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The Slow Burn Dream
“Mambo, the first international surf wear brand, literally fell into our arms”
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The first spark of her entrepreneurial dream — to create a fashion destination where women get transformed by not just apparel but accessories and make up too — took form when she was in her seventh grade. From then it has been “slow burn” leading Sanjita Prasad to establish Ira Soleil. The company’s vision is to provide an emotive sustainable environment for its employees and customers.
She says Ira Soleil has been profitable since the first year of inception. Its revenue has grown from Rs 6.35 crore in 2016 to Rs 7.1 crore in 2017 and to Rs 10.5 crore in 2018. With an average EBIDTA of 7 per cent — 9 per cent, the company is targeting 50 per cent annual growth over the next two years, and then 35 per cent in 2021.
A Long Road
Ira Soleil’s mission is to synergise Indian heritage design with global sensibility. By 2020, the brand aims to be available in all major domestic verticals, and have online and offline verticals in international markets including the US, UK, Europe, Singapore, South Africa and Australia.
Lack of funds and some mistakes made were some very expensive life lessons for Prasad’s initial journey. But she sees the surf wear brand Mambo, as a breakthrough for the company. “Mambo, the first international surf wear brand, literally fell into our arms during our first trade fair participation.This was the beginning of a long and very satisfying journey into global business.
Launching of the Ira Soleil and seeing it shoot into orbit within months is the biggest breakthrough we could have hoped for,” she says. The Indian ecommerce industry alsohelped Ira Soleil grow faster, where the likes of Myntra and Jabong gave the brand a bigger platform. “It really was great timing and took away a lot of pressures that can come without the right marketing strategy,” Prasad observes.
Ira Soleil had identified four main issues in the Indian ethnic market. The target audience seemed to be amorphous. Styling was ‘safe’ and commercial, there was little or no innovation in design. More often than not, fabrics and colours were universal and there were no distinct differentiators products from one brand could easily be passed off for another. “We hence launched a category that was hitherto reserved for designers and sold only in boutiques,” explains Prasad. Her approach comprised several steps, making fashion apparel for special occasions, making design extremely edgy and bringing boutiques to the mainstream market. The outcome was uniqueness in the product in terms of silhouettes, colours, treatment and most fabrics, along with aggressive price points to tap the ‘aspirational’ designer wear market.
“The price gap between our styles and a comparable design from a boutique is very wide, giving us plenty of elbow room to add higher-end design elements and expand into more of closet space with our customers. Ira Soleil is now adding Ira Soleil Drama, which will fit into the ‘high fashion’ segment but with the same high value deliverables,” she adds.