While e-commerce in India over the past few years has been booming with many new entrants, it is always a refreshing change to see someone venturing into something different which stands out.
ENAH, is one such company in that segment. How is it different? It's virtually the only ethical fashion brand online and to add to that, it's also using Facebook commerce (f-commerce) to its advantage. Something not so popularly seen among other retail and e-commerce businesses in India.
The idea behind 'Ethical' fashion
ENAH is a startup online-only ethical fashion brand from India, aiming to promote a contemporary style co-existing with an ethical conscience towards ones culture, society and environment.
Many fashion brands are flooding the Indian retail scene today. Multiple options are available to the end consumer at any price and in any quantity. Mechanical methods taking over traditional arts and craft and artificially made textiles replacing natural fibers have made fashion cheaper. But how much that affects society and environment, is typically the least of anyone's concern.
"Mass consumerism being rampant in our retail environment today, we have forgotten the ill-effects of our lifestyle on our surroundings and more importantly on ourselves," said Neha Shah, founding CEO of ENAH.
However over a period of time, consumers have been changing their behavior slowly. With the awareness of global warming and ethical living practices fast spreading across the globe today and people are becoming more conscious about their fashion habits too. That's the direction this startup, ENAH is heading into.
To spread this awareness of ethical fashion and life among the dynamic Indian youth, in a fashionably stylish way. Ethical fashion is a concept wherein, the end product is created in such a way, that it maximises the benefit to society and minimizes impact on our environment. This is the underlying principle at ENAH where they create any of their products and it is reflected in every aspect of their product right from design, manufacturing, packaging, retail right up to the post sales customer care stage. Being a new brand, getting online was the most economical way to spread its message to large set of people in shortest span of time.
How is ENAH into ethical fashion
At ENAH when they create each and every product they ensure a fundamental philosophy that ensures that the products created are natural and made out of materials like cotton, linen, jute, wood, silk, bamboo, and etc. According to ENAH, natural fabrics made from naturally grown fibres are very comfortable to the human skin unlike the man-made synthetic fibres, which use petrochemical raw-materials, causing carcinogenic diseases. ENAH also attempts to use as many eco-friendly trims and accessories as possible. Besides that they ensure recycling happens to ensure effective waste management. Other than that they also encourage a lot of their products being handcrafted and handwoven providing maximum comfort and breathability to the wearer.
One of the best things about ENAH is that they have a special range of organic merchandise made out of organic cotton and bamboo, organic fabric without the use of any chemicals and fertilizers helps make the clothes much more eco-friendly. They also ensure that the dyes used for coloring are organic.
Target market, diversification
ENAH's primary customer base is college-going and working class women, in age group of 16-45, residing in metros and tier-1 cities, with disposable incomes and having access to internet facility. They decided to launch with women's range, as there is significant demand in the online retail industry among this audience.
They soon plan to diversify into other product categories into kids apparels, fashion accessories, beauty products, food and home furnishing, all organic.
F-commerce and its implications as compared to e-commerce
ENAH practices several engagement and promotional activities on its Facebook page ensuring constant engagement between the brand and its fans on this social media. Thus, it is only fitting to have a Facebook integrated e-commerce app that allows users to shop while being inside their facebook account itself.
"Be it any online retail site, its customer base is bound to be present on India's most popular social media site Facebook.com," said Neh.
With Facebook having more than 70 million active users in India she feels these are potential customers for any e-selling brand and same applies for ENAH too. ENAH has close to 30,000 fans on its Facebook page.
Manufacturing and logistics of ENAH
ENAH is associated with Ace Lifestyles e-Retail which is its sole trader and retailer. The brand ENAH however has been around since February 2012 and has been selling off other sites before coming up with their own Web site and online store.
Neha Shah, is also the founder and director of Ace Lifestyles as well as the sole proprietor of Aikya clothing. All of ENAH's apparels currently are exclusively manufactured by Aikya Clothing in Navi Mumbai. The arrangement between the two companies is back-to-back ordering, thus the company is not liable to hold inventory at any time.
Also the warehousing costs are maintained at a minimum, as it is a drop-shipment arrangement between the manufacturer and retailer. Since they have their own manufacturing setup, they have definite control over the quality and its supply chain. It's also a smart move to have different entities to help channelize, manufacturing, logistics and streamline their brand and marketing efforts considering the hassles of setting up small businesses in India. They've partnered with a logistics company for delivery via prepaid and cash on delivery orders across the country.
Marketing efforts and revenue generation
ENAH has tied up with two marketing agencies that take care of their digital marketing activities. They run pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns, Yahoo, display ads, Google Ads, SEO and SME activities, dedicated e-mail marketing campaigns for promoting their site. They also have associations with several online coupons and deal sites that showcase their brand offers and deals online, thus guiding traffic to their site. Other than this, they have been mentioned on several reputed blogs and websites, that indirectly helps spread their message.
How it stands out other than being the only "ethical fashion" startup
When it comes to clothes shopping, fit is the most important criterion for any woman. Every woman's shape and size is unique and it is extremely strenuous to find a perfectly fitting outfit, especially for petite and plus-sized women, in brick-n-mortar retail outlets, let alone online stores.
ENAH solves that problem by having the option of "custom-fit" clothing, where one can input their personal measurements and they will tailor-make any of the ENAH's styles to your personal fit.
Gearing up for expansion
They received an initial funding from an individual angel investor last year. This sum has been primarily used for setting up the site infrastructure and initial branding activities. Now that they are operationally profitable, they are looking at next round of funding for their venture for diversification and scaling up.
Certainly looks like this startup is heading in a unique direction taking a different stands when it comes to selling clothes and apparel to a unique target audience.
But whether the demand for ethical fashion as a business will pick up or not, in India especially is yet to be seen. What do you think?