“My mother would pick my bra for me. I didn’t even know there were different kinds and varieties till the bigger stores and brands came into town,” said a young woman on Thursday at Zivame’s first lingerie fitting lounge.
Sipping on wine and surrounded by pretty lacy lingerie, the women present had no qualms in opening up and discussing body types, cup sizes, shapes and under busts.
Did you know that a woman’s body changes shape every six months, and, along with it, her bra size. The average number of times a woman needs to change her bra in a year is at least once in three months. In fact the kind of bra one wears can change the shape and look of one’s body.
Free fittings, consultations and sessions helped women choose a bra according to their body shape and size. Richa Kar, Founder and CEO, Zivame, who was present at the opening, said, “The reason I started the lounge was not to focus on the sales or the promotion of the brand but to truly educate women. Most women even today are clueless about the fit and sizes of the lingerie they need to pick.”
Not a store but a fitting lounge
The fitting rooms have over 16 different sizes and measurements shown with different categories and types. Customers can walk in and enter their details on a tab for the professional fitters and experts. After this, they are measured and fitted and can then pick and choose the kind of bra they want to try out. If convinced, they can make an online purchase right there or can decide to later on.
While the lounge stocks Zivame’s in-house brand for the touch-and-feel experience, at the time of online purchase, customers can decide to pick any brand they want. The merchandise displayed at the lounge isn’t for sale.
Why a fitting lounge
According to a survey conducted by Zivame, four out of five women are not aware of the right size for themselves and have been wearing ill-fitting bras all their life. About 82 per cent of the Indian women have never received professional help in finding the right bra.
Lingerie shopping involved walking into a small boxed store and looking for bras that seemed to fit the bill. It took a while to understand the right procedure to measure and the differences. The team at Zivame decided to look at the different barriers that a consumer faces when she walks in to buy her bra.
“While we say we have a lot of sizes, varieties and brands, there was no offline place where a woman can walk in to find what a D or a DD cup is and the difference between them,” said Richa.
So is this Zivame’s foray into the offline market? Not according to Richa.
She said that it would defeat the initial vision and idea of starting Zivame, if that were the case. She wanted the store to provide a perfect touch-and-feel experience to complement the online store. “At an offline store, you need to worry about inventory and operations. The reason we started this lounge was to make the whole bra and lingerie buying experience more comfortable and easier,” says Richa.
Having raised its Series C funding round in September, Zivame claims to sell one bra every minute. Close to 60 per cent of revenue comes from its in-house brands. And 30 per cent of the revenue comes from Tier II and III cities. Shapewear has seen a 336 per cent increase in one year.
The idea of a fitting lounge is not a new concept globally. Victoria&8217;s Secret and other lingerie stores abroad mandatorily have a fitting lounge. Brands like ButterCups too has a fitting lounge. Richa said that Zivame&8217;s was set up with the vision to help women get the best quality lingerie, and remove the taboo associated with its purchase. The brand aims to launch 10 such fitting lounges across the country in the next three years.
According to the Global Lingerie Market report compiled by Research and Markets, the global online lingerie market is pegged to grow at a CAGR of 18.18 per cent. The report covered Europe, APAC, North America and rest of the world.
In the US alone the market is believed to grow at 16 per cent. Online lingerie store PrettySecrets raised a Series A round from Orios Venture Partners and India Quotient; Cloe is backed by Mountains Partners and was rebranded ‘Clovia&8217; while raising a Series A from Ivycap Ventures.