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FabAlley: Life In The Fab Lane

FabAlley offers similar yet different product at 50 per cent lower price without compromising on the quality

Photo Credit : Ritesh Sharma

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Tanvi Malik (left) & Shivani Poddar, Founders, FabAlley

Bitten by the sting to look glamorous and keep global brands in closet, the young, stylish and working ladies of the country often face a grave problem to cop up with the ever changing trends. The problem is the high cost of the stylish wearable. Observing that there is no one to fill the vacuum, two working ladies in their mid-20s, Tanvi Malik and Shivani Poddar, decided to cater to the niche market and launched the high street fashion portal FabAlley in 2012.

Tanvi Malik, cofounder of FabAlley, says: “The aim was to offer fast fashion at a reasonable price without compromising on quality.” She explains there were very limited options for ladies aged between 22 and 35 to own a cloth, which was showcased in Milan, or Paris Fashion Week. A Zara, or Mango top wear costs Rs 2,000-2,500, whereas FabAlley promises to offer similar yet different product at 50 per cent lower price without compromising on the quality.

Shivani Poddar, cofounder, FabAlley, added that global brands have to pay numerous taxes beside bearing high logistic charges. “We are having an advantage, as we don’t have to bear those numerous taxes. Also, we design and manufacture in India.” Well, there were hundreds of online fashion portals running before FabAlley, but there was a gap in serving a niche category. The fast changing global trends are always an expensive affair to maintain and there was rarely any platform, which catered to this. Realising this, Tanvi Malik and Shivani Poddar carried out a survey. And after receiving positive responses, they made up their mind for FabAlley. Initially, they started it as an accessory-based platform with a low investment — they remained bootstrapped for a year before raising fund. Malik says: “We introduced clothing line after three months and since then there was no turning back.” FabAlley not only restricted itself to western wear, but also introduced two new labels — Curve for oversized females, and Indya for Indo-Western lovers.

Poddar also added being relevant to consumer made FabAlley a disrupter. She says: “If you fail to match up the changing trends even for a month, then you are not relevant.” Big players like Tata, Reliance and Birla are catering to the niche consumer, while Koovs and Limeroad are directly competing with FabAlley. But the founders have less to worry rather they believe that it will expand their reach as they are having more options to list their offerings.

The online-to-offline brand is one of the few startups to have reached profitability in such a short span. Started with a small workforce, FabAlley now employs 200 people. It takes 1,600-1,700 orders per day and has grown 200 per cent year-on-year. It is expanding its offline reach, and has recently collaborated with Future Group’s fashion chain Central to sell its products. Currently, they are present in 25 live stores with Central and 45 more are in pipeline.

On 13 October 2016, FabAlley raised Rs 13 crore in a Series-A round led by Mumbai-based India Quotient. With this funding, the private label will be opening up more stores through tie-ups with Shoppers Stop, Pantaloons and Lifestyle, and will also launch its own exclusive brand outlets over the next 18 months. It is also planning to enlarge its product category and spend on marketing and brand building. FabAlley grabbed eyeballs earlier when it launched an ad campaign called ‘unfollow’ featuring standup comedian Radhika Vaz topless.

Malik says: “We will be expanding to categories such as lingerie and fitness wear. We will also expand our accessories and clothing line portfolios by including bags, shoes, fashion jewellery.” Malik added that the company is working with an Indian designer for a specialised capsule collection, which will be launched in a month while the celebrity collection will go live in the next six months.

The co-founders describe their four-year journey rewarding and fruitful. Malik says: “At times mere survival was a challenge, but now we are confident and growing.” “We want to become a large global fashion brand, which has its root in India,” said Poddar.

FABALLEY
Category: 3-7 years
Founders: Tanvi Malik & Shivani Poddar
What it does: Selling high street fashion at an affordable price
Year of Founding: 2012
Growth Potential: Eyeing 10-15 per cent market share
Revenue: Rs 14 crore in FY15
No. of employees: 200


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