With the advent of internet came the comfort of shopping by a mouse click. This gave birth to a new mode of doing business by the turn of the 21st century. E-commerce as we know it is the buzz word in industry circles today and every brand today vies for a share in the e-commerce pie. Candyskin has entered the Indian market with bold ambitions through their e commerce website but has vision to grow even larger. We followed up with the Co-founders who gave us an in-depth insight to the brands philosophy.
“Candyskin was born to give the ladies a breathtaking experience.”
BRIEF COMPANY PROFILE
Candyskin provides solution in lingerie that’s never short of stylish and fancy creations. They are like a breath of fresh air with their cool silhouettes. They found that the Indian lingerie market was quite didactic, sorely lacking creativity, which women would like themselves: Cool, fashion-centric women who aren’t looking for the same boring basics but also aren’t looking to splurge on luxury lingerie but can obtain the same fit, look and feel. They wanted to give birth to the X-factor that was always missing.
“It wouldn’t have existed had my younger sister, Riya and I not gotten a chance to see how sophisticated the high street shopping experience was internationally. We could not believe the lingerie brands around the world conducted themselves so flawlessly, every time we shopped, we would be tempted to buy the entire shop. We used the term ‘candies’ for lingerie, we wanted all of them. We always wondered, why is everything so amazing abroad and we don’t have this in India? Since I was young, I had that very moment decided to enter the high street market space after completing my education.” says, Richa Kalra.
At 17 when Richa Kalra was stern about her career, she pursued her education with learning designing and marketing at London college of fashion, London, U.K with a Masters in brand management from Marangoni, Milan, Italy. On the other hand, Riya Kalra graduated with a business degree from European University, Barcelona, Spain followed by a Masters in luxury brand management in Marangoni, London, U.K. However it wasn’t just about graduating with degrees, it was about gaining that exposure.
“While studying, living and travelling abroad we learnt a lot about International Markets. The way these international brands catered to women was amazing, Hot models who looked like angels, everything so pink, everything too delicious, tempting and stunning. These Markets were so to the point with everything, the displays, the colour palettes, designs, styles, fit and the overall experience, always so sexy and attractive. Everything was always a 10/10, Extremely tasteful. There were no awkward moments, we had no men staring at us. There were no catalogues and no limitations of colours and styles to what we could buy. Every time we shopped in our hometown and said the word Bra, I felt like I said something that’s not permitted or allowed to say out loud.” says, Riya Kalra.
The atmosphere of shops in India made it too embarrassing for them to ask valid questions regarding strap fitness or cup-size. So they soon realized that this is an issue that probably exists for all girls and women in India. Not only is the complete experience of bra shopping lacking entirely, but options were slim to none. Offering customers a variety of trends and styles for their lingerie at these particular shops was merely an afterthought. Abroad, lingerie brands successfully made lingerie shopping a true experience for women, by having a female professional who would size you with a proper measuring tape, consult you on what bras works for you and which doesn’t and simply understanding your requirement, as every woman’s needs are unique. Whatever the reason, lingerie shopping in other countries always seemed fun, interactive, and empowering to them.
It is no surprise that there is a huge gap between what’s happening in the women’s lingerie market in India, what is happening abroad. Although India’s population is three times that of the U.S., the Indian lingerie market is still valued to be in between $2.5-3.0 billion, whereas in the U.S. it is estimated to be around $10 billion. There is huge potential in India to grow this market, as women are becoming more modernized, have more disposable income, and are shopping online.
Their thought process kick-started a year of research, which involved trying on “hundreds and thousands” of bras and taking notes on what they liked or didn’t like about the styles. But off course, of all the fields of fashion design, lingerie is the most technically tricky part, requiring an enormous amount of precision and expertise.
“The kind of existence we encountered overseas was unbelievable, female professionals helped us figure out our bra and cup sizes, with that came the chatting and talking, we got suggestions on what type of bra suited each of our body types and we felt comfortable and attractive in our lingerie for the first time. The experience was just something else, it made us feel like treasured customers. I realised we need to make an effort to make inner-wear category a bit towards outerwear, by which I mean a comfortable thing to talk about.” says, Riya Kalra.
That’s how Candyskin was born. #ForWomenByWomen, they ticked all the boxes that they thought were missing, From the look and feel to the fit and touch, Candyskin planned to have it all. They have succeeded to create the premium feel factor. their designs, patterns, colors, brand name, everything was born according to the international standards. Their price points start from 500 INR to 2,500 INR, they work on creating fashionable lingerie which is highly comfortable with a great fit and lots of love.
Riya Kalra comments, “We have entered the market with a whole new bunch of pop colours and styles. We are currently concentrating a lot on seamless panties and fancy bras. We have covered push-ups, tshirt bras, demi and underwired and non padded bras in a very elegant manner. We cater up-to size 30 B to 40D for now. We wanted to create something special, something magical. After all, buying lingerie is not just regular shopping.”
We had an exclusive chat with Co-founder Richa Kalra. Here she talks about the philosophy of Candyskin and its strategies. Candyskin intends to follow to tap the huge market in India.
Where are the products being manufactured ?
R.K: “Our Products are being manufactured in Sri Lanka and Hong kong, we source all the fabrics from China and Italy.”
Why did you plan to outsource your production and not have it manufactured here in India?
R.K: “Countries like Sri Lanka are known for its high quality production units specializing in lingerie manufacturing, we tried a lot of Indian production houses but the kind of finesse we achieved from Sri Lanka, was incredible and hence we chose to go with it.”
What hurdles did you encounter in getting your product developed?
R.K: “Finding the right manufacturer’s and matching their MCQ’s and MOQ’s was difficult as we were just starting out and their average requirements were very high compared to our requirements.”
How did you decide on the silhouettes? What was the inspiration behind it? Did you follow any trends? If yes, which trend forecasters did you rely upon?
R.K: “We’ve grown up seeing how lingerie brands around the world conducted themselves. During studying, living and traveling abroad we saw how these brands catered to women, it was amazing. Their collections and fits made women feel comfortable and sexy at the same time.
We followed various trend forecasting and colours forecasting websites like WGSN to keep up with the current trends and forecasting’s of future trends. Because we work with a very pop colorpalette, we have also been inspired by many things and places. Even the silhouettes have been decided and designed studying today’s youth and what the new generation is craving and looking for, we have had a couple of international designers on board through our designing stage.”
Tell us more about your collection? What is the single most USP? Are you satisfied with the way this collection has turned out?
R.K: “Our collection is very colourful and consists of silhouettes that are fairly new in the Indian market. All the styles in our collection are suitable for age groups ranging from 16 – 40 year old women looking to feel delicious. We stand for unique designs, which are not to be found anywhere, but with us. We have created fashionable lingerie with an immense comfort and great fit with one of a kind color combinations and great pattern cutting. Our product is premium and has a very international feel to it. Also, we do 17 + sizes in every bra, unlike most brands that only cater 34 & 36 B & C cup sizes. If we had to pick one product we absolutely love, it is our seamless microfibre panty, we do this in 12 colors and 3 styles, and they are softer than butter.”
How many employees? How do you divide the labour between the two of you?
R.K: “We currently employ 50 people. Richa handles the design and marketing, where as Riya handle’s the website and the production of the Brand.”
What are your plans for promoting/ marketing of the brand?
R.K: “We are currently only concentrating on Digital Marketing. Social media marketing in various social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube, as well as various advertisements on Google through GSN and GDN.”
Who is your target consumer? How do you define this person?
“Our Target consumer is someone who is in her early twenties, recently graduated or graduating from her undergrad (college) and has recently started working in an Advertising firm or a marketing firm or maybe a start up. She’s an explorer, a dreamer, a traveler. She spends her weekends hanging with her friends, shopping from H&M, Zara and other high-street brands, she a foodie, she’s nerdy, she’s fun. She aspires to have a very high standard of living in the mid-segment salary range.
What in your definition is a BRAND?
R.K: “A brand is a distinguishing logo and name for which it is known for in the market. A combination of these is what companies use to distinguish their products from others in the market.
It adds the value and trust factor to a product that has its name. Its easily identified and relatable by the consumer. A brand is simply an added value to a product.”
Anything we should look out for in the coming weeks/months/years?
R.K: “Lookout for Candyskin’s campaigns and activities, the constant additions to our collection and product line. We work really hard on our creative to make everything look beautiful, and create that delicious vibe to our brand.”
What are your plans for the future?
R.K: “We plan to get into various premium offline stores as well as at various online market places. We would like to reveal our new product line ones its completely ready, till then continue shopping from Candyskin. This year we are very excited to see your response.”