Next Big Brand’s sister company Uppskill’s tagline, “Rukna to Hai Hi Nahi” motivated me to write this article on Sunday that is generally a holiday and a day when we don’t want to do anything after a hectic week. “Rukna to hai hi nahi” means “Don’t Want to Stop,” (special thanks to Google Translate feature). The real translation with the motive is that we should not stop until we reach our destination.
Let’s come to the point. Today in the Women’s Week celebration, Next Big Brand wants to share a story of a woman who fought with her family and friends to start an online lingerie shopping platform.
Yes, we live in India where our society even doesn’t want to discuss anything on this topic. If you go to an offline store to buy lingerie, they sell it through a black cover or a material that will hide its identity. We are still a modern society. Surprising, isn’t it?
In such an environment, Richa Kar showed courage to start an online lingerie platform after leaving a high-paying corporate job.
Who is Richa Kar?
In a country like India where the majority of the companies belong to male owners, she broke the stereotype to get noticed in the business world. Richa is from Jamshedpur. She completed B.Tech from BITS Pilani, one of the prestigious engineering Institutions in India. She started a corporate job in Bengaluru after the Engineering degree. After few years, she joined the MBA program. Later, she got a job in Spencer but left it to join SAP as the retail Consultant. She founded Zivame.com, an online lingerie store, and became famous for the unique idea startup she brought to India.
Richa believes in taking chances for business success. This thing helped her to go with the lingerie business idea despite strong opposition from her family, especially her parents. Richa only believed in her idea but also showed it to the world that if you are focused, success is just a step away.
How Richa Got Zivame Idea?
Before starting her business, Richa was doing well in her professional field. She had a high-paying job with a settled career. While working for SAP, she got plenty of knowledge related to retail sector startup establishment.
She did a thorough research about the operations of Victoria’s Secret, a World-known Retailer of Women’s Lingerie. It was also one of the SAP clients that Richa was handling. She observed immense growth in the Victoria business.
It triggered her to start a similar platform in India. She worked for 8 years in the retail sector that helped her to gain a lot of retail business knowledge. She was ready to start the Indian version of Victoria’s Secret. This is how Zivame came into existence.
Initial Hurdles and Zivame Growth
Once she decided about Zivame, she talked with her mother related to the online lingerie platform. She got surprised after her mother’s reaction. Richa did not get any encouraging words from her mother. Her mother was more concerned about society’s reaction once Richa starts this odd business. In India, we are more worried about, “Log Kya Kahege” ( What People will Say). How I will tell the people that my daughter sells bra panties? This was her mother’s thought. Her father also opposed her business idea.
She knew what she is doing. She started an online lingerie store against her parents’ will. She visited so many malls to get lingerie sales ideas. She also interviewed so many women to know how difficult it is to buy lingerie in India. She was shocked to know how women get embarrassed while buying these items. She also came to know that in offline stores, women feel difficulty in talking about lingerie sizes.
Initially, she thought to start an online lingerie store with a “Ziva” name. While registering process, she came to know that it is not available. Finally, she settled with “Zivame”.
She launched Zivame in 2011 with all her savings plus borrowed money from friends that were around Rs 35 lakh. She started it on 25th August with a small office. Within 5 hours, she got her first order. To maintain other business operations and inventory, she needed more money. She raised $9 million in funding from different investors. Within 3 years, a small office Zivame expended to 200 employees startup.
Zivame focussed on one category, unlike other e-commerce companies. She brought a great variety for women to satisfy their needs. Today, Richa is one of the known influential entrepreneurs in India.
Next Big Brand salutes her courage to start a business against all odds. In 2017, Richa Kar resigned as the CEO of Zivame. However, she is still a valuable member of the board. We wish her more success in her future endeavors.