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Buttercups Aims to Bring New Collections Every 3 Months

This goes to prove the fact that online shopping for intimate wear has created a paradigm shift in the way lingerie as a category is perceived. Customers today value high quality products and expect personalized services. We aim to expand to 10-12 fitting rooms in the next 2 years in major cities like Mumbai, Delhi, and Hyderabad, and do a major overhaul of the online experience. We have a strong grip on the kind of products women like and will start having new collections every three months from October.

The brand Buttercups was born in 2009 when Arpita Ganesh, founded a luxury lingerie brand in Hyderabad that exclusively retailed international brands such as Chantelle, Trinny & Sussanah.

Back in the day owing to lack of knowledge among consumers about ideal lingerie and perfect fit, the business model was difficult to pursue. Despite the unfortunate consequence of shutting down the store after 3 years, Arpita held the thought that women need to be more perceptive about finding a perfect fit, which lead her to setting up ABTF, India's first bra fitting app in 2013. Having received some raving reviews from customers on the app, Arpita was encouraged to draw parallel between a perfect fit and perfect bra which meant reinvention of the brand Buttercups.

Initial Feedback

At a time when a large number of lingerie brands are coming to the forefront in India and offering products with different styles, cuts and sizes, Buttercups is going a step further to make women more perceptive when choosing a bra. This is reflective in both, the fitting room experience and carefully handpicked product line. 

Today, Buttercups stands strong in the online lingerie brand category owing to its highly accurate and detailed online fit quiz supplemented with some exquisite range of lingerie.

Buttercups currently affords its customers with 2 fitting rooms in Bangalore with plans of opening 15 more in the next two years.

Current Investment Details

• The business was crowd-funded - ref weblink which raised close to +4lakh INR before angel investment.

• Buttercups raised about $1 million angel investment which was led by Kanwaljit Singh, Angie Mahtaney, Sridhar Viswanathan and Manoj Varghese; which has gone towards the product range, website, marketing and of course regular office expenses/working capital.

• Started Teen Range

• Currently has 2 fitting rooms and looking to open 30 Fitting rooms across 10-12 cities, 15 fitting rooms in the next two years.

• Provides highly integrated online and offline customer experience with its fitting room and online test.

• Has customer base across markets including tier II cities

• One of the few online brands that houses portfolio from teens to adults

• In talks for Series A funding

BW Disrupt’s Soumya Gupta interacts with Arpita Ganesh (CEO and Founder, Buttercups)      

How has been your entrepreneurial journey till now?

It was in 2008, after a bra fitting in New York, that I discovered I was born for lingerie styling. That one experience changed the way I felt about myself and gave me the self-confidence I had always lacked. I returned from my holiday wanting to make other women feel the same comfort and confidence that I was feeling. That led me to introduce the “Bra Fitting” concept in India. My journey began in 2009, with Buttercup Clothing, a lingerie boutique in Hyderabad, which exclusively retailed international brands such as Chantelle and Trinny & Susannah.

During this time, I was fitting customers with bras from other brands and I could appreciate, even more, of the value of the whole experience. Not one of them left without saying it had been an absolutely wonderful experience, but some were disappointed as many brands had limited sizes and they could not find the right fit. It was then that I decided I had to launch my own brand which would make bras in up to 45 sizes and would be both comfortable and affordable. Thus was born brand Buttercups.

Were there any fitting rooms’ challenges, as part of your service?

A couple of challenges do exist in this context - the cost of real estate, and the unavailability of trained staff. However, our Fitting Rooms have a conversion rate of over 80%, and a large ticket size/customer, both of which make it commercially not just viable, but imperative. More importantly, the concept of a professional fitting is relatively unknown here, and creating awareness about its benefits thus becomes the primary task.

What is USP of your business? What are the factors that pull you back while expanding your business?

The understanding of the lingerie category, and the consumer, picked up from fitting over 3000 women, form the foundation of our business. In the last couple of years, what we have been building is a digitally native product brand, known for the quality of products and the customer experience. The web (increasingly mobile more than desktop) is our primary storytelling platform, potential customers learn more about the brand philosophy on the website, and our 5 minute online quiz is the first step in finding a perfect fitting bra. We lay a lot of importance on the brand’s story - a bra is not a commodity and buying one that fits you is a conscious choice that can change your life. E-commerce is thus an enabler, a channel for transaction, and our fitting rooms, which have ‘fit specialists’ personally trained by me, are a natural extension of this in the offline space.

Thus, a combination of product differentiation, a unique web/mobile experience, and an unwavering focus on the overall customer experience makes up our USP.

Tell us about your primary markets.

The top metro cities remain the bigger contributors, but the interest that we are receiving from non-metro cities cannot be ignored.  What is interesting to note is that we have witnessed a significant rise in demand from these locations in the past 6 months, which was previously restricted to less than 5% of our overall business.

This goes to prove the fact that online shopping for intimate wear has created a paradigm shift in the way lingerie as a category is perceived. Customers today value high quality products and expect personalized services.

What’s next aim for your brand?

We aim to expand to 10-12 fitting rooms in the next 2 years in major cities like Mumbai, Delhi, and Hyderabad, and do a major overhaul of the online experience. We have a strong grip on the kind of products women like and will start having new collections every three months from October.


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