FT Special

Going the “wooplr” way: the creation of social fashion platform

In this fast-paced tech savvy world it is hard to keep up with daily changing trends. Mobile phones become outdated within weeks, clothing fizzle out their charm in a while. What options should we turn to when we want to keep updated about it all? Fashion today isn’t just about keeping up with trends. It’s a mélange of comfort, elegance, and style. We all have our own styles that we feel comfortable in. They may not always be defined by what our favourite models wear. It’s about breathing comfort and style. With exactly these thoughts in mind Arjun Zacharia, Ankit Sabharwal, Praveen Rajaretnam and Soumen Sarkar came up with a fashion startup Wooplr, a quirky name which simply means “Extreme happiness” experienced while shopping.

Wooplr is the first social Fashion platform that caters to personalized tastes of their buyers. Social Fashion platform – because Wooplr has a unique team of people that actually try out different outfits and accessories and post them on the App. Buyers have a choice of sifting through the options and going in for items they like. Once that is done, they themselves can post their pictures as well so as to influence other buyers in their locality or friend circle!

Wooplr has a team of bloggers, models, and influencers who model different styles just so that buyers can see their options. It is a virtual basis of giving opinions and helping your friends shop.

BeFunky Collage
Arjun Zacharia, Co-Founder Of Wooplr With His Team

CEO Arjun Zacharia also says “Wooplr is built on the concept that shopping is greatly influenced by the aim to bring the social element back into the act of shopping.”

The Fashion platform started out in 2014 when the 4 co-founders realized that style, recommendation, and inspiration were virtually non-existent. They started their business model based on the 3 C’s – Content, Community, and Commerce.

Content – the co-founders delved into finding models and filters to discover relevant fashion products. They pooled in their basic material for the shoppers.

Community – next, they brought in bloggers, models, and influencers to become the array of choices. They supply an ocean of options to every user. There are nearly 20,000 users every day!

Commerce – finally to complete the process, fashion brands, long tail merchants and a mix of online and offline retail brands were called in. Wooplr is currently working with about 100 brands and choose to expand up to 1000 brands by the financial year of 2018. And right now with just 100 brands below their belt, Wooplr’s consumer market consists of 20 million women!

First meet-up of the Wooplr Fashion Ambassadors. Location- Wooplr Office
First meet-up of the Wooplr Fashion Ambassadors. Location- Wooplr Office

“Focus is on personalization and fashion options, not on discounts and sales,” Zacharia mentions in an interview with Mint. This factor is what gives an edge to the functionality of Wooplr. They bring to the customers their own choice of apparel. Instead of confirming to market trends and what’s “in, customers have a choice of their own. Bring in 1000 brands along with all the marketing plans, and consumer audiences will rise to a whopping 80 million by 2020.

When asked about what had attracted the investors to Wooplr, Zacharia confides by telling Mint that the model of 3 C’s had given their shoppers a holistic experience. There is no loose end that is left unattended while serving their customers. Since their inception 3 years ago, their focus has been on expanding market base and not changing tactics.

Wooplr has raised $5 million from Helion Ventures as a part of series A round of raising money in January 2015. Also, in December 2016 the company had raised $25,000 – $30,000 from Anand Chandrasekharan – ex-chief product officer of Snapdeal as a part of a larger funding round. In 2017 they have raised $8 million in a series B round of funding led by Systema Asia Fund. Existing investors Helion Ventures and Amereus Group were present at the event as well. With such sound backing, Wooplr aims to give their customers better and improved shopping experiences. Their Fashion segment in India includes brands like Forever 21, Zara and Nykaa. These brand partnerships contribute to 15% of their revenue. The company makes money by charging 20% of the order value as a commission from the brands. “Such brand collaborations have huge revenue potential for Wooplr and for the brands to create awareness”. Zacharia says.

Eugeniy Ivanets – investment director of Amereus Group has revealed to the Mint “Globally companies like Mogujie (China) and Younique (USA) have led socially driven commerce to greater heights. Wooplr is set up to create just the unique experiences for fashion shoppers in India.”

Finally, Zacharia says “We are happy to have Systema and Amereus Group as a part of this journey because they bring international experience and capabilities in this consumer-focused technology business.”