Sonalika Sahay cant exactly remember when she first thought of setting up an online shopping portal,but the model a popular face on Indias fashion ramps clearly recollects what prompted her to consider the idea. There is a gap between demand for designer wear and market penetration,especially in Tier II cities. An ardent online shopper myself,I realised that people across the country are logging online to look for fashion items,gadgets,travel deals and promotions,and that every brand will eventually focus on online shoppers, she says.
This awareness,combined with her entrepreneurial streak,paved the way for Style Arrest,an online fashion boutique that aims at making designers such as Dev R Nil,Varun Bahl,Namrata Joshipura and Abraham & Thakore more accessible to a wider audience.
Launched recently along with her partner Larisa Dhawan,the portal also has Sahay curating the items. I have been on the runway for close to nine years now. I have worked at close quarters with designers and have seen the fashion trends move along the seasons. This knowledge has helped me bring the choicest products to my customers, says the Delhi-based model,who has already roped in a total of 24 designers on board.
Sahay admits to finding the current designer pool very promising. I handpick each product that is showcased on the site. For instance,Gaurav Jai Guptas creations are textile-oriented whereas Sailex Ngairangbam is known for edgy ensembles. Similarly,no one quite does evening wear like Gauri and Nainika,while new entrant Samant Chauhan has mastered the art of ethnic wear that is Indian and yet minimal. Nida Mahmood and Play Clan,on the other hand,represent all things quirky, she says.
In keeping with her clientele (I am looking at Tier-II cities and NRIs),she has focussed on a wide price range where the average price hovers around Rs 15,000,with the wedding trousseaux crossing Rs 1 lakh. However,we also have a style street segment where we cater to clients who dont want to spend too much and still want quality products. Here,the prices start at Rs 500, says Sahay.
Assistance for customisation of wedding wear is also the portals USP. We work closely with our clients and the designers to ensure that the right ensemble is created well within a certain budget, she says. The ever-increasing competition doesnt deter Sahay. Having many players in the same space is actually a good sign that more people see the future here. The best players will sustain and triumph, she says matter-of-factly.