As private a topic this is, one of the most common pain points of being a woman – a perfectly fitted bra. As women, we all had moments when the sizes just don’t exist in your favorite brands or the inventory is just not available. One woman is here to change that – Arpita Ganesh, with ButterCups, her own bra range.
Just, who is Arpita Ganesh and what is ButterCups?
Arpita started Buttercups, India’s first luxury lingerie boutique in 2009, exclusively retailing lingerie brands like Chantelle, Trinny&Sussanah, Cette amongst others. Soon she realized that the Indian market wasn’t ready to pay INR 5000 for a bra! And, those who wanted to come for a fitting to find their right size couldn’t afford to!
The only thing that kept her going was that NO ONE ever left without appreciating the “fitting”, a service which the boutique exclusively provided. So, while she still believed that Indian women needed and could do with better bras, she had to relook at the financials involved. That’s when she began retailing online via www.buttercups.in. She also started blogging to share information widely. Today, her blog www.abrathatfits.com is India’s most informative blog about bras.
Simultaneously, Arpita decided to find a way of telling women how to measure themselves before buying bras from the botique. For three months, she studied six brands to understand and decode bra sizing. Based on this research, she worked on a back end matrix (including lots of measuring stats and inches-centimeter conversions!!!) whereby women could measure themselves as directed and the matrix would reveal their size. The matrix worked well giving her a 98% accuracy rate in measurements. This led to the launch of ABTF (A Bra That Fits), India’s ONLY bra fitting application available on iPhone and Android.
The blog and app helped greatly to generate interest amongst different brands so Arpita began consulting with both International & Indian lingerie brands including M&S India, Amante, Fredrick’s of Hollywood, LA helping with their market strategy, product development and sourcing. Through these assignments and having fit over 3000 women by 2013, she realized that she need to develop her own brand of bras, as she understood what women in India wanted and their struggle to find their sizes.
About ButterCups Crowdfunding Campaign
Arpita spent another 8 months researching and planning her own label, working with a designer in Hamburg, and a manufacturer in Hong Kong to make bras in over 80+ sizes. Internationally 150 sizes are available whereas in India currently most brands offer only 30 odd sizes!
At this juncture I need to raise money for developing the inventory but no investor was willing to invest in my business. I decided to appeal directly to the women who related to this need for a well-fitting bra, my existing customers and believers to help me raise this fund. In early 2014, I launched India’s largest crowd sourcing initiative (a pre-order model) for a product www.fundbuttecrups.in
We ask Arpita, on why did she not get Investor Love?
The first is that “is there really a need?” Because most investors are men, the concept of “comfort fits” is alien to them. The most common thing I get is that why not make it cheaper, sexier. That is a segment they understand.Second, this is a high inventory business. Blocking money in stock is something most investors are very uncomfortable doing. Third, team. That I am on the verge of fixing.
Why use her own platform rather than use popular International crowdfunding platforms? She explains – “It is hard enough to explain the concept of crowd sourcing in India, let alone try to explain that there is a platform and then the project. Also, since my main targeting is for Women in India, (keeping the orders open for International backers as well) it seemed inappropriate to use an International platform.”
Why donate ?
Arpita has dedicated 6 years of her life to trying to bring better bras to women in India. Her boutique, online store, blog, app and now her own label, is witness to her commitment to this. Most backers of the campaign are women whom she have either fit or their friends/relatives, who have heard of her through them. There are men who are backing the campaign, and are people who see her passion to build a brand and her grit and determination to succeed.
The crowd funding campaign has so far collected 431,550.00 and is 9% funded. The campaign will be active for another 30 days.
We asked Arpita to explain in 50 words, on why anyone should fund ButterCups campaign –
If you have ever felt uncomfortable in your bra, ever felt like bras are the worst thing for you, had questions about your bras that no one could answer, problems in finding a size that fits you, finding bra styles that you need, well FUND BUTTERCUPS. I promise that not only have I solved these problems for a lot of women (read the testimonials on our site), but that I can do the same for you.
Go, check out www.fundbuttecrups.in and join Arpita Ganesh in her quest for a better fitted bra for every woman!