Tapping the potential of untapped market

Functional clothing

In June this year, Delhi-based Kartik Verma won the coveted James McGuire Award, a competition that promotes entrepreneurial spirit among students from different countries. He beat two other competitors in the final round, as the judges liked the proposal of “functional” clothing for nursing and pregnant mothers.

The idea for this project germinated three years ago when the 22-year-old was in level two of Fashion Business Management at the Pearl Academy and the students were “supposed to develop a business plan to fill the gap in the market”.

“I tried looking around and thought of many ideas, but realised they weren’t beneficial for the society. So, I started looking inwards. What I observed was that my sister, who had just delivered a baby, was finding it difficult to breastfeed. That was because of the clothes she was wearing, and that is what I thought was a good idea to begin with,” Verma tells Metrolife.

 And this is how the project “Assuage Mom” began. But the biggest challenge for Verma lay ahead. “After identifying the project, the first step was to understand what women want. And me being a boy, it was going to be a tough task to ask women uncomfortable questions. So I had to rely on my friends (girls) and my sister who would ask questions to other women and get the feedback,” recollects Verma, adding he had prepared all questions.

From the responses, Verma came up with a business plan in which he highlighted the potential market size for the comfortable clothing line for nursing mothers would be close to $850 million in India. He also observed that Indian women were looking for “functionality, comfort, style and organic fabric” in their maternity wear.

“What I am proposing is that the clothes should have horizontal and vertical openings around the breast so that it is easy to feed the child.

Also in other designs, there is a stole of a covering attached to the garment that can
easily be removed while feeding,” he elucidates.

Verma has also used organic fabric in the garments that makes them eco-friendly and sustainable. “These clothes are skin-friendly, anti-bacterial and softer than cotton that will pamper women during this most important phase of their life,” he adds.

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