StartupTalky presents Recap'22. This is a series of interviews in which we conduct in-depth discussions with founders & industry leaders to understand their growth in 2022 and their predictions for the future.
The saree industry is a significant sector in the textile industry of India and other South Asian countries. It encompasses the production of raw materials, such as cotton and silk, as well as the manufacturing and distribution of sarees. The industry provides employment to millions of people, particularly in rural areas, and generates significant revenue.
However, the industry has been impacted in recent years by increased competition from fast fashion and other modern forms of clothing. Nevertheless, the saree remains a popular traditional garment, and the industry continues to thrive.
The online saree market provides a platform for saree retailers to reach a wider audience, both domestically and globally, and offer a more convenient shopping experience for customers. The Indian saree market size is expected to grow by USD 4.14 billion during 2021–2025, progressing at a CAGR of over 6% during the forecast period.
For this Interview, we invited Sasha Revankar, Founder of One Minute Saree, and we talked about the growth, challenges, insights, and future opportunities in the saree industry.
StartupTalky: Sasha, what products does your company sell? What was the motivation/vision with which you started?
Sasha: We sell the saree of the future. It is designed in-house and so easy to wear that anyone, anywhere can order and wear it without any hassles.
StartupTalky: What other products/features have been added in the past year? What is/are the USP/s of your products?
Sasha: We launched this year itself and we have introduced blouses as well. The USP of our sarees is that they maintain the look and feel of traditional sarees but are so easy to wear, it’s a no-brainer! Other ready-to-wear sarees are like dresses, we use real sarees and maintain the feel and elegance of the 6-yard saree.
StartupTalky: How has the saree industry changed in recent years and how has your company adapted to these changes?
Sasha: We originally planned to launch in March 2020 and of course, those plans got put on hold and we finally launched in Jan 2022. The good news, however, is that during this time our customers adapted more to purchasing ethnic clothing online, so it made our launch all the more impactful.
StartupTalky: How do you stay up-to-date on the latest trends and developments in the saree industry?
Sasha: It’s important to talk to other people in the industry and share experiences, as well as listen to your customers. Relevant industry publications and tracking the industry leaders are also important.
StartupTalky: What key metrics do you track to check the company's growth and performance?
Sasha: We track our month-on-month revenue growth as well as our repeat customer rate and return on ad spend and conversion rate as key drivers.
StartupTalky: What were the most significant challenges your company faced in the past year and how did you overcome them?
Sasha: As this was our first year we faced many startup challenges, many of which had to do with our product and achieving consistent quality since we launched as a made-to-order product. We compensated customers whenever there were issues and worked towards correcting them. To get full control we set up our in-house production unit.
StartupTalky: Repeat purchase is one of the most important parameters on which most e-commerce brands are betting. How do you keep your customer engaged to stop churn?
Sasha: Proper customer service is very key, answering the customers and providing useful solutions. Keeping communication on new launches and engaging them through social media is also effective.
StartupTalky: What are the different strategies you use for marketing? Tell us about any growth hack which you pulled off.
Sasha: We target niche customers and this has given us a loyal customer base to build from.
StarupTalky: What are the important tools and software you use to run your business smoothly?
Sasha: We use a collaboration calendar to get our marketing/catalog/social teams in sync. We also have various in-house tools to help with our order flow.
StartupTalky: What opportunities do you see for future growth in your industry in India and the world? What kind of difference in market behavior have you seen within states in India?
Sasha: We have just started and the opportunity is vast. Although we are online and D2C, there is huge scope and value in bringing our products to stores.
StatupTalky: What lessons did your team learn in the past year and how will these inform your plans and strategies?
Sasha: We have to get granular when it comes to the user experience, it’s the number one thing you can’t take for granted.
StartupTalky: How do you plan to expand the Customers, SKUs, and team base in the future?
Sasha: Since dealing in sarees we are planning to source more diverse types of sarees and also design in-house exclusive collections.
StartupTalky: With so much hype around D2C brands spending on ads, What will be your growth strategy organic or inorganic? How to plan to work around SEO and content marketing?
Sasha: Long-term SEO is essential. Relying on paid ads is a long road to profitability.
StartupTalky: One tip that you would like to share with another d2c founder?
Sasha: Research your product demand and competitors especially using free tools that Google offers. Get enough info to work out where you may have an advantage and estimate your realistic price point. This can help estimate your ad spend needed for your target conversion and investment requirements.
We thank Sasha Revankar for spending her valuable time and sharing her learnings with all of us.