Know What Led These Two Fashionistas Make it to The Entrepreneur India's 35under35 List

With their Fashion Label, FabAlley, these two women entrepreneurs are enabling women to wear heart on their sleeves

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By Punita Sabharwal • Mar 3, 2019 Originally published Mar 3, 2019

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Blenders Pride Reserve Collection presents Entrepreneur's 35U35 list included some path-breaking names from the field of entrepreneurship and Tanvi Malik & Shivani Poddar made it to the list owing to their fashion label, FabAlley, an online fashion store for women to showcase eccentric identities by a way of unique clothing at prices that won't make women go white. Below is their amazing story!

Giving up a comfortable, promising role at a conglomerate firm to launch an independent label in the mercurial world of fashion is a career move that many would refrain to make. That is why MBA graduates Tanvi Malik and Shivani Poddar were not daunted by the prospects of failure. A simple conversation about how every woman on the metro looked almost the same and their shared apathy for the generalizations that came with it embarked the two on their maiden entrepreneurial journey. They quit their corporate jobs in 2011 to become visionaries with a penchant for showcasing eccentric identities by way of unique clothing at prices that didn't make women go white.

With a little apprehension but a lot of vigor, they birthed High Street Essentials' (HSE's) flagship brand, FabAlley. Wear your heart on your sleeves can be a judicious tagline for the brand. Tanvi and Shivani were quick to grasp a problem in the industry — the lack of wardrobe solutions inclusive of all body types and social occasions. Most fusion-wear brands were too culturally coded to keep up with the changing value systems of young Indian women looking to style their saris and skirts, a little differently. The duo, riding on their initial idea's success, launched daughter brands Indya, an indo-western fusion line and Curve, their plus size clothing venture soon after. Reflecting on her label's initial, testing years, Tanvi says, "We struggled to find the right product-price-market fit. Hiring the right talent was also a challenge as many professionals in the field were hesitant to bet on rebellion. However, knowing our customer's needs inside out and being brave enough to meet them paid off over time."

HSE now records an 80 percent+ Year-on-Year growth and is the only online-led company in the country to be profitable. It broke even in FY18 with gross sales of Rs 80 crore and is on the track to close FY19 while staying EBITDA positive. To make their clothes more accessible, the duo also runs 135 offline retail touch points along with servicing 120,000 orders a month on their websites. Customer satisfaction is more rewarding to them than the Rs 60 crore funding they secured from SAIF Partners at a recent Series B round in late 2018. Asked about the road ahead, Shivani Poddar says, "The recent Series B capital infusion will help us scale our offline presence to 250 outlets by the end of FY20. Collaborations with social media influencers and bloggers will also render our websites more visible. Indian women have traditionally been expected to be meek in their expression and we're glad to be changing that."

(This article appears in the February 2019 issue of Entrepreneur Magazine. To subscribe, click here. You can buy our tablet version from Magzter.com. To visit our Archives, click here.)

Punita Sabharwal

Deputy Editor, Entrepreneur India Magazine

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