There has always been an offline behaviour of sharing pre-loved items amongst immediate friends and family circle. With surge in internet penetration, technology provides a huge platform to replicate this behaviour online in a much more holistic manner. Since sharing economy in fashion has just started stirring up in India, startups like Envoged, Zapyle.com, Stylish Play, Share Wardrobe and Etashee are few prominent portals competing to tap the multi-billion dollar market opportunity in India.
Founded in March 2015 by IIT Kharagpur alumni Anandita Singh, Manisha Barnwal and Saahil Narang (ex-Bain & Co.), Envoged is a re-commerce platform that allow owners of luxury goods like handbags, footwear and accessories to easily sell items they no longer need.
“Everyday we opened our closets, all that we saw was a pile of clothes, shoes and handbags that were just lying there. Many of them bought impulsively or not the perfect fit or we just never felt like wearing after we bought them. There was always this wish to buy luxury fashion wear, but the guilt of an already over flooded wardrobe stopped us to buy more. We realized every other girl in the country faces this guilt. And thus the idea of Envoged, a social platform to shop and sell pre-loved luxury fashion. We started working and researching on this idea in December 2014 and finally launched on 23rd March 2015,” said Singh, Co-founder, Envoged.
How it works?
The platform works on a consignment model. Where they procure items that a customer wants to sell, consign it with them for a period of 2-3 months, and as and when it sells they credit the amount to their account. They keep 20 per cent commission on every listing price. The startup further takes care of collecting the items, consigning them, checking for authenticity, determining the ideal resale price and then finally helping sell them online.
To maintain the authenticity, each and every item listed on their website goes through a rigorous list of checks on quality, authenticity and usability. Only then it is made live on to the platform for sale. “Authenticity is very crucial when it comes to shopping luxury online, and we go an extra mile to ensure that each and every product listed on the platform is 100per cent genuine.” said Barnwal, Co-founder, Envoged.
Transparent services which keep users updated on the status of each and every item that gets listed and its authentication team is what makes Envoged stand unique from other companies. “It’s a one of a kind model where the seller (whose closet is brimming with such items of luxury or is just bored of couple of them) can liquidate and cashes her closet in; use the funds for her next purchase. And on the other hand, the buyers who could not dream of buying these goods from their favorite brands can now easily afford them. It’s a win-win for both the parties,” said Singh.
Recently, the startup has also raised an undisclosed amount in a seed funding from Ankush Nijhawan, MD, Nijhawan Group; Manish Dhingra, Mediology Software and AMG Investment’s Gaurav Bhatnagar. Alok Mittal, Co-founder and CEO, Indifi Technologies Private Limited; Himanshu Aggarwal, CEO, Aspiring Minds; Bollywood actor Jackky Bhagnani and Anant Goenka of Indian Express also participated in this round. The venture plans to utilize this fund for scaling up its reach and strengthening its technology.
Commenting on the investment, the trio, Nijhawan, Dhingra and Bhatnagar said “Luxury is a very fast growing space but severely limited by affordability and availability. Many young people would love to buy more, only if they could liquidate their previous purchases easily”.
Speaking about fund raising experience, Singh said, “Fund raising is always tricky. We were looking out for a group of people or an institution who shares the same vision as ours; and were lucky enough to form such a consortium of experienced personnel from diverse backgrounds who would back us up and our journey ahead.”
Journey was not so easy as it’s seems
Envoged was started with a vision of making luxury fashion accessible to the masses at attractive prices but to make their vision a realistic one, the startup has to go through lot of hurdles. Started out as a web platform, company’s biggest problem was to convince seller to trust on their product.
“Taking the product to the market was not that big a problem. The issue lied in convincing the sellers to trust us with our products, for the first time. Once they cultivated some trust on us and our services, they started recommending each other in their personal networks making it much easier. We have always focussed on quality service, transparent and timely communication and understanding as well as addressing the concerns of our customers the best. This has helped us build the trust and understanding,” Singh recollects.
Envoged claims to have more than 150 transactions in last two months and around 3,000 registered sellers and buyers in total. They have recently expanded their reach to Delhi and soon planning to expand to other metros and Tier II cities. “We want to expand to all the major cities in the country in terms of sourcing the supply and become a one stop solution for people who want to refresh their wardrobes easily and quickly”, said Singh.