We Truly Believe That the Millennials Know What’s Trendy Says Sagun Arora, Cofounder, Filmy Vastra

We Truly Believe That the Millennials Know What’s Trendy Says Sagun Arora, Cofounder, Filmy Vastra
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 clothing industry in India is a significant contributor to the country's economy, with a large domestic market and a growing export sector. The growth of the clothing industry has been driven by a number of factors, including population growth, urbanization, and increasing disposable incomes. The rise of fast fashion and the growth of e-commerce has also contributed to the industry's expansion.

However, the industry is facing some challenges, such as a lack of infrastructure, inadequate technology, and lack of access to financing. Additionally, the industry also faces the challenges of sustainability and environmental and ethical concerns.

Revenue in the Apparel market amounts to US$96.47bn in 2023. The market is expected to grow annually by 3.34% (CAGR 2023-2027). The market's largest segment is the segment Women's Apparel with a market volume of US$43.65bn in 2023.

For this Interview, we invited Sagun Arora, Co-founder, Filmy Vastra, and we talked about the growth, challenges, insights, and future opportunities in the industry.

StartupTalky: Sagun, what's Filmy Vastra all about? How did you start and what was the vision behind it?

Sagun Arora: Started in 2019, Filmy Vastra is an online clothing store that is primarily focused on comfort and quality. It is the one-stop shop for all kinds of merchandise of superficial heroes, and various OTT series among others. We have well-absorbed the latest trends with everyday essential merchandised clothes.

I vividly remember, that beautiful sunny afternoon in our 12th standard when we had goosebumps drifting apart since the schooling was getting over a few months back then when accidentally an idea of starting a business came across our minds in order to always stay together. Soon after, we started working on this idea and implemented it within a span of a few months and this is a bootstrapped-funded start-up.

StartupTalky: What other products/features have been added in the past year? What is/are the USP/s of your products?

Sagun Arora: As we all know, the pandemic had hit all of us so hard that it was nearly impossible to have even given a thought about adding any product/feature to the already existing business.

Though, as we are gradually coming out of this, we have a few developments in the pipeline. The four friends have strongly believed in the motto of “Delivering the best quality at an affordable price” and this has been the core USP of our product. We provide one of the finest qualities to our people because we are keepers.

StartupTalky: How has the clothing industry changed in recent years and how has your company adapted to these changes?

Sagun Arora: Our industry has constantly evolved in recent years and is very quickly adapting to the new millennials and the preferences of Gen Z. In this fast pace world, the retail industry has undergone many different changes. The influence of technology on the industry has laid a major change in customer behavior.

Automated artificial technology has made the whole experience of retail therapy a
a lot more engaging. We as an online retail company, like several others have got an edge as this medium has become an everyday essential for customers. Today’s customers make nearly 37% of their monthly retail shopping via online websites. Also, for the retailers, they receive approx. 51% of their revenue through
the internet.

Sagun Arora: Staying up-to-date in today’s mad-hatter world has become so easy. Especially, with social media such as Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook, where everything has started to become a new trend, I would say that the lives of entrepreneurs like us have truly become like a blessing in disguise!

Over the last few months, we have witnessed a major development in our industry wherein social media as a web platform has been attracting various audiences to keep up their game in knowing the latest trends to follow. As a result, we, manufacturers do use social media extensively in merchandising business for better communication with our customers. As a retail company, we truly believe that the millennials know what’s trendy and what’s been common via their social media handles.

Myntra - The Brand Which Revolutionized Online Fashion Industry
Myntra is one of the leading eCommerce brands in India. Here’s an insight into how Myntra became a go-to online fashion store for India.

StartupTalky: What key metrics do you track to check the company's growth and performance?

Sagun Arora: As a retail company, it is very important to keep a check on the growth and performance metrics of the business. Keeping this in mind, we have put in place a few metrics to track the company's growth with respect to growth and customers.

Some of the commonly used metrics are:

  • Revenue growth
  • Per client revenue
  • Client retention
  • Customer satisfaction
  • Customer repurchases

StarupTalky: What were the most significant challenges in the past year and how did you overcome them?

Sagun Arora: As with any other startup, the last two years of the pandemic did take a toll on our lives, both, professionally as well as personally. We did undergo many challenges since we had just begun our company when COVID-19 hit the chores. The shortage of raw materials and restricted supply chain were the biggest challenge we faced last year. Procurement of good quality material for production is a continuous task but during the COVID times, it was indeed difficult, and that even hampered our work. Also, the supply chain restrictions affected our logistics majorly.

However, remaining strong and confident, Filmy Vastra survived through the fluctuating environment. Now, over the last year with our extensive focus on marketing, we have overcome the challenges and have even become the go-to online merchandise store for the youth. Honestly, I feel that time is the only currency, and hence I want to efficiently spend it on growing our one true love, our business in the next coming years.

StartupTalky: Repeat purchase is one of the most important parameters on which most eCommerce brands are betting. How do you keep your customer engaged to stop churn?

Sagun Arora: Staying true to our commitments, we have been beyond blessed to have an on-repeat purchase ever since we first sold our product on 2nd May 2019. We have successfully shipped 65,000 products since the inception of Filmy Vastra.

Our timely communications with our beloved customers, engaging with them once quarterly, making them feel by sending them wishes on their special occasions and a few more such intriguing activities have led us to retain our customer base in three digits over the last few years. We strongly believe that once someone becomes our customer then it is for keeps and we make everything possible to ensure that they remain with us and we keep satisfying their demands.

StartupTalky: What are the different strategies you use for marketing? Tell us about any growth hack which you pulled off.

Sagun Arora: Being in a retail business, engaging ourselves in marketing is an essential aspect. However, being all honest here, we spend very little on marketing since our strategies have been very different since the beginning.

We always believed in the organic route of marketing strategies as we cohesively consider the old school thought of “word-of-mouth business” as the best form of any marketing strategy for a product to help become a brand in the world.

One of the exciting growth hacks which we pulled off was during our initial budding days of setting up the business when we had connected with a small chunk of our close friends and played a wheel activity wherein each friend of ours got some freebies and a goody bag and the same friend then had to pass it on to their friends. To conclude, this fun activity became a big hit and it led to a lot of customer lead generation for our business. This was a small activity but surely an effective one for our company.

StartupTalky: What are the important tools and software you use to run your business smoothly?

Sagun Arora: Living in a digitalized world, we have plenty of tools and software which are largely available in the market. However, with regard to what suits us the best, purely depends on the need for an hour. Stock maintenance tools are one of the very few customized software that we have been using to channel the business smoothly. It is a very continuous process, wherein as per the requirement, we keep adding and deleting the tools.

Some of the commonly used tools and software are:

  • Adobe
  • Illustrator
  • Corel
  • Tally
  • Production management tools

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?

Sagun Arora: According to a BuyHive report, small-sized retailers will dominate the D2C markets. Clearly, the procurement sector will soon see a major revolutionary change in the upcoming year 2023. The small new entry merchants will influence the retail industry globally. We have been witnessing a sudden rise in decentralized small-batch manufacturing across the country.

Also, the future of the e-commerce industry looks very bright at least in our industry since the age between 14 – 40 are addicted to smartphones, and laptops and are often found doing some retail therapy.

Urban India and the urge to go all for the brand have been growing at a rapid pace. However, it still slows down in rural areas. Our collective aim is to focus on the Tier-2 cities in the approaching financial year since we want to levy the first-mover advantage over our competitors.

The ever-changing market behavior toward the geopolitical environment and the trade sector still undergoing various dynamics between the major economies will have an important impact on global sourcing in 2023.

StartupTalky: What lessons did the team learn in the past year and how will these inform your future plans and strategies?

Sagun Arora: The past year was very tough for all of us including me and my team. The ‘Work from Home’ concept was a very non-traditional concept that became the only survival for the world. Indeed, it was extremely difficult to function from home, and took a lot of time to adapt ourselves but at last, it all ended well.

As of today, we have many people on our team who have been working from home ever since and I must admit that they have been doing their tasks very efficiently and effectively. We believe in a hybrid work culture where the safety, comfort, and convenience of our employees remain one of our many cores.

Also, the no meet-and-greet rule imposed by the government to combat the spread of the virus made us realize the importance of each other even more. The significance of a conducive working environment that we are used to. It was a year full of new learnings and we did unlearn many things. Over the period of time, we have started to value the least things which we had earlier tended to oversee in lieu of the highly dynamic world.

StartupTalky: How do you plan to expand the Customers, SKUS, and team base in the future?

Sagun Arora: Being in a customer-centric world, our constant aim is to keep expanding our business horizons. After successfully running our online store for nearly four years, we now have plans to strengthen our reach in two ways, via geographical expansion and bolstering our product line.

While we have been doing good and getting a good chunk of revenue from Tier-1 and 2 cities, now, it’s time when we want to open up an online store for the Tier-3 cities as well. We are well aware that there will be various logistics challenges involved but we have plans to work around this.

Stretching our product line to further launch a range of handbags, footwear, and other accessories, we are all in for expanding our horizons. This will be led to better SKUS and as a result, this will increase the need for a bigger team base in the future.

This will allow us to set up a few more manufacturing plants in other locations in the country based on the company's parameters.

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?

Sagun Arora: When we started our business, we opted for inorganic marketing. We used the high-voltage mode of marketing such as advertisements. As we are growing in our business, we have marginally shifted to organic marketing. Heading the finance here, I am deemed to do the maximum cost optimization of our business and therefore we have plans of going all organic through extensive use of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and content marketing.

How has AI Revolutionized the Fashion Industry?
Revenue in the Indian Fashion segment is projected to reach $18.51 billion in 2022. Let’s find out how AI is revolutionizing the Fashion Industry.

StartupTalky: One tip that you would like to share with another d2c founder?

Sagun Arora: In my opinion, the D2C concept got much popularized during the pandemic in 2020. Currently, India stands strong in the 3rd position after USA and China as the third largest market for the D2C segment. It is a medium where the manufacturers sell their goods and products directly to the end users.

I strongly believe that there is still so much more that the D2C founders can bring to the table in various ways. For D2C brands, product and marketing are the two main areas where they need to focus on further establishing themselves. Also, they should keep a close tap on customer retention by giving them something out of the box.

We thank Sagun Arora for spending his valuable time and sharing his learnings with all of us.

You can read other Recap'22 Interviews here.

Must have tools for startups - Recommended by StartupTalky

Read more

Ayvazyan Gennady Sergeevich, Businessman and Investor

Gennady Ayvazyan Life Saga: Developing the Economy Coast to Coast with His Own Investment Strategy

Ayvazyan Gennady has an investment portfolio that spans innovative sectors such as educational technology, healthcare, agricultural industry, and financial accounting informatization. His proficiency as a high-level manager in global logistics has been the cornerstone for the accumulation of his investment capital. Ayvazyan Gennady Sergeevich - Biography Name Ayvazyan Gennady Sergeevich

By Subham Agrawal