FASHION RESALE SOCIAL MARKETPLACE SOUTH ASIAN FASHION NATIONAL
April 14, 2023 | 27 11 minutes read
The concept is now accepted and a big credit goes to Saritoria for leading this in India.
Saritoria is one of the world’s first and biggest online platform for the resale of South Asian fashion. Founded by Pernia Qureshi and Shehlina Soomro, Saritoria is one holistic platform for a perfect amalgamation of fashion, technology and sustainability. This exclusive online marketplace based on a preloved model appreciates and celebrates the rich cultural heritage, beautiful craftsmanship and impeccable fit of South Asian luxury couture that deserve a second life.
The dynamics in the fashion industry are changing dramatically as consumers are becoming more aware of the consequences of their purchasing choices. Saritoria’s mission is precisely to enable consumers to continue to enjoy fashion and couture with a reduced impact on our planet by keeping the same garments in circulation.
Shehlina Soomro, Founder & CEO, Saritoria
To talk more on this concept, we got in touch with Shehlina Soomro, Founder & CEO, Saritoria.
Excerpts from the interview
How is Saritoria different from other key players in the market?
Secondhand marketplaces are not new globally. There are a number of established players focusing on western wear in Europe or the US such as TheRealReal, Depop or Vestiaire Collective. Saritoria’s specific focus is on South Asians and their national dress and couture.
How would you define your customer?
Saritoria is aiming to democratize fashion through making luxury goods more accessible to a broader consumer base. Our target group is the South Asian consumer across multi-generations. Initially, we had expected our customer base to be predominantly millennials within the diaspora. However, quickly consumers with India moved to join the circular economy and we now have our biggest listing market in Delhi itself.
Tell us about your investments in this business on innovation and future business?
Our main investment has been into our app which is enabling more and more customers to upload items and join the circular economy at a faster pace. Technology is at the core of our business and we are constantly looking at improving our customer experience.
Tell us about your initiatives on sustainability with some latest examples?
Sustainability is at the core of our business model. 35 percent of microplastics in the ocean are caused by the fashion industry and around 85 percent of all garments end up in landfill. By allowing customers to resell garments, we are reducing the waste in the fashion industry and extending the life of garments.
Technology is changing the very face of the industry. How has your company evolved on this term?
Saritoria is the first social marketplace in India for fashion. Technology is absolutely core to our business. We launched our test website on June 2021 and have already upgraded to our beta website and app at the start of this year. We introduced some very innovative features such as the option to resell garments and accessories bought on our platform, the ability to follow and like members within our community and save favourite searches so that customers can be alerted when their dream products have been listed.
Tell us about the key product categories and the bestsellers. What are your average price points?
On an average, our customers have spent over $600 per year with us. Given we launched with only South Asian clothing, we are yet to see how the lead categories evolve with the introduction of western accessories and shoes in January. We introspect handbags will be one of the leading categories but at the moment it’s definitely occasion wear, because of the predominance of South Asian Culture in the wedding industry.
Who are the designers who are currently selling on your platform?
We have over 100 designers on our platform. Amongst Indian designers, Sabyasachi and Anamika Khanna are the most coveted and Chanel and Louis Vuitton amongst the Western designers.
What are your future product expansion plans? Do you wish to expand more categories?
We’ve just added western accessories. We’ll be focusing on these core product lines for now: Indian luxury clothing, western luxury accessories and clothing. Our main focus at the moment is to create real communities and ecosystems in Mumbai and Delhi where there is a strong potential for millions of users.
Tell us about your key markets? Mention their names and define their retail spread?
At the moment, we are focusing on sellers from UK and India with buyers from all over the world. We definitely see higher budget items being bought more frequently outside India. The mindset for second hand clothing is much more developed in US and UK for example; where brides are proud to wear second hand for their own weddings. In India, we have had a few bridal purchases but it’s been much more wedding guest clothing for now.
How is the Indian market different in comparison to others for this concept?
In India, we definitely see the need for more hands on approach with our customers. Given the concept is new, we have a dedicated customer services team who are constantly available to answer queries and assist customers in learning about the preloved space. Compared to western platforms, we have had much more emphasis on sizing, measurements and details of embroidery and fabric that you just wouldn’t need for western wear.
Saritoria is an online market place for resale of South Asian fashion, how well have you scored through this retail channel?
Correct, we have a website, and iOS and Android mobile application as of now. Since the launch of the app, we have seen a real increase in customer engagement. It has also enabled more customers to upload items themselves. Last month, we saw self-uploads moved from under 5 to 40 percent. This shows the potential for scalability of the business.
Are you considering an offline presence for your brand concept? If yes, share plans?
At the moment, we are fully online and have no plans to launch any physical stores. We will, however, be doing popups; so stay tuned!
The online resale of designer fashion has become a major part of the fashion industry in recent years. It is estimated that the resale market for designer fashion is now worth over $20 billion, and is continuing to grow at a rapid rate. Saritoria, a key player in this category is adding great value to this business.