Richa Kar is the co-founder of Zivame, India’s leading online lingerie brand. She co-founded Zivame with her husband Kapil Karekar in 2011. They began their journey with just 30 lakh rupees by borrowing money from friends and family in a small office based in Bangalore and the valuation of their company is now nearly 681 crores.
Today, Zivame has stores all over the country offering 5000 styles, 100 sizes of lingerie, and 50 brands under it with 2.5 million customers a month visiting both offline and online stores of the brand.
Early life and education
Richa Kar was born and brought up in Jamshedpur. She completed her graduation in civil engineering from BITS Pilani and later started working in an IT company as a software analyst. Later, she went to the Narsee Monji Institute of Management Studies and completed her MBA in 2007.
After MBA, she was employed by Spencer’s to work as a Brand Communications Manager. Soon she was promoted and worked there until she was employed by SAP as a consultant in 2011. During her time at SAP, she got an opportunity to work with Limited Brand which owns Victoria’s Secret. Her interaction with the client was the sight where her idea to start Zivame came from.
Journey as an entrepreneur
Richa Kar’s journey of a startup wasn’t a typical one. From the dawn of idea till the execution of it, her journey has been difficult and criticized by all. Her idea to start Zivame, an online lingerie brand was criticized by her family. Her parents were not willing to support her idea to deal with lingerie as a business opportunity in fear of what the society would say. Richa, on the other hand, decided to go with the plan as she observed that lingerie is one of the most ignored aspects of online shopping and nobody has ever even talked about including it as a category.
Her reason to have a shot at it was, she noticed that women are not too comfortable talking about their needs and want while shopping lingerie from vendors who are of the opposite sex. With this being the reason, women also face problems deciding what size and style to go with as there is no one to advise and educate them. Keeping in mind the problem, she found the fix to the problem. She designed an e-commerce platform for women with different categories which would not only provide doorstep delivery of lingerie but also educate the buyer on how to choose the right style and fit.
The brand does not only deal with lingerie alone, but it also deals with women’s apparel, activewear, and sleepwear. One of the biggest challenges faced by the company was in the year 2015-16. The company recorded an increase in the total net loss by 84% nearly about 54 crores in the financial year 2016.
The brand is also known for its incredible customer service. Richa has always kept her focus clear, thinking like the buyer to make a good product mix. The price, quality, direct and clear feedback on the product, cash on delivery service, and easy return/exchange policy has helped the buyers to understand the brand and build their trust.
In 2011 when Richa set up her office she got her first order 5 hours later and now has 2.5 million customers a month and sells 2 products in a minute. Richa Kar’s journey of Zivame had an impact on the entrepreneurial structure as her idea was not only different but criticized by many. Hope and courage kept her going to make a brand by women, catering only to women.
- “Being able to fulfil a certain need is most gratifying. That thousand of women in India have found a respectable way of making their intimate choices of gratifying feeling”.
- “If you are strong, focused and passionate about what you want to do, everything falls in place.”
- “I guess conviction in one’s belief is the greatest driver”.
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