DesiFirangi.com is the brainchild of Shailesh Nigam, an advertising and marketing professional, who was still working with his previous organization in 2014 when he started thinking about this venture. As he started discussing the idea with some other professionals in manufacturing, finance and analytics, all of them got interested and joined as co-founders. The company, Emagine Ventures Retail Pvt. Ltd., was formed in August, 2014 and DesiFirangi.com went live on 11th Nov, 2014. In Jan-Feb 2015, they also used FM Radio extensively to engage the Valentine’s & Wedding season consumers.Sponsoring college festivals came next in February, 2015. In May 2015, they became the official swimwear partner for Miss North India, 2015, and followed it up in October 2015 with being the official swimwear partner for Mrs. India Worldwide 2015, which was hosted at Yangon, Myanmar.Reviewing The Website.
Its user-friendly interface brings a new level of clarity and efficiency to your browsing experience. Multi-Processing design offers you a crash-free internet browsing experience and high reliability. Open tabs don’t fail to open, nor does it freeze the browser or pull other pages down. The colours reflect femininity & luxury, along with international class. The home page of the website provides a view of all the categories, with instant one-click access to the same. On the mobile phone, the home page converts to an app-like interface, enabling the visitors to automatically view all their products on a full-screen mode, and have a seamless browsing and shopping experience. While at the initial stage they experimented with a mix of red & blue for an international look, finally they decided upon mauve and pink. Mauve, as they all know, is universally associated with royalty, opulence and extravagance. Pink, the house colour of the fairer sex, signifies youthfulness, fun and romance. Together, they epitomize feminine luxury, which is what their brand represents, and that is how they finalized upon them. DesiFirangi.com was founded to cater to the fashion needs of modern Indian women by offering International quality lingerie, nightwear, beachwear, clubwear and resort wear at Indian prices. And that is precisely what their consumers expect and receive from them.
Products & Offerings
Currently, they offer their own brand, DesiFirangi, for their nightwear, beachwear, resortwear and clubwear categories. For the innerwear category, they feature Prestitia, an upcoming, reasonably priced brand with excellent product quality and designs. They are in talks with some other leading lingerie brands. Their products are sourced from both India and overseas vendors. Through their efforts, they have been able to get just the right mix of alluring designs, appealing fabric and attractive prices, both from India and abroad. That’s another reason why their name DesiFirangi works so beautifully.
Customer Service & Social Media
To provide a great consumer experience and support and to resolve any queries, they have a helpline and chat window apart from a cs email. They also offer gift vouchers, these are perfect gifts for newly-weds, anniversaries and birthdays. DesiFirangi are active on social media platforms such as facebook, youtube, pinterest, tumblr and photobucket. “We find facebook, youtube and pinterest to be quite effective, as they all allow visual representation of our products, which is key to generating consumer interest” says, Mr. Shailesh Nigam (CEO).In conversation with Shailesh Nigam (Founding Director & CEO) to learn more about Desifirangi.com
LnL: Why the name Desifirangi?
Shailesh Nigam: “We are in a category where the need for our products is universal. Everyone needs and deserves good quality lingerie at pocket-friendly prices – this is both a ‘desi’ as well as a ‘firangi’ need. Moreover, the demand for our products transcends a ‘functional need’ to become a ‘latent desire’, in urban, semi-urban and even rural. In that sense, we are a brand that is serves both masses and classes. This was the basic building block for deciding upon a name for our portal.
While deciding the name, a lot of factors were taken into consideration. We wanted something that would be easy to remember and recall, even for non-metro consumers residing in category B & C towns. We also wanted it to be catchy enough to draw people’s attention and pique their curiosity. The name personifies someone who has an ‘Indian soul and International style’.
LnL : When was desifirangi.com launched online? What led you to starting desifirangi.com?
S.N : “We launched DesiFirangi.com on 11th November, 2014. The idea for DesiFirangi.com came in the beginning of 2014. Having played a large role in shaping the e-com presence of two MNC giants in India, I had witnessed how online selling was solving availability and distribution challenges to make products reach consumers in far-flung areas at affordable prices. With a desire to do something that addresses the needs and aspirations of consumers beyond metros and state capitals, I zeroed in on women’s apparel& fashion accessories, one of the fastest growing categories for e-com industry, estimated to drive 35% of online retail revenue by 2020.
A lot of gut-feel backed by some online research, a deep analysis of online purchase trends, surveys to understand product presence and buying behaviour inside both online and physical stores and discussions with industry veterans and amongst the various co-founders of DesiFirangi.com made us to finally focus upon lingerie, nightwear and western wear.
In 2014, the innerwear market was estimated at Rs. 19,950 crore and was projected to cross Rs. 68,000 crore by 2024 at a CAGR of 13%. The high-quality market, though, was still dominated by just a few leading Indian and international brands, with prices that were out of reach for most consumers, and availability limited to very few stores.
Despite availability and price issues, the growing independence, fashion-consciousness and income levels of Indian women were getting portrayed in their rapidly-changing lifestyle, western-looking fashion sense and a pride in dressing up just for themselves. This had transformed lingerie from just a piece of unmentionable undergarment to a flaunt-worthy fashion item. Despite the women being ready to don some sensuous stuff, 4 key issue came in the way of purchasing hi-end lingerie from brick-n-mortar stores:
- Range & Quality: The absence of a good range and international quality products at a single location, and the inability to check out all designs available at the store
- Affordability Issues: Prohibitively high prices that prevented women from indulgence (starting prices of good quality lingerie began mostly upwards of Rs. 1,000/- per item)
- Emotional Resistance: Females were extremely reluctant to discuss product details, or ask for slinky, transparent designs while dealing with male sales personnel in stores
- Male Reluctance: Husbands /Single males find it embarrassing to purchase lingerie in India, even though almost all Indian males buy lingerie while traveling abroad
The nightwear market faced exactly the same issues, with just basic, everyday nighties being available in stores, and the sinfully delightful items being off-shelf at most places. DesiFirangi.com’s founders were convinced that this was something that needed to be changed for the consumer good, and this was the bastion that we wanted to break through for quality lingerie and nightwear to become easily available and affordable.
DesiFirangi.com’s founders zeroed in on these categories and started its operations with lingerie and nightwear lines first”.
LnL : How does a business owner determine if e-commerce is a smart solution? According to you where will e-commerce be in five years?
S.N : “It’s not an easy question to answer. Each product/service category has its own nuances that must be well understood and addressed. Also, people who have been in wholesale trade versus retail trade have hugely different mentalities towards stocking and pricing. A manufacturer or brand owner thinks even more differently.
For any business owner to determine if ecommerce is a smart solution for him/her, it would need a mix of gut-feel, industry data, risk-taking ability, online store creation and marketing costs, tech-support, logistics, et al to determine whether the business renders itself to online, and whether he/she is willing to plunge deep into the online sea to search for pearls, without any guarantee of finding them.
Ecommerce is definitely here to stay, for because of it, the Consumer is Queen again. It will only spread like a wildfire with better bandwidth connectivity and with easier payment options like mobile wallets coming into play. This will enable people in non-COD service locations to also buy products without having access to net-banking or debit/credit cards. Logistics is already improving at a rapid pace, and this allows even the smallest and remotest towns and villages to get products that they could only dream about till now. Notwithstanding any of that, consumer aspirations are ever-growing. There is a huge pent-up need for so-called urban products even in smaller cities; the only thing now needed to fulfil that is speed.
On the merchant front, in my opinion, there will be a consolidation at the top where large marketplace unicorns will finally need to look at profitability rather than gross merchandise value as the right way of measuring business success. This will obviously result in both mergers and acquisitions as well as shake-outs. At the other end of the spectrum, most smaller players will collapse. Only those who find a niche for themselves(where they serve a select distinct audience instead of trying to please everyone with all products under the sun) or begin collaborating with their competitors, will succeed.
As regards customers, while new, first-time online consumers will probably still look first at pricing and discounts while selecting products, the existing consumers will become much more quality-conscious and demanding, and all merchants will have to gear up for that, rather than exist largely on the benevolence of deep-discounts and crazy offers”.
LnL : What are your future plans for desifirangi.com? How do you see this journey of success?
S.N : “Our brand’s consumer lifecycle approach is to create awareness, consideration, preference, purchase and advocacy. So far, we have been quite successful and we are stable, profitable and growing.
While we are well-entrenched in the online segment, our ultimate goal is to be present in both the online and offline spaces in an extremely novel manner, to fulfil the needs of B & C category cities, especially of those consumers who have very little or virtually no access to the Internet.
All current online players in our category are simply eyeing the 10% pie, whereas our eyes are firmly set on the balance 90%, which we are sure to make inroads into within the next couple of years with our unique approach. Our pilot for the same has already shown positive results, and we should be ready to go live around Diwali this year. With our new, disruptive approach, we will be able to tap consumers at just the right time and place to position our products, while at the same time making the consumer experience much richer and purchase and delivery process much friendlier. With all things going well, we hope to grow 20x through our plans within the next 2 years.
The journey has just begun, and while we’re on the right path at a decent pace, we don’t as yet call ourselves totally successful. For success is how one defines it – most businesses view it as profitability, whereas we view it as becoming a brand that is loved by a lot of people and brings joyous, nostalgic memories to those who’ve experienced us. While we are firmly on the right path, we still have miles to go in what promises to be a very exciting and fulfilling journey. Next stop – 20x happy consumers by Diwali, 2018”.