The fashion industry is an ever-evolving industry. It is a dynamic field that involves various kinds of businesses, including fashion stores, fashion styling services, apparel designing and manufacturing, and more. With the introduction of eCommerce and the increased use of social media, the sector has undergone a significant transition in recent years. People are now more aware and conscious of their clothing choices than ever before. One such company that is capitalizing on this transition is LetsDressUp (LDU).
LetsDressUp is a company that creates outfits designed to fit each individual's unique personality and style. With a wide range of options, LetsDressUp ensures that everyone can find their perfect look, no matter their size or shape.
In a recent interview with Dr. Drishti Anand, co-founder of LetsDressUp, we gained valuable insights into the company's mission, challenges, and strategies.
Let's take a closer look at Drishti's responses and see what we can learn from our conversation.
StartupTalky: What products does your company sell? What was the motivation/vision with which you started?
Drishti: LetsDressUp (LDU) is India’s most size-inclusive and customer-centric brand disrupting India's over $100 billion fashion industry. The brand has deployed cutting-edge technology to craft clothes that offer a size range of XS to 8XL, unmatched by even the biggest brands in the country. It is India’s first company to develop an Indian size chart by measuring more than 2,500 Indian women in real time.
As a woman, I have been fashion-conscious and deeply understand the confidence and positivity a woman can get when she dresses up well. However, finding the best size and style fit is extremely difficult in the conventional market. The challenges become more daunting with age and changes in body type. After consulting with my family, friends, and more than 2,000 women, I developed a detailed understanding of their challenges. As I and my co-founder and husband, Aditya Balani, discussed and researched the subject, we discovered that two out of three Indians remain dissatisfied with the clothes they buy, and 30-40% of clothes purchased online are returned as they didn’t meet the size and style expectations of the buyers. To solve these challenges and create a brand that would transform the market, we launched LetsDressUp.
StartupTalky: What other products/features have been added in the past year? What is/are the USP/s of your products?
Drishti: LDU is unlike any other fashion brand operating in India. We are the first Indian tech-driven fashion brand to create a constantly evolving Indian size chart based on real-time data gathered from our users. The brand is also the most size-inclusive fashion label, with sizes ranging from XS to 8XL. LDU also has the lowest return rate in the industry, which is less than 3% and is 10x better than the average industry range of 30% to 40% returns. Also, our design-to-execution cycle is 7-10 days.
LetsDressUp works on a zero-dead inventory model. We only create styles that the consumers are looking for, and this is done by leveraging data and technology.
StartupTalky: How has the fashion industry changed in recent years, and how has LetsDressUp adapted to these changes?
Drishti: The fashion industry is one of the most dynamic sectors, and the trends and customer expectations change faster than even the time some leading brands take to create a new collection. That’s where it is extremely difficult to stay in sync with the latest trends and consistently create clothes that your audience loves to buy. We have adopted a dynamic technology-driven design and production process wherein we don’t maintain huge inventories. The design execution cycle has been reduced to less than a week. It is a drastic change compared to the industry average of 3-4 months for the same.
As a result, we can quickly produce the most trending designs and ensure absolute fit for Indian women by offering them the clothing as per the Indian size chart. Thus, all the clothes we create are consistently optimized to meet the style and size expectations of the customers. This is one of the reasons that LDU has grown meteorically within a short period and is now aiming to become one of the leading players in the market.
StartupTalky: How do you stay up-to-date on the latest trends and developments in the fashion industry?
Drishti: LDU is a 360-degree digital brand. LDU leverages technology to gather first-party data and third-party data like web searches, Google trends, social listening, etc. This data is used to identify the prevailing design trends and user expectations. The information is then used to create digital designs which the users engage with. Once the popular designs are finalized, we move to production in small batches.
StartupTalky: What key metrics do you track to check your company's growth and performance?
Drishti: We are happy with our numbers, but we endeavor to better them. We evaluate ourselves on the parameters of Net Promoter Score (NPS), Month-on-Month (MOM) growth, and gross margins that we have earned. So, if we look at these numbers, our NPS is greater than 50, MOM growth is 50-60%, and Gross margins are ~75%.
StartupTalky: What were the most significant challenges that LetsDressUp faced in the past year, and how did you overcome them?
Drishti: Fashion is a highly competitive and volatile segment. We decided to pivot to an asset-light model around six months back. Processes such as design and marketing were digitized, and the supply chain was expanded. These moves boosted the brand’s production capacity. LDU went from INR 1Cr to INR 10Cr annualized revenue within six months.
StartupTalky: Repeat purchases are one of the essential parameters on which most e-commerce brands are betting. How do you keep your customers engaged to stop churn?
Drishti: We keep our customers engaged through several ways, like gamifying the purchase experience when they visit our portal. Some interesting offers and schemes have enticed them to come back to us. Also, we have something called Blockbuster Friday, where we launch new styles or designs. So, every Friday, there is something new to look forward to. While most of the fashion brands launch collections 2-3 times a year, LDU does it every week, which keeps the customers coming back. Our repeat rates are 25-30% and are expected to reach 30-40% in the near future.
StartupTalky: What are the different strategies you use for marketing? Tell us about any growth hacks you pulled off.
Drishti: We use conversational marketing with content creation at the center of it.
StartupTalky: What are the important tools and software you use to run LetsDressUp smoothly?
Drishti: We use various project management tools like Slack and Asana, and Shopify is a robust tool for our website.
StartupTalky: What opportunities do you see for future growth in the fashion industry in India and the world? What kind of difference in market behavior have you seen within states in India?
Drishti: Consumers are more aware than before. They know what they want, and they ask for it. India as a market has huge potential, and we are all in for an exciting ride. We will see a huge surge in growth, and as markets pick up, things will look better. Overall, we see a huge surge in demand from tier 2 & tier 3 cities. ~50% of our orders come from Tier 2 and 3 cities. We are truly excited for the future.
StartupTalky: What lessons did your team learn in the past year, and how will these inform your future plans and strategies?
Drishti: We learned the power of digitization and how lean business models are the best bet for sustained growth. We will continue to follow the same approach in the foreseeable future.
StartupTalky: How do you plan to expand the customers, SKUs, and team base in the future?
Drishti: Looking at our growth trajectory, we are convinced we are on the right track. Our approach is to help us with customer acquisition, and we are launching new styles every week to keep our customers happy. We will stick to the lean model, and the digitized process in design and production will help us scale with a lean team.
StartupTalky: With so much hype around D2C brands spending on ads, what will be your growth strategy for LetsDressUp, organic or inorganic? How to plan to work around SEO and content marketing?
Drishti: We will scale digital content based on customer data and distribute it through various channels like social media, conversational marketing, KOL and KOCs, SEO, etc.
StartupTalky: One tip that you would like to share with another D2C founder?
Drishti: Know your customer, in and out.