When we talk of shopping for lingerie, it’s usually paying a visit to the neighbourhood retail store and picking what you want. However, in the past few years, lingerie shopping has changed and how! With brands having their own outlets and the rising awareness among women, this most intimate garment in a women’s wardrobe has taken centre stage. And so, the face of retail too has changed giving these fashion-savvy ladies, who want more from their lingerie shopping spree, an unforgettable experience. Candyskin is one such brand that endeavours to offers it’s customers a comfortable and memorable experience.
Started by sisters Richa and Riya Kalra, Candyskin is a premium, lingerie brand made for women, by women. Recently, they launched their first retail outlet in Andheri (West), Mumbai, with the aim to offer women an out-of-this-world experience while shopping for intimates. A brand that symbolises vivaciousness, the store itself defines this impeccably in its decor and interiors. It’s as if the store has personality of its own; for, it’s designed in a way to make a woman feel most comfortable and welcomed while browsing through Candyskin’s eclectic collection.
The sisters have put in great efforts to offer the best to their customers. One does not feel as though they have stepped into a regular retail store; stepping into it makes one feel as though they’ve entered some exotic place. The fit consultants and the manager make sure the customer feels at home; besides, the interiors are not only welcoming and helpful but the products are displayed strategically, in a manner where one need not sift through the collections.
Everything is made to look enticing and inviting, thus making it simple and easy for the customer to get what they want.
LNL spoke to Richa Kalra about their latest venture and to gain insights on their future plans.
How would you define your store in Mumbai?
Entire thought behind the store was to have an international feel. We always wanted to serve the underserved underwear market of India and the ladies, We feel that they are underserved by their underwear. We are trying to create a nice experiential store, where a customer comes in and the fit consultant offers tea, coffee, etc., makes her feel comfortable and understand what she wants and what she wears. She’ll do a sizing test for the lady and recommend what styles would suit her body type; basically we want to add experience in a retail model.
Do tell us the space in sq ft and the number of people (staff) in the store including the manager.
It’s 450 sq ft and we have two fit consultants and one manager.
Do tell us about the interiors and decor of the store. Also give us details of Visual Merchandising?
We have tried to give the store a very classy look. We didn’t do the whole pink scenario as we didn’t want our products to be overruled by the colour. For us, we want our store to be very comfortable and when it came to Visual Merchandising (VM) we decorated it in such a manner that one can’t see inside the store. So, a woman does not feel uncomfortable while shopping and so it’s sexy yet conservative. Everything is about mirrors, whites, and gold, nice arcs, the product pops out, we have used spotlights to create a certain kind of feel in the store. And, there’s mood lighting as well.
What aspects of retail concepts were kept in mind while designing this store? Have you been able to achieve these objectives?
We have achieved whatever we wanted to by creating a store where VM is a big part but yet you cannot see inside the store. So, it’s comfortable for the woman to shop. We’ve achieved everything we wanted, from mood lights, to popping of products because of the LED strips, the spotlights used, to highlighting products. We have given it a very clean and classy look. We have added that experience in our store, so basically we’ve achieved whatever we have wanted to. Of course, there’s room for improvement and as and when we understand what our customers want we will be making those improvements in real time.
What is the philosophy behind Candyskin?
We want to prove that an Indian brand can have similar experience as international brands. We don’t only think of fashion; we want to highlight the fact that we are a brand that don’t only want you to look beautiful, but feel beautiful and we want you to feel delicious about yourself and we want you to love the lingerie that you wear. In one line, our philosophy behind Candyskin is ‘to add functionality in our lingerie with fashion’.
What is the retail strategy planned and how it is being implemented to reach out to your customers?
We are trying to create awareness and raise awareness by having a couple of blogger meets where we have fit consultation lessons. And we are getting bloggers to write about how important it is to wear the right size lingerie. And the strategy, behind our retail is that we’ve implemented a lot of basics this year, in our line of fashion so we have a mix of both and we can reach out to every sort of customer and we don’t want any customer to leave us without a product, so we’ve tried to add everything. So we are listening to our consumers.
What makes for a good retail environment and how has this changed with the advent of online shopping?
Online shopping can never be super-used with lingerie. People love trying lingerie and footwear. These two categories don’t get disturbed by online shopping because maximum percentage of people still like to try their lingerie personally before buying it. What makes a good retail environment is that we offer fitting sessions; this can help a person find the right fit in a bra; this experience can’t be taken away by online shopping and also the right suggestion.
How are you able to integrate the offers online with that on the offline channel? How big a challenge is this?
The challenge is very big; for instance it’s 9/10. We do not really care much for online and work really hard on offline because we really want our customers to feel amazing we want our customers to come back to us a so we are very strict about our discounts and we maintain the same price parity online and offline. Because our aim is not only give the product but to offer an experience. So, the challenge is big but not big for us. It’s a big challenge for the online industry. For e.g., if an e-commerce platform decides to run discounts on its own then we have no control on it.
What are your return policies when it comes to retail?
You can exchange a bra for a different size but not return it; you can get a credit note. There is no return or exchange on panties. There is a 21-day exchange policy.
What are your plans going ahead?
We are planning to open 25 stores in 2019 pan-India.