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Building a fast fashion brand from India | FabAlley
In this episode, we rewind the clock to 2011, a time when it was tough to find stylish office wear. Imagine a young investment banker who decided to shake things up!
From facing the challenges of raising funds to becoming a top-notch fashion brand in India, Shivani Poddar’s story is all about determination and hard work.
Back then, Shivani was a successful professional, in her early twenties, working with an investment bank, helping startups secure funding.
She noticed something missing - a hassle-free way to buy smart office attire, either online or offline.
This realization sparked the birth of FabAlley, which today stands tall as one of India's leading D2C fashion brands.
Immerse yourself in the decade-long journey of building a large D2C fashion business, starting from an era when fundraising was next to impossible, and founders literally had to survive each day with nothing but their grit and hustle.
Shivani talks about the secrets of scaling a D2C fashion business!
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Read the text version of the episode below:-
Shivani: Hi, I'm Shivani Poddar. I'm the co-founder and CEO of fashion house High Street Essentials. We run two brands, FabAlley and Indya and I'm very excited to be here today with Akshay and all of you.
For those few years, all I wanted to do was become an investment banker, which I did. I worked with Avendus and was a very happy banker there.
Akshay: What were you doing exactly?
Shivani: I was in the M&A side and fundraise. At that time in the country, this is 2010, 11, 12, there was something happening in tech, a little bit e-commerce had started coming up, some large deals but there was no ecosystem like it is today. So mostly on the M&A side at that point. While I was a banker and with the super strenuous, crazy lifestyle that investment banking has, I was quite happy and that's who I am. I like working long hours. I like working weekends. It was something that quite energized me and always thought that till I become an entrepreneur, which in my mind was at least 10 years at that point, I would continue to do banking and that's where I was. And then one day me and my co-founder Tanvi, we started talking.
Akshay: You were work friends? Or how did you know?
Shivani: We were friends since we were kids. We grew up together, went to the same school, lived in Delhi. We knew each other. We were friends for a very long time and we were really as young working professionals. I was in Bombay, she was in Bangalore at that time. As young professionals really just started talking like, where is fashion in this country? That was the first line and the first conversation as consumers to say that, where do we shop from?
We want to look good. We have a general kind of sense of what's happening around the world. But in India, nothing is available. And that was the first need that we identified- nothing to do from a business point of view, but I have never ever thought that I'd be a fashion entrepreneur, absolutely no sense of fashion, design and everybody asks me, 'you're a designer' and I'm like, 'no, I have absolutely no sense of design'. That was the first kind of conversation. I started working on e-commerce transactions by then at Avendus and the more I would meet entrepreneurs and these were all young people like me- mid twenties, late twenties.
Akshay: Did you meet Falguni Nayar by any chance?
Shivani: I didn't actually meet her, but these were some of those companies who actually don't exist today. Everybody was starting out 2012, 13 those years, I think a lot of companies were just starting that don't exist and do exist today. Mostly all of them started in that three, four year range.
Akshay: Clovia also started around that time.
Shivani: In fashion there were players like Yepme, Fashion And You. That was crazy, lots of companies. Sugar started then. So lots of companies have started, different sectors, Lenskart, FirstCry. You name it and you'll see that the timing is all in those two, three years. Everybody who wanted to do something realized that probably there is something getting built and there was so much energy in just thinking that it's new and we were also seeing apparels at that time.
For example in fashion in the UK, there were companies like BooHoo, ASOS, those had already seen seven, eight years. So while in India, it was very new, but globally this was where they were at 2003, 4,5. They had reached that point. Even for me, while I was doing a lot of comp work and working on transactions, I could see that globally this is happening and it's a matter of time that India is going to take it on as well. So yeah just those conversations, like I said, never with the intent that now I want to be a fashion entrepreneur because I couldn't even imagine, but just those conversations with Tanvi. I started just drawing up a business plan.
That's all that I knew how to do at Avendus. So I started doing that. Also I started talking to women . I knew so many people in my ecosystem and I was like, where are you guys shopping from? And if it's all abroad, if it's all to say that I either order from ASOS or I shop only when I travel then the thought was to say that why aren't we doing enough in India?
Akshay: What is this ASOS? Sorry, I've not heard of this.
Shivani: It's a UK based fashion marketplace. Today in India there's a lot more fashion available, but when you go back 10 years, there was nothing. You had one or two brands, you had no e-commerce. It was like a pretty terrible market. The thing that I realized was that there were a lot more women who were working. Before Avendus, I was with HUL and there 25-30% or more of our office were women who were in their 20s, 30s, very sharp, working, had disposable income, etc.
When I started realizing that and even at Avendus, usually in financial services you don't see a lot of women, but even there. I was like the more women work- they'll want fashion. That is 100% given and they'll have income to do that. I spent about 4,5 months just thinking because leaving a good career at Avendus was slightly risky and I was like, does it make sense?
The thing that really triggered and pushed me was to say that, If I can't do it now at 25, after 10 years with so much baggage, with the family, with all of that, I'll probably not have the balls to do it then. So I was like, if I have an idea just do it now.
Akshay: You were married at that time?
Shivani: I wasn't married. I didn't have any obligations. I was still dating the guy who's my husband now. We've been together for a long time. I just told him that I need to shift to Delhi and I need to do it. And if it doesn't work, then after two years I'll be back.
Akshay: What was the plan? Did you want to curate clothes from the unorganized market, make them available online? Was that the plan? Or did you actually want to do design, manufacture, sell?
Shivani: I'll have to answer it very differently from what I usually answer when I meet investors. I'm going to tell you what I was actually thinking at that time. So 2012, I decided I want to do something in fashion. That's all that I knew because I could have made a business plan, which I did, but there was no supply at that time.
It was super unorganized, no idea what to do. There was no demand on e-commerce at that time and retail, I couldn't even think about it because we were bootstrapped, didn't have money, 20 lakhs investment. That's all that I genuinely just knew when I shifted to Delhi to start. Basically the easiest thing to start was with accessories, which is jewelry, bags.
And this was all also traded because with clothing, there's a lot of sizing that needs to be figured and done. With accessories it's a no size, single piece kind of a place. So I knew that fundamentally probably easiest to do it till I figure out some of the other things. Also as a person I am very action oriented. I can't sit and be like, wait 2 years, let me think. Then I'll do something. I have 4 months, let's get a website, let's get some products, let's get started and we'll figure it out along the way.
So that was the first business. It was just accessories. Just on our website. It was called faballey.com, which is our parent brand even now. We were just a single website. There were no marketplaces at that time. Myntra had just started with a closed marketplace. Jabong again, very new but that's it. There was no one else.
We just started with the website and a little bit of performance marketing. We started doing Facebook ads, started spreading the word and even things like, I would go to exhibitions because once I take a target for a month, say I have to do 10 lakhs this month, I just have to do it.
We would go to exhibitions, stand all day and do whatever we could. Those were the first maybe year and a half, two years.
Akshay: This was like artificial jewelry and bangles and stuff like that.
Shivani: Jewelry, bags, shoes, all kinds of accessories. Within 7,8 months of launching accessories, I did figure that it's not going to be a large business.
Akshay: Why is that?
Shivani: One, the demand for those categories at that point was not enough. It was more unorganized. There were one or two organized players. And apparel is, of course, 20x the size of accessories in India specially. Very early I was like, if we need to make this big, we need to crack the apparel supply chain which is very complicated. That's when after 7, 8 months I was like we need to get into apparel. It'll take us time. We'll make mistakes, but that is what we need to build if we want to build for the next 30, 40 years and you want to build a large company. That realization happened early and we started pivoting from 2013, 14 and started getting into apparel more and more.
Then from there of course, there was no looking back.
Akshay: By the end of that first year, what kind of top line were you doing with just the accessory business?
Shivani: First year we did about 3 crores and this is in about 6 months that year because we didn't get a full financial year. Of course it was not a big sum but we were okay, I think we were just getting started.
Akshay: No, it's a phenomenal sum for a completely bootstrapped venture.
Shivani: At that time we didn't have money and the next year after that we did 15 crores with again no money. This was just by shifting gears from accessories to apparel. Like I said, no money, just basic investment from Tanvi and me.
That was the first bit. But I think we found the right space early on. That was helpful.
Akshay: Tell me the journey of the apparel launch. Did you want to curate or did you want to design, build, sell?
Shivani: We've never been in the curation model. The thought has been, we want to build something meaningful. If you do what everybody else is doing, which means if I curate, anybody can curate. It's very difficult to build differentiation unless you're building a marketplace. For a brand, it's almost impossible. So never wanted to curate, always wanted to design. Tanvi and me, neither of us were designers because we were both business graduates.
Akshay: What was Tanvi's background?
Shivani: She comes from a marketing background. After doing her MBA from MICA, she was working with Titan as a brand manager. She understood the consumer side and was always better at design than I was. This is what we did- we said we want to launch 50 styles. No idea of how to design of course. We didn't know how to make a pattern or sketch or do all of those things.
So we bought 50 products from exactly the company I told you, ASOS. We bought 50 garments and we copied them and we said that let's make the pattern to the best of our ability. We went to the fabric market in Delhi, picked up fabrics that were available, 100 meters basically and married the two. We would go ourselves, we would work on fabrics. We bought that and we married the two. I would pretty much sit at the factories where the stitching is done. Now you have to manage tailors, this is not like a great job where you're sitting in an office.
Akshay: This was your parents factory? They were running an export house, right?
Shivani: This wasn't my parents factory. These were some local job work units.
Akshay: But your parents would have at least given you that market knowledge of where to get things done, where to source from.
Shivani: They did support us like where to source from, where to go and I think that support in the first few years and even till date continues to be invaluable. So they did support us, but we had to get the job done. I would go and just stand there for days and weeks and just get the production done. We launched exactly 50 styles and those were the first 50 styles, which were designs from ASOS, fabrics from Chandni chowk or Nehru place and we combined the two.
When we launched that which was around April, 2013 and while for accessories if we were getting maybe 20 orders a day or 30 orders a day, the minute we shifted to apparel it became say 70 or 80 or 100 which is how we saw the growth within that one year.
Akshay: What kind of clothes were you selling?
Shivani: Western wear, tops, dresses, more casual from a women's wear perspective- smart casuals. So we did that and that was the first lot. Then from there we just knew this is it and we have to do more of this.
Akshay: I'm guessing the key thing here is scaling up supply because you also realize that India doesn't have that supply in place. The demand is there, more women are working. So how did you scale up supply? Am I right in my understanding that supply was the key challenge to solve?
Shivani: It was both ways because while retail was about 99. 9% of the channel at that time of the overall segment, online was very small. So even from a demand point of view, you had to tell women to come online and shop because, you weren't sure of your sizes, returns were not half as smooth as they are today. You had to really educate them as to why they should go online and buy at all and not to the closest store. It took us a lot of marketing push, branding in a certain way, talking to the consumer to be able to tell them that you don't like the product we'll take it back but at least go and try it. That is something that I think even on the demand side and there was a lot that had to be done. But supply again, ecosystem was poor. There was nothing called a large domestic market.
Everybody in Noida were exporters. I probably met 100s and they wouldn't even entertain us. They would be like if you want to make 50 pieces per garment, we can't do it.
Akshay: It's too small. They have a minimum order quantity required.
Shivani: Minimum 1000 of pieces per style. And when they're looking at 50 there's no way they would agree. We were also young. They would look at Tanvi and me and be like, you young girls, why are you wasting our time?
That's something that I've heard for so many years, they'd look at me and they would be like, we don't sell here, this is not a retail shop. I would go to say Surat or these kinds of places and they would actually tell me and my team who were all kind of young girls- we don't retail here, this is not a wholesale shop so please ma'am, leave. Then I would explain the business to them that we're not here to shop.
Akshay: I'm guessing it is a very male dominated industry of these people who make the garments.
Shivani: You will very rarely see a woman running a factory. It's just not that business or even on the fabric side all the large people or everybody who supplies fabric- 100% male.
Akshay: Even the tailors would all be males.
Shivani: Yeah, everybody, the whole ecosystem. There is such a funny incident that, once about five, six years back, I went to Surat which is basically the hub for fabrics in India. There are these buildings which have lots of wholesale garment shops. Me and another two colleagues, the three of us, we were walking through and we would have entered 50 stores and from every store we heard, this is not a retail store.
Akshay: The moment they saw women walking, they thought you're shopping.
Shivani: They're like, they are here for shopping and in those buildings where they were maybe 5, 000 men in each building, I didn't see a single woman except the three of us and we were from Delhi, just the way we are, the way we dress and they were amazed and then one of our vendors told us, let me send two bodyguards with you guys because you can't enter these places without men. And I was amazed. From then till now, it's just been five, six years, I do see a difference still in terms of how they treat and respect women. But for so many years, I was amazed that this can happen.
Akshay: That one order of 50, which you bootstrapped and did it very manually, how did that become into a well oiled machinery? Did you set up your own manufacturing or did you set up a reliable chain of suppliers and vendors and third party manufacturers? Or how did that become a well oiled machine?
Shivani: In fashion, how it works is that we have to churn out new designs every month. It's not that you make 10 styles or make 10 products from a lifestyle perspective or 10 face creams and then you can sell it for 2 years. Once we identified the styles that were working, we said that every month we'll make 30,40,50,80 depending on the season. We'll keep making those styles. Initially for a long time, those styles were made based on the same model, which means we were ordering clothes as references because we couldn't afford to get our own tailors and our own pattern masters, etc.
So we would be like, let's order those clothes. We continued to focus on this machinery, which we could see was getting a little bit better and better. Also, since our own volumes were increasing, for example, earlier I could only make 20 pieces per style. I could now make 50 and 80. Just by virtue of that, suddenly people started becoming maybe a little bit more interested than they were. Plus, my parents, since they were in the garment business, I really requested them if they could support us for the first three, four years and get 20, 30 machines just for us, that would be helpful.
As a combination of these two, three things, I think was how we set things up, but we never really ever setup our own manufacturing because something that I understood was that, if I'm in the retail business, I don't want to be in the manufacturing business because they're two different businesses the way they are.
So at the backend, if we have to manage 3000, 4000 tailors then we cannot be selling at the front-end of the business that we're in. So I think we never fully set up the backend, except we found enough people who wanted to work with us over time. And every year we were doubling. Also for a lot of vendors, I would just sit with them and tell them that this is our journey we are starting and support us. Today they are giving us 500 meters, tomorrow it's going to become a few thousand. There's some vendors who've been with us for years now, just because at that point they supported us and now there's such high loyalty that they've been with us in this entire journey of us growing. I've been fortunate to find those people, fortunate that my parents were there to support and like I said, as a combination, we were able to scale up.
Akshay: What are the machines that you're talking about? Where do machines come in? I thought it was tailors making clothes.
Shivani: Tailors have a stitching machine so those machines, and then there are a bunch of other tools that you need for garmenting. It's a combination of all of that.
Akshay: So you basically work with a lot of small shops which have 20, 30, 50 tailors.
Shivani: Yes, it's like whoever wants to work with us. They could even have five machines, I would be like, you want to work with us, please do. Our demand was probably like 3 or 4x of our supply for a very long time in 2014-15 because we were making small lots, it was very difficult to find people to work with us. Quality, sizing, apparel is very complicated.
Once Myntra opened up, market places opened up in 2014, 15, then e-commerce really started booming and there was a lot more acceptance. At that time probably, we were largest brand on Myntra because it was a new ecosystem, so much demand and we really couldn't keep up.
I always look back and tell myself- it's always a better place to be in where your demand is a lot more than the supply than the other way. We were, like I said, working with anybody who wanted to work with us. Anybody would come to our office and be like, I have five machines, I want to work, I would be like, let's do it. So that's how we were expanding at that time.
Akshay: How do you maintain consistency in quality? Because if you have so many different vendors doing it, that risk of inconsistent product is there.
Shivani: That was there. There were a lot of cases when we would make the wrong product, somebody would cut the wrong fabric, we had to reject the entire style, very complicated. It was very challenging because there were times when we would give say 100 pieces, 200 pieces, and the vendors cut the wrong fabric for the wrong style. And I can't do anything. These are manual human mistakes. And also because we hadn't raised too much capital, by then we had done one angel round from Indian Angel network, it was about 1 and a half crores. It wasn't like any kind of big amount. So we had to be very capital conscious in terms of how we were scaling up. These small hits were also huge, but quality was a concern and ensuring consistency was a concern. We would do manual checks. Once you would get pieces in house, I was happy to do 50% checks myself. I take out the garment, see if it looks okay.
Again, not a technical person. I couldn't check like a hundred things but I could see and say, this garment is going to look okay and fit okay. If it could pass my eye, we were broadly okay that this is going to be okay. This is a time when we couldn't afford quality checkers. This was all really done based on common sense. I'm like, I'm a consumer., If I think it's looking okay, I would assume most women would think it's looking okay.
Akshay: 2016, you raised your first big round $2 million series A. By that time, what kind of numbers were you doing?
Shivani: We were by then almost at about 2 crores a month. The year that we raised capital, we closed at about 25 crores net sales, broadly about 35 on GMV. Because I've been a banker, my thought was also to say that, we don't want to get large funds early on, which is the exact reason why we didn't get anybody sooner than that.
Get to a minimum level of traction, ensure that product market fit is broadly proven and then look at raising money. So that's exactly what we did. By then we'd reached a good scale and six years back at that point was probably amongst the largest online first women's wear companies and we were like, things are looking good, it's time to get a good fund and found amazing partners in Anand and India Quotient. That was the first capital raise that we did.
Akshay: What was your pitch to them- that the total addressable market is massive here, more people will move online.
Shivani: Someone reminds me of my plan that I presented. In fact, one of the investors reminded me a few weeks back was, to say that this is of course a 5 billion plus opportunity, it's a massive market and we can reach a billion dollars in four years from now. That's essentially what my pitch was. Which also said we're going to go from zero to 500 stores in three or four years. It was so funny because it was so naive. It was early, we had not raised any capital. My thought was that if without any money, we can get here then of course, if we have a couple of million in the bank there's absolutely no reason for us to quickly scale. That was the pitch. It was to say that we are going to build the largest brand and there's nothing here and it looks super attractive.
That was a pitch and I did pitch to, if I remember correctly, in a parallel way but maybe at least 30, 40 investors. This is women's fashion, so we would pitch and they would be like, okay, how do you differentiate? I would be like, how do I explain to you that why is my dress different than the dress that your wife wears or your girlfriend wears or your secretary is wearing right now. Super challenging and at the end of one hour, they would say, I will talk to one of these secretary/ girlfriend/ wife, I will ask them to order, I will take their feedback and if they like it, we will get back. Exactly in this order. Every time I would be like, I sat here for the last 60 minutes, told you everything we're doing about supply chain, fast fashion, but you're telling me I'm going to ask my secretary to order and I'll come back to you then.
That's what happens when there are no women in the VC industry. Everybody who's building a business that's super women oriented, if you're not in the TG, you don't understand the product. So lots of pitches at that time, every single pitch to men and in India Quotient we found a partner who was a woman- Prerna. That's what changed things for us.
Akshay: How did you solve the logistics and returns issue? That ecosystem was not there. Like today there are a lot of third party services and you can just plug them in. But at that time, how did you solve that?
Shivani: Even then there were basic things like picking up the product from the customer's house. Those kinds of facilities had started. The other thing that we did is we wanted to ensure that if people are returning products, why are they returning it, how can we improve the fits for future. From a process orientation perspective, we were able to pick up products from people's house using a third party logistics guy.
Akshay: You're working with courier companies to deliver, pick up all of that.
Shivani: Absolutely and we started an in-house return center very early on in our journey, where in anything that was coming in, we were really looking at it, doing a 100% check to say that why is this returned and taking that data from consumers. Is there a size, is there a pattern? Then we would use that data to ensure that in future- one; that product is fixed and from a sizing perspective we keep correcting that. So that data we started collecting, which we continue to do till date and act on it essentially.
That was something that we were collecting. But returns in this industry is huge, for example, on Myntra for women's wear, it had about 35% return. Now, if one third of your products are coming back then of course, your logistics costs, all your costs, your P& L goes for a toss.
That is a challenge that everyone is facing in the women's wear space. But again, lots of things happening from our end, at least around how can we improve design, how can we improve size charts, how can we tell people what size they should wear et cetera, to improve this experience.
Akshay: You told investors that this is a fast fashion opportunity. What does it mean to be fast fashion?
Shivani: What fast fashion means is- there are two metrics for fast fashion.
One is that your turnaround is super quick, which is to say that I'm launching 100s of styles every month. This number could be 100s for somebody, it could be as much as 5,000 for somebody like Shein, for example. So I'm launching 100s of styles on a monthly basis and I'm launching it based on small quantities: 100 styles, 550 pieces, 10,000 styles, 100 pieces, depending on your scale. Fundamentally from a consumer sentiment perspective, it is to say, I either buy it now otherwise I'm not going to get it. That's the first metric of fast fashion. The second is on saying that, how can I be so quick to the market that if a trend is spotted, I can put that trend on the shelf or on my website in say two weeks. There is Paris Fashion Week happening. You see what the designers are doing and you're able to translate that in two weeks and put it on the shelf. When we started talking about that- in India that did not exist. You couldn't talk to vendors. They would be like, I will give this to you in 120 days and I would be like, what do I do in 120 days because it's going to be everywhere by then. And we would tell them, no, we want it in 2 weeks or 3 weeks. That thought itself was so bizarre to most people in India and especially Noida where we worked.
They would be like, this is impossible and these girls are crazy. So that is basically what we would hear all the time. Which is when we started saying that, can we do some part of it ourself? If vendors can't turn it around, what do I need, to do it? So some part of the ecosystem over time, which is buying fabrics, making quick designs, all of that we started moving in house. So over time while we were buying outright or end to end from outside, we started in-housing techniques so that we could move to this fast fashion model because nobody in India could do it.
Akshay: This 2 million fundraisers would have helped you bring more things in-house once you did that.
Shivani: 100%. Till then we'd hardly raised half a million. We were 25, 30 of us doing a 15, 20, 25 crore turnover. I was probably working 7 days and 14 hours a day and also loving it. When I was a banker, I thought if I could work like this as a banker there is nothing that could be more difficult or challenging. Then I became an entrepreneur and I was like, when you're in a job or you're a banker, you can still sleep for five or six hours peacefully and as an entrepreneur especially in the first few years till you are set, it's life and it continues to be till date, but especially for the first 5-6 years, I think that's all that I could think of.
For me, because I didn't have anything else, I was not married, I didn't have kids, I didn't have anything else- it was just so natural. I could do it all day all night. I'm sure it's super challenging for people who do have other responsibilities to be an entrepreneur in the early years. I was lucky that I did it when I was super young and I didn't have to think of anything else except work. That kind of kept me going. Otherwise, I don't know how many times I would have thought of going back to a vendor and being like should I get my job back?
Akshay: Tell me how did you utilize that $2 million. Did you start hiring designers and did you start keeping an inventory of fabric and all of that in-house?
Shivani: We did two large things, which we had not done until then. One was: till then we only had one brand which was called FabAlley, which was our western wear brand- the brand that we started with. We had also started identifying spaces in the ethnic wear market again as consumers, to say that where is the brand which is say, today's modern ethnic wear brand. Every brand that existed has been there for decades. It was a brand that I could go to, my mom could go to, my grandmom could go to and that does not happen in western wear.
So we said that, where are the new age ethnic wear brands? Those don't exist. Can we build something there? We couldn't have moved till we had capital, because of course, when you're on half a million, you can't do everything. After we did this round, we started our second brand which is called Indya, which is our ethnic wear brand. And Indya today is actually the larger part of our business, grown extremely well over the last 5 years. And that is something that we identified. That was the first thing that we used the capital for, to say that let's do what we've been wanting to do which is start Indya and branched off FabAlley and Indya separate western and ethnic wear brands.
That was the first big use of capital and that also helped us then scale from just 25 to next year 50 to 90. The journey post 2016-17 has been till Covid happened but till then those three, four years we were just doubling revenues every year by adding this. So one was Indya.
The other thing which we changed was we started offline. For the first five years of our journey, we were only online, only selling through our website and marketplaces. Now we had capital, to be able to say that can we try 3-4 stores, can we go to some large format stores? Say a shopper central, some of these and start that and by then we'd also reach about 45, 50 crores in revenue. I knew that continuing this journey only online was going to restrict scale at some point.
It was new for us, offline is a completely different business. It's a completely different way of thinking but we said, we've got to learn it and we've got to start that journey. So 2017, after our fundraise, we started offline as well. Now we had FabAlley, we had Indya, we had online and we had offline. And that's how the business started growing from there on.
Akshay: Indya was also fast fashion but your products would have been say salwar kameez, casual Indian wear, not like marriage stuff and all.
Shivani: Not the marriage stuff, it was the festive stuff and why we did that was because we said that, while in the day-wear segment, which is kurta as what you wear to work, there were players. There were players like W, Biba et cetera, who were scaled up, who were doing okay. But in the festive space, not marriage, there is nobody in the country.
It's only unorganized. So if you want to buy something, you'll go to your neighborhood boutique, Chandni chowk, Karol bagh those kinds of places. Then we said, "Where are high street brands for festive day and that's where the market really existed”. What we actually did was we said, what designers are giving to you at 50,000+ we'll make it at 2000, 3000. Not copies, it's of course, 100% designed by us but create that whole ecosystem, which is to say that, let's build a really new age, very modern festive wear which you can wear to festivals, kitty parties, pre wedding functions, any of those and let it be modern and new age. That's what Indya's philosophy is.
Akshay: Between these two, what is the average order value? One purchase from a customer, which one gives you a higher average order value?
Shivani: Indya is higher because it's a festive wear product while FabAlley is more casual wear product. Indya's average order value in our stores is at about 5,000. Typically people buy two products at a time. So that's where Indya is. FabAlley's average order value would be at about 2200-2300. The FabAlley is a much more affordable brand while Indya is more occasion centric and hence people are okay to pay a little bit more because it's more occasion.
Akshay: How did you build the design muscle? Because initially you told me that both of you used to do the pattern making and the designing yourself. You must have evolved because that's your core. If you're releasing 50 styles a month, then you really need a strong design muscle in the organization.
Shivani: We hired our first designer in 2015. We then over time, started building. From one designer, today we have got 20 designers, but we started building out that muscle from then because we had no idea, we were not designers we realized that. As soon as we could afford to start hiring designers, we did that. They were all NIFT graduates, very smart, talented designers. So that's been the journey. 2015-16 is when we started and from one designer for FabAlley, one for Indya- that was the beginning. Actually a lot of those designers that we hired then are still with us. They've really built both the brands pretty hands on from nothing to where we're at now. Not just design, there was a lot of muscle to be built around merchandising, sampling, converting the first product to good quality, tailoring, garmenting.
A lot of the supply chain, which is essentially the backbone for fashion, had to be built and that we really started building up somewhere around 2015-16 and kept strengthening that every year.
Akshay: Just help me understand what does merchandising involve? Or like you said, converting a design to a product, what does that involve? How do you do it? What is your way of doing it at scale?
Shivani: It's a monthly process. It starts with the mood boards and references of what's happening globally, which is to say that what are the designers doing? What are people wearing on the runway? What are people wearing from a street style perspective? So there are a lot of references that come in from a mood boarding perspective. We start with mood boards, we convert them into styles, which is to say that these are my themes for this month and I'm going to make say about 200 to 300 styles based on these themes.
We buy the fabrics for those. We do our own textile design. We even make the prints ourselves, the textiles ourselves and then we combine these two techniques, the silhouettes along with these to make the first garment which is all made in house. I have my own team who makes the first garment.
Now this would be 100s of garments every month. We make that on a monthly basis and then we have a poll. It's not what I decide sell. It's about what people are liking. We have about 50 girls who are our target audience in our office itself. We call them, we do a poll. We call our sales teams, we call a bunch of people and they poll on every style. Once we've done the poll, we know what style is good, what's bad, what's selling, what's going to sell, not sell. We do bias based on that- will I buy 50 pieces of a shirt or 500 or 5,000, it depends on how people have liked the style.
That's in a nutshell the process and this process has to be repeated every month and every month you have to churn out 500 styles and then show that at least 250, 300 are a success from that.
Akshay: Does data play a role in design here? You would be seeing what people are browsing, what they are buying and so on and so forth.
Does that data give you insights, which then determines what is getting designed?
Shivani: 100% actually. There are two forms of data that we use. One is that we as a company, we're super data led because we started online only. When you're online first, all your thoughts are around, how can I collect maximum data and improve that?
Initially the first point of data that we get is- we have our own sales data for years. I know exactly that, say for a shirt, which is black, the length is X, the collar looks is Y, the sleeve length is Z, there's this technique on that. For every product, I have 10 attributes. For every attribute, we have historical data to, say, black shirt in X sleeve at this price has went at a sell-through of say 60%. So there is so much data available that our team on a monthly basis put together the historical sales data and these could run into 100s of data points and slides to say that this is what is moving, this is what is not moving.
These are the reasons based on mathematical data orientation alone that is passed on to the design team. When they're designing, they consume a lot of that data and that is the only way to improve your design efficiency over time. So that is the first kind of data point.
The second is essentially that you can't just sell what is sold. In fashion, you can't just make what is sold in the past. You have to make for the future as well. So the second data point that we get is- we're able to use third party tools, able to say that for most people in the world, say on an ASOS, what are the top 10 trending dresses in terms of views. We're able to say that based on new launches, what is doing well for brands across the world and is that something that will work for India, is that something that we should also bring in.
So both of them on the fashion side and on our own data like the backend analysis- we're able to combine the two and that's how the collections get made every month.
Akshay: Do you double down on a design that does well or is it fresh designs every month?
Shivani: No, we double down a lot on designs that do well, that's the bread and butter of the business. Things that do well, we do a lot of colorways. We do a lot of designs that look a little bit like that, but a little different. Data is everything and we use that to really make more and more of what's selling while of course, always maintaining a percentage of products which are completely new and never seen before.
Akshay: You said you have a sales team. What is the sales team for? Because you're selling online, right?
Shivani: We're a combination of online and offline. We have about 500, 550 points of sale across the country. These are our own stores and these are within other department stores like Lifestyle, Shoppers Stop, Central etc.
Which is where the sales teams come in and even for online, say marketplaces like Myntra, Flipkart, Amazon, we do have people who are part of the sales team, they talk to them regularly, et cetera. So almost 6-700 people who are on the sales side.
Akshay: So your retail staff is on your payroll.
Tell me about getting through Covid journey 2020, what was it like? What was your scale? What kind of monthly revenue were you doing? And then what happened in the next two years?
Shivani: Just before, we've done a series B round from Elevation in 2018. The round was almost a little less than 10 million, was a combination of primary and secondary. So as a company, we'd never needed a lot of capital. We were capital efficient. We'd raised by then maybe about 3-4 million that's it. That year when we raised capital from Elevation, we did about 120, 130 crores in GMV. So we have already fairly scaled up and by the time Elevation came in, it was a more steady state business.
It wasn't an early stage business. And we'd almost again got to this by raising a few million dollars. We were very efficient on the capital side and by now we were used to growing 80, 90%. Had never seen any other thing, any other kind of growth journey and things were actually going quite well.
Indya was growing very well as a brand. Our offline journey had just started two years back. It was new, it was doing well. So things were looking very good. I was also expecting my son at that time. Things were quite aligned. Like I planned the kid between fundraisers. Now, after that, this is the perfect time. So basically that and it's the easiest because like meeting a bunch of investors when you were six months pregnant, it's harder. I was like, let's just time it perfectly. So did that.
Things were actually going quite well just before Covid and we were all set to double as we've done. Now again, we had a lot more money than we'd ever had in the history of the company. We also had a tier one investor. Things were looking quite positive. When Covid happened, this is from early mid March when we started discussing that there is a possibility of things shutting down, all of that.
Personally I would say that I don't think I thought in my wildest imagination that in this country, anything will even close. Even if it was happening in China and Europe, it started shutting down. We were like in this kind of population, this is not going to happen.
I remember sitting with a senior management team around 10th March and we were like, India mai toh this will not happen. This is okay. Of course we were not prepared at all because like I said, never imagined this was going to happen. And then when things actually did start closing, which is from late March, we thought two weeks, four weeks, six weeks, but I think the first realization that hit me and this is when my son was less than three months old. I had an infant kid at home and when this started sinking in which was early April, we had more than 1000 employees and I was like, our stores are shut, while we had some capital, we definitely don't have enough money to be sitting at zero revenue.
The losses that are going to build in the next three months are going to probably take the company down. We don't have enough capital for that and of course really young kid at home. So personally I was very taken aback. It was probably the most challenging time that I have seen in my entire life. Not just with the company, but even personally. I think those two, three months, a lot of people were like, it's great to be at home. It's great to take this break.
I was like, this is going to take our company down and if we don't raise more capital quickly, because started realizing that you don't quite know till when this will last and when that realization came in from April that this could take longer than we'd expected and the revenue that month was zero, like actually zero. Online was shut too.
Akshay: Because it was not essential.
Shivani: It was not essential and we couldn't do masks immediately because the units were all shut. So I couldn't start producing that. So 60 days, a lot of mentally challenging time. The only thing that I was able to get myself to do was talk to my investors very candidly and tell them that- of course we have some capital, it's not going to be enough. You have no idea what's happening.
Can't even tell you, they put in money at that time in April and May in this company, which nobody knew what's going to happen to. They did that. They were like, okay, let's do a convertible note. Let's put some money in and we'll see how things go.
Akshay: What's a convertible note?
Shivani: Basically to say that put in money today, we won't decide the valuation and whenever we do the next funding round, we'll decide the valuation at that point. That's the only way to do a round really quickly and you can close thing. So we were able to raise some money then and that was like a huge relief because at least from a capital perspective, I knew that we'd be able to pass this time and then May and June happened. The revenue was still zero. Then we started doing two, three things. One is that we got the license to open for masks. We started making masks legally and illegally. We were like, things are shut, we'll find a way to do it. You know what, our company is called High Street Essentials.
Which means anything that had the word essentials was allowed to operate at that time. We got people to use that Id cards and it said essentials and you were allowed to work. So that's basically how we got started. We made about 50 masks quickly using the fabrics that we had and that's what we started selling. Even if the revenue was 10, 15, 20 lakhs, it was still better than zero.
Akshay: You had to lay off?
Shivani: For three months we actually didn't, I didn't have it in me as a founder to do it. We had limited money I knew that, but I also knew that if I do it at this point, I can't look at myself. Those three months at least I was like people won't find jobs and a lot of our people, about 700 people that we employ, their salaries are less than 25, 000 a month. These are people who are not going to get jobs at this point, in the midst of Covid they'll have nowhere to go and like I said I couldn't justify it to myself. So we didn't at that time. When things got better from July, which is when at least online had started opening up, offline was still closed. Then I knew we had to do something as BigBasket had done.
All of these people had started hiring by then. Then we said that for people who we absolutely have to let go, which was less than 5% of our overall workforce, we will ensure that we get them placed. But I also told them that in six months, we're going to get the business back and we'll offer everybody a job back in this company, and it's up to you to take it or not but we're going to do it.
And we had to lay off people in July, but by December we had given every person an offer to come back. So that is something that I just couldn't do at that point. That was probably one of the hardest things that I have done and addressing the whole team in that town hall, I still have memories of that. That was probably one of the most challenging things of Covid.
Akshay: That must have been a pretty tough town hall.
Shivani: It was. I still remember what I even said, it was challenging. But like I said, I just knew that it's a matter of time and we'll find a way. So once things get better, we'll be able to get these people back.
Akshay: So what did the revenues bounce back to by December, January when you offered everyone a job?
Shivani: We were at about 70% pre-Covid and as a company also in FY 20 to 21 we did almost 65% of our revenue, even though the first six months were almost zero. So we did bounce back. We did a few things. One is that while we were already online first, that really helped us. Because even with the stores closed, we could push the pedal on online very quickly. While if we were an offline first company, it would have taken me one, two years just to mentally align to the online model.
So we were able to do that. We started building online very aggressively and not just in India, internationally. We went live on Amazon, cross marketplace in the entire world. And we were like, if enough is not selling in India, let's ensure that selling across the world at least. And that's something that really helped us take back the revenue.
Second thing, we also started pivoting the products. We were making loungewear now, like pajamas, night suits.
Akshay: More work from home products basically.
Shivani: Yeah, you could wear it at home and these were things that we had again not done before. We're a fashion company, we didn't know how to, we hadn't made pajamas before. But then we said that's what's selling and that's what we'll make. So we started making loungewear, masks, everything that was relevant at that point for that audience we essentially started making that. That's what helped us get the revenue back quickly.
Akshay: Today, what are you at? This year, what do you think what will be your ARR?
Shivani: We'll actually close the year at about 300 crores plus from a gross sales perspective. We're also moving a lot towards profitability ensuring that- as we build in the next three, four years, we're also super profitable, cash flow positive, all the right metrics on the balance sheet. We're being very conscious of that. While growth is still happening at 40-50% plus level, now as a founder and given what we've seen in Covid, we really want to build a company which is super cash flow, sustainable and a company that can make an impact.
It doesn't need to be a company that's continuously raising funding, raising capital. We've just done a small round right now. We've raised about 5, 6 million and with that, the idea is to say that even if we don't raise any money after this, we should be in a good place.
Akshay: What are the economics of a fashion business? There would be a certain revenue, there would be some amount of returns which cut down that revenue, then there would be some cost of production. Just help me understand that.
Shivani: So fashion essentially starts with overall gross sales then there are returns, which are typically for us about early twenties at a business level.
Akshay: What's the norm like in the market?
Offline business- there are no returns because people try and buy. Online we are about 30, 35% net at business level, because we were almost half online and offline.
Shivani: So net, it would come to say about 20% or so. That's where we would be at company level. Then there's about a 5-6% tax. So about 70-75% of your sales are your net sales. Then there is a cost of goods sold, which is your gross margin. Cost of goods sold is essentially the product that you make and the cost of that. The fabric cost, the tailoring cost, et cetera. So that for us remains about 30% or maybe about 25, 26% of the overall price of the product. So we put that in, which is called the first gross margin, net if it is a gross margin. And then you have all the expenses, which would be our salaries, which would be our rent, cost facility, marketing, all of those things which are items before this and then you get to EBITDA and profit.
Akshay: What is your EBITDA going to be this year?
Shivani: We're targeting to break even this year. So hopefully on track for that. That's the first step and then ideally, start getting to at least a 5, 6% profit from next year.
Akshay: What are you doing to become profitable? Are you focusing on costs, are you focusing on growing revenue, reducing returns? What are those levers that you can play with?
Shivani: There are two, three things that we're doing. One is that for Indya we've also launched our wedding wear business which is a high ASP high price product at about 10-15,000. This is a business that inherently has higher margins. It's a business where people are okay to pay slightly more if the product quality is top class. So this is something that we're building out and this is a piece that's going to become almost 30% of Indya's business by next year, this time.
This should help us take up the margin profile overall. The other thing that we are doing is, we're focusing on international sales a lot. U.S, for example, is 40% of my online business and the more we're able to sell to NRIs again, they're not price conscious. It is much lower than what it is in this country.
So essentially that and even the product, the quality, we're able to sell higher price products to them. We work with a lot of designers on collaboration which do very well for the NRI market. That is something that we're building on and not just on D2C, even like we've become large brands for Zalora, Namshi, global marketplaces. We're essentially building that piece out. So as international becomes like a larger part of our business, maybe gets to about 25, 30% of the online business, the margin profile there becomes much better. So these are the two key things from a top distribution perspective. Third, of course, is that post Covid, offline is getting back on track and offline is a super profitable channel.
Because there are no returns and discounting is low because of these two things. As offline gets back on track now post Covid life is settling in. Recession is playing a bit of a role, but hoping over time, this is going to get okay. So from that perspective offline becomes a larger part of our business again.
That also starts building out. Again, the overall margin should go up. There are multiple things across the board to start moving up the needle on the profitability.
Akshay: What is your split now offline versus online?
Shivani: Half and half. Online would be about early fifties, 52-53% and offline is 47, 48%.
Akshay: And in online, how much is through your websites? How much through marketplaces?
Shivani: Almost 60, 65% is through our website. We are very high D2C focused.
Akshay: Which should give you much richer data insights. You'd be able to retarget those customers, do upselling.
Shivani: 100%. We're able to also understand what people are buying, why are they buying it. We're able to talk to our customers and those are calls that across the company, everybody makes in terms of just talking to the customers, understanding why are they returning things, why do they like the brand, et cetera. Because otherwise in online, you have no customer interface. If I'm only selling for Myntra, Flipkart, I have no idea who I'm selling to, where I'm selling to. It's a huge black box but on D2C, you have so many data points. So definitely building that piece out is very helpful from getting the right data for us.
Akshay: How do you keep track of this customer listening as the CEO? Is there a particular report that you look at, some sort of dashboard or what is your way of understanding customer insights and keeping your ears to the ground?
Shivani: There are two, three things. One is that we measure NPS very closely. Our NPS is not like a monthly exercise. Every time an order is delivered post five days, the customer gets that email and we have a lot of response on that. That is the first metric to save. There is any change on that, how people are perceiving the brand, the service, the quality, all of those things. Below that email, we have a bunch of parameters to say that, what is it that you like or dislike about us? So this is from a pure data perspective, I'm able to get data on a weekly basis to say that is there any change, are they liking it, not liking it with the reasons. This is from a data perspective, then teams across the board for our company talk to customers, everybody's allocated some customers who they need to speak to. These are customers who triggered a return or just like randomly selected return or these are randomly selected customers.
Some could be repeat customers, some could be first time customers to understand what do they like about the brand, what do they not like, the service, the product, the fit, all of that. This is the senior management team as well, then we get together and we're able to say that, what are people saying about us, how do we change that, improve that, all of that.
Also once in a while commissioned reports from people like Redseer, all of that to speak to the customers and come back to us with detailed findings on what they think about the brand and improvement area. So across the board, bunch of things are done but this is something that I feel we need to do a lot more of because the more we know the customer, the better we'll be. Very conscious effort now to do more of this.
Akshay: What are the things you're doing on social media because social media is also a powerful way for both marketing and listening to customers?
Shivani: We were actually amongst the early ones to work with the influencers in the country. We started doing this about five years back when it was a very new culture in India. For fashion, influencer marketing is huge.
Akshay: Who are the influencers in the fashion space?
Shivani: I don't know if you would've heard of them, but say somebody like Masoom Minawala, Komal Panday, Kritika Khurana. Some of these people, they have followers in millions and these are like Instagramers mostly. Then they also have a YouTube presence. So essentially Instagram and YouTube. We typically work with 200 to 300 influencers in a month. So we used to work with a lot of them, they make content for us and that is a huge part of our social media strategy where through their own Facebook, Instagram, et cetera, we're pushing out that content.
Akshay: That also must be the reason why you have such a high direct sales on your own website.
Shivani: Traffic is getting diverted to the website. Absolutely. So that's one. The second thing that we do is- we have amazing women in our office, in our sales teams, et cetera. So we do a lot of real women series where people in our office talk about a product, they wear the product, when they're going out, they talk about it. One is you work with celebrities or influencers and the second is work with people who are wearing your product, whether they're employees or customers and we essentially work with a lot of them. A lot of the content on our social media will be, you'll see there'll be women from our office, which is amazing. They're people who love the brand and there's nobody who can better advocate than them.
So that is the other thing that we do. These two, three things besides the regular social media, we do a lot of giveaways, that's something that does well for us. So besides the regular things, with just working with this bunch, people who are our users, that really helps. We also get a lot of content because Indya especially because of the festival brand, people love sharing pictures.
So if I'm wearing something at a wedding or for Diwali, I would love to share that picture in terms of how it's because Indya is about celebrations and joy and about bringing people together. I think so from that perspective, a lot of our customers share their pictures when they have worn Indya, this could be for something as beautiful as a baby shower and this is across the world now because we have such a large NRI base. I get pictures from Washington, Boston and the UK so we do put out a lot of customer pictures as well, saying that this is what it looks like in real life. And I think more than the product, it's also the sentiment. Because Indya is worn at times when it's always an emotion. You're wearing it for a festivity and you're emotional about it. So it's a beautiful way of putting that together.
Akshay: You get customers to tag you or use a particular hashtag?
Shivani: Tag us, send us pictures. We are all forms of communication.
Akshay: What are some of those metrics which only an insider would know that you track? For example, one metric in a lot of startups is that CAC to LTV- customer acquisition costs versus the long term value. What are some of those metrics for your business?
Shivani: LTV, CAC all of these things, all startups would be measuring and they are typical marketing metrics. Personally, I think these are the two, three things that are important for me for this business.
One is- what is the repeat rate looking, are my consumers coming back because typically from a life cycle perspective for both FabAlley and Indya, you can wear those products for at least 10 years of your life. So if they're not coming back within a year, at least three times, we're losing them out somewhere in the journey, which means they don't like the product.
That for us as a business, for me as a founder is a metric that really needs to be tracked and only challenge in that is- because we are also available to third party marketplaces, we don't always have the data to map it across the consumer, across the board, but for our D2C, our EBOs, for all our direct channels, we're able to say how many people are coming back and if they're not, we also talk to them to check why they're not. So that is basically the first thing which is supercritical.
Akshay: How do you track offline, if they're coming back? You have some loyalty card or something like that?
Shivani: We have our own data. All the systems have been inbuilt. They are built by us. So if my customer is coming back, we know that this is a second time customer, third time customer, etc.
Akshay: Like at the time of billing you take their phone number or something like that.
Shivani: That's correct. We have their phone number. That's a compulsory input. So that's something that we have and we're able to track that.
That would be one super important metric for us on repeats. The other thing that's very important for us is on returns. Which is to say that, why are 35% people who buy my product returning it? Which is that either the size is not right, the fabric is not right, or the image is not right. And then collecting this data and being on top to say that how can we reduce this over time. Because if you can reduce returns in a fashion business by 10%, you will change the company's life in a way, the P&L is going to now look very different. Besides a regular finance and marketing metrics, these are the two things that are super important for our business.
Akshay: What is your CAC to LTV ratio? Is that relevant also in your business?
Shivani: It's relevant. The only thing about us, like I said, is my D2C is only about 30% of my business which means 70% of my customers are going to other places to buy and I can only track CAC to LTV for D2C. So even for that, it's more than three times over a 18 to 24 month period. It's still looking good. But having said that, it's just for this part. If that customer is then going to Myntra and then going to Lifestyle and then going to Shoppers Stop, I have no way of tracking the journey.
So it's more relevant for businesses that have at least 70, 80% D2C, but even for us, like I said, it still looks good.
Akshay: So I noticed in your funding journey that you've been taking debt on a consistent basis. Help me understand if I'm a founder, what is my way of thinking about when should I take equity? When should I take debt?
Shivani: Besides basic equity, that metrics are to say that if your business can afford interest and if your business is at a stage where the risk factor is low, then that is the better option because you don't want to give up. Because equity is always going to be much more expensive.
So debt even at higher prices, which is at 14, 15% interest, which is where most startups would end, that's also better than giving equity because the cost of equity is definitely more than 14, 15%.
Akshay: When you say low risk, it means you have a predictable monthly revenue.
Shivani: Absolutely because the thing about debt is that you make monthly repayments. So for us, for example, because we have 500 stores, we have an online business, we will do 80% or 90%. You'll still do that much of your target.
It's not like you will do 10%. But if it's a business where there is huge variability or variance in revenue, that becomes very expensive. Because if you can't pay for two months, then your business could potentially leave, become bankrupt. So from that perspective, I would say that any business that's past the basic risk stage and can afford to pay back the interest, that is a better option.
The first few years. I would always say if you can raise equity because it's money in the bank without any obligation to pay out and the founder can really focus on using the money to build the business as opposed to using the money in the short term and then having the pressure of paying back in 18 months or 24 months.
So I think that would be the key kind of difference. First few years essentially take equity, build it out to a certain base, let the risk level in the business be low and then start building with debt, because your equity is also becoming more and more expensive by then.
Akshay: So why did you take this 5 million equity round just now?
Shivani: To build out that whole wedding wear space, we are building on Indya's Lux range. So a lot of that essentially will require money, it will require inventory, it will require distribution across the board. We wanted to build that out aggressively so this round is primarily for that.
Akshay: Basically for one time cash burn it's better to take equity and when it's money for funding business as usual stuff, then debt is better.
Shivani: I think more than one time, if you feel that the predictability is low and also the business is loss making, which means paying interest is an add-on burden on the business, then equity is much better. If the business has or will potentially start generating money in the short term and risk is low because revenue stability is high, then debt is definitely the better option.
Akshay: My last question to you- is there any advice you want to give to aspiring founders?
Shivani: I would just say that if you have an idea, go and do it. Because over the last 10 years, I heard at least if not more, like 100 great ideas and then when I check with the person who's told me the idea after a few months, what happened to it and they said that we weren't quite sure. It's difficult at this point because I have kids, the baggage. I always tell them if you can't do it now it'll only get harder.
Just like you have an idea, and even if that idea is not fleshed out, even if that thought is there, you want to do something, just go and do it because what would you lose. You lose two years of your working life, three years by when you probably realize it's not working and the worst case scenario, but you would have at least done it. Maybe when you're 60, 70, you'll be like, I at least tried. As opposed to being like, Oh, I had a great idea and I never tried. It's cliche, but that's what I would say. You think of something, just go and do it. I would not change anything about the last 10 years and they've been difficult years.
There's been lots of ups and downs, but I would not take anything back and that's what I would say. Take that chance and go and do it and if it doesn't happen, so be it. But nobody ever regrets being an entrepreneur.
Before you go……the analytics only tell me so much, I want to hear what you feel and think about the conversations.
Mail me at email@example.com with your comments & feedback or if you just want to hear my comments on your startup idea - I love getting your emails!
Until the next founder's thesis📕,
Your host, AD