It’s been 18 months since StyleCracker.com launched and we have come a long way since then. Our founding partners, Archana Walavalkar and Dhimaan Shah, are the coolest pair of bosses ever and their vision of “Making India Stylish” is a driving force for the entire team. We sat down to talk fashion and business with Archana and Dhimaan and here’s what we found out!
How did you come up with the idea of a personalized styling platform? Was there a thought process or was it a gut instinct that you followed and it paid off?
It was purely a gut feeling says our co-founder Archana Walavalkar. Stylecracker.com was a decision they made over countless conversations, based on Dhimaan’s firm interest in knowing about fashion and styling and Archana’s want to reach out to a wider audience.”Where’s the fun in something that doesn’t challenge you every step of the way?”And that is exactly what they were on the look for. A challenge! Archana says styling professionals is comparatively easier than styling real people and she wanted a way to reach out and make an impact! That is where StyleCracker came in.
Coming from 2 vastly different backgrounds, what was the common ground that was met before the launch? Archana and Dhimaan make a great team! They know it…We’ve seen it! They have a unique relationship that complements each other very well. Being two strong minded individuals, the duo challenge each other every step of the way and the outcome of that is what in turn benefits the company. Fun fact: The two of them are major foodies!
Why the name “StyleCracker”? Who came up with such a quirky name? Picking a name was a long and tricky process. They wanted something that would grab people’s attention. The one thing they were sure of is the word “style”. Over the course of time, the duo would continuously message each other with every name that popped into their head. But our favorite part of this story though, was the reason behind the word “Cracker”, when Dhimaan was thinking of fire crackers, Archana being the foodie she is, thought of Prawn Crackers. Et Voila! StyleCracker.com was born! It was meant to be! Both of them on different tangents but it worked.
What, according to you, is the market and scope for fashion based startups? In India, fashion is undeniably a huge market, our numbers show that. What works is the fact that we are the first ones doing what we do. More than that though, what matters is the constant support we get from family, friends, well-wishers and most importantly our users. Lastly, all of this comes together because of the great team we have. There was a lacking in the market for something, which we feel like we tapped at the right time with the right audience.
What was your vision for this company and where do you see it 5 years down the line? Everyone can be the jack of all trades, but being the king of one is a challenge. So right now our main focus is our online eco-system. Doing all the things we do, we just want to make sure we don’t lose the essence of what StyleCracker.com is. However, at the same time, exploring new opportunities is always exhilirating and that’s what we have done with the StyleCracker Borough, the SC Flash Card and more. We definitely need to keep reinventing ourselves and launching new products. Most importantly, as a team we need to have a clear focus and continue being India’s number one styling platform.
Is the SC of present exactly as you had in mind when you first came up with the idea of it? Or has the initial idea evolved into the company it is today? More or less yes! However, what we didn’t have in mind was that it would pick up so quickly, so well. We did not expect that our vision would be supported so much by the industry and our users. We aim to keep giving back!
Most fashion related start ups are e-com sites. SC is different and still successful. How can people think beyond e-com when trying to integrate fashion and technology? Everyone is so wise and aware today. There is an interest in what we do out there. It’s about moving and evolving with time and along with your consumers. Create something that is a new and a breakthrough concept, but is something that is commercially viable and basically just follow your heart!
What are the challenges you faced and how did you come out stronger by facing them? We have been quite lucky and have gotten a lot of support from people around us. Our major challenge, like any other start up company has been finding the perfect team that would get our vision and cause. Having the perfect team is important to move further and at the same time training that team to have one voice when it comes to the core purpose of your company.
Archana, what advice would you give to young stylists just starting out in the industry, seeing as how you know the inside workings that go behind a successful styling project? Every stylist needs that drive and modesty, and that’s what I feel is lacking in today’s generation. In today’s competitive world, everyone wants to race up the ladder but no one wants to get their hands dirty. With all the modern technology and educational opportunities in India today, kids have it a lot easier than before, but that needs to be valued and not taken for granted! When we started our career there was no training or courses available like there is now.
How does StyleCracker.com aim to shape the fashion industry in India? We aim at making fashion easily accessible and personalized, but commercially viable at the same time. With StyleCracker.com as our platform, we want people to not be intimidated by fashion and style. In our way, we want to help them to be the best version of themselves through style and now they have a platform that works just for them to do that, with their own personal stylist!
Tune in to watch Team SC in action only on CNBC-TV18’s “Young Turks”.
The episode (second segment) featuring our platform to make India Stylish will be aired on CNBC-TV18
17th Jan(Saturday)-11 am & 7:30 pm
18th Jan(Sunday)- 12 noon.