At a time when having a conversation on lingerie was considered a taboo in India, Richa Kar, an Indian entrepreneur, developed an online lingerie shopping platform called "Zivame". In 2017, Richa Kar resigned as the CEO of Zivame. However, she continues to be a member of the board. Read on for the success story of Richa Kar and Zivame.
Richa Kar Biography
|DOB||17 July 1980|
|Education||BITS Pilani and NMIMS|
Zivame - Backstory
Startups are all about solving a problem faced by the masses or enhancing an existing solution/mechanism. Richa Kar's venture was inspired by a prevalent issue—women having to face embarrassment and unwanted attention for something as simple as buying lingerie from shops and stores. Lewd remarks from the opposite sex and harassment uncalled for leave women apprehensive about shopping for undergarments and other wear. Richa's Zivame was conceived as a fix for this issue. Through her bold initiative, she was keen to ease the shopping experience for intimate clothing and succeeded at it. Zivame has now become a household name with girls and ladies—not just for its mind-boggling range of clothing, but also for the quality and durability it guarantees.
Richa Kar is the co-founder of Zivame. Richa and her husband, Kapil Karekar, started Zivame in 2011. The couple was introduced to each other through a mutual friend. Kapil is a corporate veteran with over 10 years experience in companies like Yahoo!, ESPN, and InMobi.
Richa Kar - About
Zivame co-founder Richa Kar was born in Jamshedpur and comes from a conventional family. After completing her studies, Richa worked in the IT sector for a few years. Post that, she pursued a Master's degree from the renowned Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies (NSIMS) in 2007. She worked for Spencers and SAP retail consulting after graduating from NMIMS. Richa's association with Spencers and SAP allowed her to gain valuable retail experience that helped her in her startup journey. One of her clients at SAP was related to Victoria's Secret. Interactions and the experience of working with that client made Richa realize the harrowing reality of lingerie shopping in India. Richa pondered over the idea of an online retail store for the same.
Richa Kar - Education
Richa Kar completed her graduation from Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani (BITS Pilani) in 2002. In 2007, she finished her post-graduation studies from SVKM's Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies (NMIMS).
Zivame - Funding and Growth
Richa Kar borrowed INR 30 lakhs from friends and family to finance her endeavor. She started out in a small office space on August 25th, 2011, and received her first order 5 hours later. As the business grew, the company sought funding and raised $9 million in two rounds from investors such as IDG Ventures, Kalaari Capital, and Unilazer Ventures. Within three years of its launch, Zivame had grown to a 200 member strong team.
Zivame is an online lingerie store featuring hundreds of styles tailored for the Indian population. It is a leader in this niche online shopping segment, offering more than 5,000 styles, 50 brands, and 100 sizes. Moreover, Zivame offers a wide range of products for women in different categories that includes, but is not restricted to, lingerie and activewear. Zivame has seen such a tremendous reception that it now has brick-and-mortar stores across the country. Zivame's products come at affordable rates without any compromise in quality.
Zivame at one point had 5 million visitors online every month out of which nearly 1 million were unique visitors. This number has grown multifold since then. Zivame's consignments have reached all Indian states with the exception of Lakshadweep. With e-commerce becoming mainstream, Ziavme was quick to extract the maximum out of this domain by being amongst the early adopters. As time passed by, Richa Kar understood that jumping onto the e-commerce bandwagon was only the first step to success and becoming the leader in the lingerie category was more important.
For an unparalleled customer experience, a healthy inventory is essential and that in turn requires significant cash reserves. Zivame was right in scouting for funding early on. In its funding voyage, Richa met Vani Kola, the founder of Indo-US Venture Partners. Vani showed tremendous alacrity towards supporting Richa's initiative. The first meeting between the two parties was a smooth sail with a strong relationship established by the end of the day.
Richa Kar is one of the most influential womanpreneurs in India today and is an inspiration for many. Kudos to you, Richa.