For an Indo-American fashion portal that has been successfully selling gossamer and zardozi dreams to the non-resident Indian (NRI) buyers since 2010, it has taken nearly four years of learning and hands-on experience for Sunjay Guleria and Mohini Boparai Guleria of Exclusively.in to cast a wider couture net. Having launched their global storefront in February, the entrepreneurs have not only decided to bring their bouquet of designers, curated jewellery and accessories to Indian shores, but are also assisting some of the domestic fashion firmament’s biggest names in setting up their own web stores. Today, Manish Arora, Manish Malhotra and Tarun Tahiliani boast of their own e-retail websites, thanks to this dynamic husband-wife duo. Sunjay, 43, and Mohini, 36, say it’s their way of “empowering them to become more tech-savvy, so that they can grow globally and efficiently”. Excerpts from an interview
Why did you decide to launch a website catering solely to an international clientele?
Sunjay: As an NRI, born and raised in the US, I had seen my friends and family struggling to find apt Indianwear for functions and parties. There were no convenient means to cater to this need, apart from a very expensive and occasional trip back to India. Meanwhile, the Indian designerwear industry was coming of age, but it needed a stable business platform to showcase collections. So, on my yearly visit to India in 2009, with a friend of mine, we laid the foundation for Exclusively.in.
Mohini: Today, we deliver to more than 150 countries. Our biggest market remains the US and we also have a showroom in New York City to help support our designer community 360 degrees. Other diaspora markets include UK, Australia, the Middle East, Malaysia and Singapore.
What kind of challenges did you face initially?
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Sunjay: The biggest challenge was to convince people about the quality of the product, given that they were used to touching and feeling the product before buying. We overcame this by way of convenient shipping and returns policies, ensuring a 100 per cent quality and product check, special packaging and, most importantly, personalised customer service.
Mohini: Initially, it was difficult to convince designers to start selling on e-commerce platforms as they did not see the potential of selling expensive Indian pieces online. But now, the market has grown substantially and, as a market leader, it has become significantly easier to engage designers and grow their businesses globally.
What will be your USP in India?
Mohini: We will continue to focus on servicing the needs of our loyal customers and patrons. And given the unique designer/premium ecosystem we have built, we expect to further strengthen our position in the marketplace globally.
How did the idea of setting up individual mono-brand websites for designers come about?
Sunjay: Designers have enough challenges in building and operating their own businesses and brands, let alone launching, maintaining and growing a website. We handle all aspects of their website and e-commerce storefront for them (from user interface design and the e-commerce platform to customer service, photo shoots, digital marketing and social media). We have launched web-stores for Manish Malhotra, Tarun Tahiliani, Manish Arora and Ankur and Priyanka Modi, with two more set to launch in June and July.
This story appeared in print under the headline Ambassadors of fashion