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“StyleCracker”, the Startup of Which Alia Bhatt buys stakes, Bridges Gap Between Stylists and Consumers

Bollywood actor Alia Bhatt has picked up a small minority stake in a fashion-tech startup, StyleCracker for an undisclosed amount, becoming the latest celebrity to turn into an investor. It is not the first time when a Bollywood star is picking up a stake in startups.

StyleCracker was founded by Dhimaan Shah and Archana Walavalkar in 2013. The startup, run by Mumbai-based Kanvas Consultancy Pvt. Ltd, connects women shoppers with designers for advice on fashion and styling trends.

It also provides users access to a catalogue of looks and offers workshops on corporate styling, induction and refresher programs, gifting, and soft skills training.

Dhimaan Shah (left) and Archana Walavalkar (right), founders of StyleCracker with Alia Bhatt
Dhimaan Shah (left) and Archana Walavalkar (right), founders of StyleCracker with Alia Bhatt

“This has come from my heart and not mind,” said Bhatt. “I am not actively looking for investments, but Archana has been my stylist for many years and when I came to know about StyleCracker, it seemed like a very logical move.”

Post this round, Dhimaan Shah and Archana Walavalkar will jointly own 65% stake in StyleCracker. Bhatt and a group of other investors, including a few investment bankers, a former private equity company trading head and a fund manager, will hold the remaining stake.

Shah, StyleCracker’s MD, said the company is a first of its kind tech-fashion start-up. “We are like style advisors for our customers. We are already seeing 60-65% repeat business, and this fund-raising will help us to scale up,” he said.

The four-year-old startup allows users to order celebrity-curated customised boxes containing apparel, accessories, cosmetics and footwear. A customer only has to fill in a form mentioning preferences, personal details such as body shape, size, and budget, and a fashion box is curated by celebrity stylist, according to information on the company’s website. Users have the option to keep what they like and replace what they don’t.

“What I liked about StyleCracker is that it’s bridging the gap between the individual and the expert,” Alia Bhatt said in a statement.

The customized boxes are priced at Rs 2,999, Rs 4,999 and Rs 6,999 and the company said it has shipped over 50,000 such boxes across 35 cities in the last four months. The funds raised in this round will be deployed in expanding their business spread.

The startup has also disclosed that though they have been servicing only female customers so far, they would soon be including the men also in their style creations and fashion boxes.