Mumbai: Homegrown is a word that we hear with every new brand that is seeing the light of business. Do we know what is homegrown? So, homegrown is a term used for goods that are locally produced. In this case, we talking about a homegrown, size-inclusive, new-age Indian apparel label, trueBrowns. From scratch trueBrowns is locally produced in India. Conceptualized in 2016 by Udita Bansal, the brand embodies the ethos of inclusivity by housing a varied range of sizes from 2XS to 6XL, and caters to larger sizes as well on a made-to-order model, without any hidden charges involved.
trueBrowns is a digital-only brand, with 100% online sales and with a multi-channel presence on third-party retail platforms such as Myntra, Nykaa Fashion, Ajio, Jaypore etc contributing to about 20-25% of the sales. In the past year, the brand has been able to strengthen its online presence securing increased traction of almost 90% on its website through various digital marketing initiatives. This has led to a reduction in third-party contribution to an extent.
With the product line being urban ethnic wear, trueBrowns manufactures products with a design sensibility that stays relevant for years and a size offering that covers extreme sizes in both spectrums. It is known that many brands advertise about being available in all sizes, but will not be available in-store. trueBrows is one brand that truly offers all-size clothes which have led to the brand witnessing an average Year-on-Year growth percentage of 60%-70%. The brand aims to touch 400% for the FY 2022-2023. For The Balcony Stories, I got an opportunity to speak to the founder about the brand and the journey. Below are the excerpts…
What is trueBrowns? How did it start?
trueBrowns is an urban ethnic wear label, that stands firm on the brand ethos of – size inclusivity, sustainability, and customization. It was conceptualised in 2016, after the realisation that there was no go-to young brand in the market that is not only close to our traditional aesthetics but offers a contemporary take as well. We wish to meet the needs of every woman, perfecting their size requirements, devoid of any issues. We cater to the everyday affordable wear needs of women; therefore, our clothes are practically designed with pockets, easy silhouettes, and pre-draped ensembles for hassle-free celebrations. With a wide array of sizes which range from 2XS-6XL, we provide a made-to-order model too along with a one of its kind, virtual customization, without any extra cost.
What is with the name?
trueBrowns is a journey of falling in love- with yourself and everyone. It is about being connected to your roots while adapting to modernity. Our brand ethos of ‘true you’ encourage an extension of one’s personality.
Why did you emerge into the homegrown category?
Having gained critical experience in the fashion industry, I was acquainted with the shortfalls of the sector. One of the major gaps the issue of size inclusivity that none of the brands was paying attention to, was one of the main reasons why I thought of conceptualizing trueBrowns. We wish to create a community which is free from any prejudice and celebrates the notion of ‘true you,’ irrespective of one’s colour, caste, creed, and ethnicity.
How tough or easy was it to emerge into the clothing scene?
Our products were loved at marketplaces from the very beginning itself. – market product fit was well established- our designs to product quality and the price that we offered stood out. And since we had a clear brand positioning (inclusivity) even the marketing communication helped break through the clutter.
How do you think brands are leveraging the growth of the D2C space?
The key lever here is giving the ‘best’ customer experience. And using the huge amount of data effectively in building product, supply chain, marketing and consumer experience. The ‘purpose’ the brands get to communicate through their d2c channels makes the consumer build trust in the brand and ‘why’ they should purchase from them
What are your plans for the future? Where do you see trueBrowns in the next 5 years?
We are planning to become a complete lifestyle brand. When I say lifestyle brand, it means that we will soon be foraying into new verticals like footwear, jewellery, and home. We are also focusing on strengthening online retail in India and global markets; plans to penetrate the offline market soon are in pipeline.
Could you give us an Industry overview of clothing and lifestyle on e-commerce?
For us, the response from the consumers has been favourable and encouraging so far. As an e-commerce brand, the volume of digital penetration in the Indian subcontinent has pushed the brand to establish its foothold in the homegrown, size-inclusive retail fashion industry. We are a belief-driven brand and so are our consumers. Our brand ethos of size inclusivity, customization and sustainability have paved the way for us to reach the right audience to build a niche market in the online space.
Tell us about yourself.
I am a NIFT alumnus who studied Fashion Technology. I have always shared a strong affinity towards the retail and fashion industry, which according to me is a beautiful amalgamation of numbers, technology, and colours. I started my fashion retail journey with a short stint of 5 months at Shahi Exports, followed by a glorious 6 years in Madura Fashion & Lifestyle, Aditya Birla Group where I grew step by step and gained insight into the workings of the apparel industry by indulging in various aspects of planning, retail, inventory, CRM and much more. Further, I enrolled at Harvard University for a marketing & finance certification to enhance my entrepreneurial skills.
You are an entrepreneur, marketing graduate, and yoga instructor; what else do you do?
Since dance has always been my passion, currently I am undertaking Kathak training. I love travelling to places close to nature as it helps me unwind and enjoy meditation. Also, it helps me to remain centred and energized. I enjoy unwinding to music, some of my favourites being Billy Joel, Andy Williams, and CAS, to name a few.
How was it working with Chitrangada Singh?
This was our first celebrity collaboration and we could not have asked for someone better suited than Chitrangda to accompany us on this journey. Fortunately, our vision, design aesthetics and views have been so in sync and that is reflected in the collection itself. The collaboration has been very harmonious and we hope that this association is just the first of many more to come.