance. Before launching KAARYAH, Nidhi was the Director, Strategy at Honeywell India and has also worked as a Strategy Consultant at Bain&Co. Prior to Bain&Co she worked with Bharti Airtel where she developed and launched Indian mCommerce product.
How the idea came to start Kaaryah?
Kaaryah was born when Nidhi realized that something as basic as a well fit western wear for Indian women was hard to find. Sizing in most brands is limited to about 12 sizes and they vary only in terms of width. After a year and a half of product and market research focusing on challenges with the current set of options available, Nidhi realized this was a problem that many Indian women across age groups faced. Being a problem solver, she decided to find a solution and hence Kaaryah was born.
What does it do? How does it work?
Kaaryah caters to women’s non-casual wear by offering the best possible fit with its 18 sizes. It offers wardrobe solutions that help discover not just the perfect fit but also what flatters different body types. The startup uses a “What’s my Size” algorithm that promises up to 85 percent accuracy in sizing. The clothes are competitively priced and absolutely no compromise is made on fabric material.
“The brand introduces 150 new designs every month; its catalogue of shirts, trousers & skirts for women is larger than any Indian or International brand’s offering,” added Nidhi.
How is it different from any other startup in similar space?
As a corporate woman with a busy lifestyle herself, Nidhi understood the importance of well fitted, functional, feminine and fashion-forward western formal wear. There was a large unmet need for these across age groups, no matter what their occupation was. She therefore focused on bridging the gap between western formals and the Indian silhouette – its perfect fit and a variety to choose from!
Kaaryah is a one of its kind apparel brand that understands the Indian woman and her physique. While apparel isn’t a new space and has several players co-existing, Kaaryah is unmatched because of its specific focus. No apparel manufacturer in India has the variety and sizing that Kaaryah offers in the non-casual/formal western wear segment for women.
How has the response been till now since the launch of the startup?
Since its inception, Kaaryah have grown month-on-month and has shipped orders not just to metros but also internationally and to tier 2 and tier 3 cities.
Funding raised till now..
Ratan Tata has taken a minority stake in Kaaryah. The company has also secured funding from another industry stalwart (which is yet to be announced). “We are unable to disclose the quantum of funds,” said Nidhi.
What is Kaaryah’s monitization plan?
The startup retails on Kaaryah.com and is present on all major online marketplaces. A customer can login to the website and look through the catalogue to select designs and go to the ‘What’s my size’ section to give some basic measurements. After receiving an order, the order is dispatched within 2 working days.
The company believes in a lean inventory system. This model has proven to be extremely scalabe as the brand has serviced order loads of 4X Just-In-Time with up to 60% same day fulfillment. Many brands offer limited sizes due to inventory turn around time; Kaaryah decided to circumvent the inventory load by making once the order is received thus making for a better working capital investment.
Who are its target buyers?
Typically, the startups’s target buyers are Indian women with very busy lifestyles. KAARYAH as a brand understands Indian women and the clothes are designed keeping her busy lifestyle in mind. Comfort is a key feature of Kaaryah products along with solutions to problem areas like gaping shirts and unflattering trouser cuts.
What challenges is the startup facing? What has been the biggest challenge in expanding?
Initially the biggest challenge was funding. Like most startups, it faced problems like hiring. It’s important to find the right talent for a organization, while the startup have been lucky on that front with Kaaryah’s core team. “As the company expands and we see larger traction we have to hire more people and sourcing to the right people is key,” the company said in a statement.
Future plans &scope
The startup plan to establish Kaaryah as the largest brand for perfect fit western wear for Indian women. The Indian market for Kaaryah (western non-casual wear for women) is estimated to be Rs.10,000-15,000 crore and is poised double growth in the next 3-4 years.
“We belive that much can be achieved with a sharp focus and honestly of efforts. Our vision is clear – we will aim to be a significant brand for best fit western non-causal wear for Indian women,” asserts Nidhi.
“As of now Kaaryah is an unmatched apparel brand with no real competitors as we are very focused in what we cater. We have the widest catalogue in non-casual/formal wear for women and offer more sizes than any women’s brand in the world. Our personalized investment in the end customers sets us apart from other brands in the clothing sector. We evolve our catalogue on the basis of customer voice and feedback.”