Afamado is an e-tailer that focuses on producing quality and fashionable international clothes for full figured women in India, where about 8% of the population is plus size. It not only offers clothes in plus sizes but also designs clothes keeping in mind the customer’s body type and preferences.
Afamado Retail Pvt Ltd was founded in 2014 by Stuti and Harsh Modi. Stuti had spent over 15 years in the fashion and accessories industry, including a project at the largest film studio in India. She has worked both in the Indian and Chinese markets and has a deep understanding of the fashion market in upscale Hong Kong as well as the Indian western wear market. Harsh is a computer engineering graduate from the University of Michigan and had worked as a software design engineer at Microsoft in the Adcenter Group.
Afamado was born out of the realization that upscale, international fashion was largely unavailable in India for curvy or plus size women. As per its customer feedback, most mainstream brands do not offer the larger sizes. The ones that do offer them just scale up the dresses meant for S/M/L sizes to the larger plus sizes. Being a niche area, the plus size market is unattractive to the larger brands that produce clothes on a massive scale.
There are not many brands that cater to the upwardly mobile, plus size segment. Further, treating this segment as just another size grade does not work; what is needed is an entirely different approach to the segment. They should think of the plus size market from the design stage, keeping their interests in mind.
In addition, there is a lot of variation in standard sizes, which confuses the customers as to what size would fit them for a particular style. So they find online shopping untenable. Several times, due to difference in proportion, particularly in dresses, no single size garment fits several users.
Afamado solves these problems by offering a made-to-measure option at a slightly higher cost. It is committed to solving this problem and also innovating processes to deliver this option efficiently.
The main idea behind Afamado, which means celebrity in Spanish, is that every woman should feel special like a celebrity, irrespective of the size. Its clothes are meant to make women feel sexy, confident, fun, flirty, and a range of such exciting emotions that bring out the simple joys of life. It stands for truth in sizing so that one can pick the right clothes as per the body type. It custom tailors the clothes so as to make each piece fit perfectly. Afamado’s main differentiation is that its clothes are meant to be perfect fits for full-figured women.
Its main competitors include aLL and Amydus. However, Hrash says they are both nascent and concentrating more on availability of plus sizes, not on creating trendy fashion.
Initially, Afamado penetrated the market by using online marketing. Once it had generated the leads or sales, it personally addressed every customer to know them better and cater to their needs. This has resulted in a lot of repeat sales. It is still working on innovative methods to acquire customers. The main challenge is that traditional media will not give an acceptable ROI since this is a niche product.
It currently gets about 3,000 visits daily and has about 1,000 customers. It sells directly to the consumer on its own website, but is also getting proposals from marketplaces to list on their websites. It is also considering collaborations with offline stores.
Afamado targets plus size women who are 22 to 45 years old, who live in cities, and who have an estimated family income above INR 50,000 ($775) per month. Over 90% of its customers are from urban areas, but they are not concentrated only in Mumbai and Delhi. It is getting significant orders from other cities as well.
It follows a cost-plus pricing model, with the price range largely between $40 and $50 (~INR 2,500-3,000). It has plans to launch a $25 (INR 1,500) product soon.
According to research firm Technopak, the plus size women’s segment was worth about $1.8 billion or INR 11,000 crore in 2014 and was expected to double to $3.6 billion or INR 22,000 crore by 2017. Women’s western wear accounts for about 25% of the women’s wear market. Applying this to the plus size market, Afamado’s TAM works out to be $0.9 billion or INR 5,500 crore in 2017.
Afamado is currently at revenue stage and is close to breaking even. It is already at an operational break even. It is essentially funded by about $200,000 generated from other family businesses. Harsh says they will consider further funding once the company runs profitably for a few months. Their ideal investor is someone in the retail sector who can open the right doors for them.
Currently, the company is trying to improve its online outreach to acquire more customers without spending too much money. It plans to have an offline presence soon as an offline store provides much needed brand positioning. It has also identified several market segments that do not shop online.
Harsh says they are not looking at growing at an exponential scale through unsustainable advertising spend. They believe the exponential growth phase should come from word-of-mouth and a few phases of brand-building.
Regarding an exit strategy, Harsh says that they have no intention to exit the business in the foreseeable future. However, it is not ruled out completely either.
This segment is a part in the series : 1Mby1M Incubation Radar 2017