Elanstreet: Ramping Up Offerings In Tier 1& 2 Cities Online & Offline
Elanstreet was conceptualized as a way of bringing together the existing and growing ecosystem of style influencers and consumers on a single personalized advisory and product recommendation platform... 100+ Style consultants On boarded 50+ Fashion Brands on marketing commission higher than peers Content first :150+ Blogs published 3500 hits/day (8000 page views/day) Strong team in place to build the platform further
BWDisrupt interacts with Elanstreet Founders Gargi Banerjee Koul, & Co-founder Rahul Koul.
Incorporating the Firm:
Incorporated in June 2015, elanstreet.com was launched in June 2016 as on demand Styling cum fashion curation portal, aimed at providing style and time challenged individuals with an easy way to engage with experts for inspiration and advice, coupled with the ability to execute the said advice.
Elanstreet.com, is a one stop styling destination aimed at making personalized styling advice accessible for the ever growing base of Indian consumers with high aspirations and disposable income. While style maybe inherent, but a little help to enhance it is always welcome.
The primary focus is on delivering online styling advisory through an in house team of qualified stylists assisted by a tech enabled platform which incorporates tools such as look book creation, chat, online catalogue to provide scale and tangible outcome for the consumer.
The platform also curates a community of free-lance styling professionals available on call for any other value added styling services a consumer might require based on certain specific occasions.
Whether someone is looking for a simple style advice for a special occasion or an entire wardrobe makeover, the company believes that every trend can be curated to enhance one's persona. Elanstreet offers a variety of styling services in an affordable range. Engaging tools such as style quiz, create look is an added attraction which sets Elanstreet apart from its competitors.
In early 2015, while Gargi was on her sabbatical (previously used to be Regional Head Treasury for a large Indian private bank), she started taking an active interest in the growing field of fashion & style influencers (whether professionals or natural). There was an ever growing number of bloggers, style icons on social networks like Instagram, Youtube being followed and wooed by brands and users. This was also the time when there was an explosion of ecommerce sites with a mind boggling number of product listing to shift through for the average customer.
For the discerning customer who placed a premium on time and quality, while they could shift through volumes of inspirations (though most of these where catering to a certain demography – trend conscious, early twenties, social media savvy) there was little in terms of actual executable advice or personalized assistance.
Thus Elanstreet was conceptualized as a way of bringing together the existing and growing ecosystem of style influencers and consumers on a single personalized advisory and product recommendation platform.
What makes us different is that we believe that personal image is important for everyone and it goes beyond shopping to what you wear and how you wear it, to how you carry yourself. Therefore our engagement and monetization with the customer is envisaged as an everyday touch point where they are looking to get dressed to step out as opposed to when they are looking to buy something.
In order to marry personalization with scale we are building tools not only for customer engagement but also for our style influencers so that they can cater to a large volume of customers with the tech providing the science of styling while the art is taken care of by them. Our focus will be to invest on AI and computer image recognition solutions augmented by a human interface.
Presently the platform engages with the customer through a visual style questionnaire, stylist created shoppable lookbooks, customized lookbooks creation tools and a CRM system for its style influencers to discover and manage their customers.
How is it different from existing ones?
The whole retail industry at present whether offline or online very cluttered. There are huge number of websites and brands which are seeking for visibility. Elanstreet helps overcome this as we have someone to assist our customers when they are buying as well as advise them on making the most of their existing wardrobe. We provide a 360-degree styling and assisted sales. Elanstreet is a new concept. It does not belong to any category, rather it is building a new category.
What is your current Funding status?
We are bootstrapped by choice so far. Funding, whether external or own, like any other resource, will be a strategic decision keeping in mind the timing, quantum and the right mix.
What is your Monetization model?
We are value addition on normal fashion marketplace, therefore our monetization occurs on three fronts. On sale of styling services, product sales whether on own platform or as an affiliate and through advertisements.
What are the Traction details?
We have an average of 70k unique monthly visitors on our site largely due to the popularity of our content. Presently we have 800 registered customers and have started monetizing across all verticals.
What are your Future plans?
Being a styling focused website, we want to make sure that the experience that we provide to our customers remains unique. Therefore, we want to make sure that the initial customers that we touch base with are within the chosen target segment. At present, we have been working on collaborations and cross promotions across the lifestyle segment to ensure that we achieve scalability without compromising on quality. The tech enabled tools that our style partners have been provided with also help us personalize with scale.
Our aim would be to ramp up our offerings in the markets such as Mumbai and Delhi as a second phase as we see it as a large market base. For our online services the non-metro cities such as Hyderabad , Chandigarh ,Nagpur ,Trivandrum are the ones where see a lot of potential going forward.
Tell us about your Marketing plans that you have put in?
The marketing plan for Elanstreet are a combination of digital and offline activations. As the market is nascent the approach has been to look at an outside-in positioning where the customer problem defines the solution
What Challenges did you face while launching this startup and how did you overcome them?
As a founder coming from a non-related field , Gargi specially, who came from a pure financial market experience , had to learn every aspect of the business from scratch, be it technology ,the styling ecosystem or merchandising . However, that is also what made the last one year the most exhilarating adventure. While there was no direct functional experience when the business was started off , however they brought in a rich experience of sales, marketing investment , strategy, relationship management which were essential for growing a business.
Needless to say, employee management in an early stage start up in an ever present challenge. An early stage startup by definition is a fluid setup as you are still trying to find a product market fit and therefore it also needs a lot perseverance and patience which becomes quite difficult for some. We have had our fair share of employee related woes but overall the present team we have now has a wonderful mix enthusiasm coupled with commitment for quality.
The other challenge we have is that we are trying to create a new market for paid personalized advisory in the fashion vertical (somewhat like a fiverr of fashion) and while the interest is high, the consumer needs to be handheld in the initial phase till the market finds it feet.
What keeps us going however is the interesting customer stories we come across on a daily basis, some of the ones that caught our attention is given below:
Arvind ( name changed) a tech entrepreneur, felt he had a highly casual dress sense and needed help with identifying the right formal wear for interaction with his international clients.
Nitya ( name changed ) from Coimbatore , a time challenged mom with a new born baby who wanted help to revamp her wardrobe taking into account the changes in her figure after child birth.
Priya ( name changed) a dynamic business women in her thirties ,wanted someone to help her dress according to her bodytype and personality .She felt that her attire tends towards boring rather than classic and wanted to make an impact .
Dr . Ravi ( named changed ) from Delhi who wanted help in showcasing a more professional persona .
Surya from bangalore who took the one time styling service , for identifying the perfect outfit to boost his confidence for his first date with the girl of his dreams.
What are the Market opportunity you are looking at?
Styling and fashion as market is still largely unpenetrated. While being a nascent market there are very few reliable datapoints available for styling, however given that it is derivative of the fashion & retail market, the potential market size is huge. The fashion retail in india is expected to grow to $35 bln by 2020 .We are still at the beginning of a spending boom, the estimate is that there will be 20M households with income over 17 lakh with a growing proportion of them exploring avenues on self-improvement.
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