If there’s one phrase that can capture the zeal behind co-founders Dimaan Shah and Archana Walavalkar’s decision to establish personalisable style portal StyleCracker, it might as well be ‘so much fashion, so little fashion advice’. Shah—once an investment banker at HSBC—and Walavalkar, former Fashion Editor at Vogue India and stylist to Bollywood’s best known stars, were quick to identify a major gap in the fashion ecosystem. The market was awash in fashion labels, with tons of social media real estate dedicated to the latest fashion trends—but very little by way of guidance or information for people interested in incorporating fashion into their daily lives. A platform like StyleCracker, they decided, was the need of the hour. Here’s a look at our interview with them.
An excerpt from the interview:
- What made you start your venture?
We noticed a huge gap in the personalised fashion styling space. While there was a whole range of fashion brands and products available, nobody was addressing the three main queries that bother every consumer i.e. what to wear, how to wear it, and where to buy it.
That’s how StyleCracker came about two years ago. We realised very early on that fashion and technology would have to work together and that technology would have to be the key driving force in our mission to ‘Make India Stylish.’
On StyleCracker, you can shop looks personalised for you with specific fashion, beauty and grooming advice from our team of expert stylists who are available 24X7. With our help, users can incorporate off-the-runway trends without compromising on their budget or personal preferences.
- What has been the key to your business’s success?
I think it is really important to surround yourself with the best people. And I strongly believe that those who show acumen, determination and persistence should be empowered early on. In order to build a hugely disruptive platform like ours and scale it at a rapid pace, I was clear that I needed to have the strongest team with me on this journey. I believe that this has been the key to our business’s success.
- What are the major challenges in your line of business and how did/do you overcome them?
Finding the right team was crucial. We personally met everyone – from interns to senior management – to ensure that they understood and believed in our dream.
Extending our reach and building the infrastructure needed to create an effective personalised styling experience were other initial concerns. Reaching out to our customers, and technological innovation, are inextricably linked and are on-going processes at our Company. We spend lots of time and energy on these two factors, as they form the core of our business.
Style is personal, emotional, and aspirational, so we constantly try to connect with and understand our users. Building goodwill through word of mouth has helped greatly too.
- Do you have a mentor who guides/advices you on matters of the business?
I have a few people whose advice I sought. I prefer to have more than one mentor for the vastly different perspectives I get. Ashish Shah from Pepperfry and my investors act as great sounding boards for me, especially when I need to think deeply about the business.
- Have you benefitted from the use of any specific technology for your regular operations?
We have a fairly large team of engineers and we build most of our technological infrastructure in-house, including those tools that help with regular operations.
- What strategy do you follow for Customer Satisfaction & Expansion?
Pick up the phone and talk to your customers. There’s no sense in guessing and speculating. We always get our feedback – whether good or bad – directly from our customers.
- What, according to you, are the top 3 skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
Persistence, tenacity and patience.
Visit their website: www.stylecracker.com
Like them on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/StyleCracker/