FT Special

The new vision of lingerie shopping- The Woman who changed the way we shop for lingerie

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Richa Kar, Founder, Zivame

Great are the women who not only compete in the market but also inspire other women to do something that makes lives easier for the womankind. One of those many women who have their names written in the list of women successful entrepreneurs of India is RichaKar, the founder and CEO of the online retail website exclusively for lingerie, Zivame.

Richa belongs to the city of Jamshedpur. She completed her graduation from BITS Pilani in 2002 and her post-graduation from NarseeMonji Institute of Management Studies in 2007.

She gained her earlier experiences while working in Spencers and later worked with Limited, the parent company of Victoria’s Secret during the time she was working with SAP. She was amazed to know that more than 45% of the sales of Victoria’s Secrets were done online. This insight was going to be the pillar of her business model in future.

Richa realised the discomfort that women in India often faced while purchasing lingerie. There was awkwardness between the customer and the shopkeeper. The same problems were being faced in almost all the states. The shopkeepers were male, there were limited designs, comfort was often neglected, women were shy and there was an unavailability of sizes for everyone.

All this inspired and pushed her to come up with something that would take the women out of this embarrassment. With a fund of 30 lacs which she borrowed from her friends and family members, she started from a small office on August 25, 2011, Zivame. Within 3 years, her business expanded tremendously and she had a team of 200 members. Her idea of providing women with 5000 styles, 50 brands and 100 sizes of innerwear worked. She, before making each and every decision, tried to think from the point of view of a woman and this helped her to provide the range of a complete lingerie solution. She believes that her customers are the centre of everything that her company does. All her customer care executives are female so that the customers can discuss their problems with ease and a friendly relation is maintained.

All this was not easy. The business in which that she was going to step into was something that is not often talked about. There was a scarcity of reasonable and good-quality products in the market and the shopkeepers often kept only those sizes with them which were easily sold. But soon, her idea was successful. Women preferred Zivame because of its variety, the availability of sizes and that there was something for everyone in every price range. Also, the privacy was maintained which was the most crucial. That connectivity that was established with the buyers helped the team to improve at every step. Today, Zivame has been successful in acquiring 60% of the revenue from its in-house brands. “I guess conviction in one’s belief is the greater driver”, she says. There is no doubt as to how this brand has established itself as the leading online retail store for lingerie and has inspired aspiring entrepreneurs to work with utmost dedication and not fear if they are working or going out of the box to achieve their goals