Richa Kar Curated

Founder and CEO, Zivame

CURATED BY :  

This profile has been added by users(CURATED) : Users who follow Richa Kar have come together to curate all possible video, text and audio interview to showcase Richa Kar's journey, experiences, achievements, advice, opinion in one place to inspire upcoming entrepreneurs. All content is sourced via different platforms and have been given due credit.

  • What is Your advice to aspiring women entrepreneurs?

    Don’t think of yourself as a ‘woman’ entrepreneur. Gender should not be a barrier to anything that you do. Being a woman does not stop you from dreaming and taking the plunge.

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  • What are the things that you always carry?

    My phone - as a lot of work happens on it even outside office, my Mac book

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  • Personal interests/hobbies?

    Travelling, all things related to fitness.

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  • In your opinion, how can one strike a right balance between the entrepreneurial zeal of the start-up founders and skill sets that professional managers bring to the table?

    As a founder of a start up, you begin executing every minute task. I used to attend customer calls in the first few months. As you scale up, you rope in people who share the same passion and zeal as you. From then on your role of managing every small detail comes down. You move away from micro managing, and think of the bigger picture, with your team supporting and helping you achieve that.

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  • How critical is 'going mobile' to the e-commerce growth story and specifically to your company? Is going ‘only mobile’ viable in the long run?

    Mobile is a platform that cannot be ignored. Especially in a category like ours, mobile plays a very important role. The most intimate need requires the most personal device which is of course one’s mobile. We have in fact just launched our app. While, we focus on empowering mobile as a platform, going ‘only mobile’ is not something that is in our consideration. We want to break through masses. Help women in every corner discover and shop with us. As for this, atleast at this point, we need to leverage both desktop and mobile.

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  • Many new e-commerce ventures have started operations in the recent past thereby swelling the number of players significantly. In your opinion, is consolidation imperative as the industry matures or is the Indian market capable of accommodating several players?

    This is unpredictable and could go either way. For example in a market like China, Alibaba is a dominant player. In USA, you have Amazon that has a strong hold in the market along with players that operate in niche categories who do really well as well. The business landscape keeps changing, so it is hard to tell.

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  • What steps has Zivame.com taken to enhance customer experience?

    Educating the consumers: The category is very nascent in India. Hence we take keen interest in educating customers about the category through various means. Every product has a detailed description that gives a customer a thorough understanding of the product and its functionality (example, description as detailed as 2mm straps). We have also made simple consultative Youtube videos to help customers understand lingerie better. Addressing the issue of Fit: We realised that 4 out of 5 women in India wear bras that fit them incorrectly. Hence apart from providing size-consultation throughout website (size calculator/ call with fit experts), we have launched the Zivame Fitting Lounge, a space where women could book a free appointment and avail consultative services from fit experts. This session lasts around 20 minutes and truly a space where she gets to discover herself. Website features: 20% of our shoppers say that shopping with us was their first online shopping experience. Keeping this point in mind, our UI was designed to ensure that a customer does not get lost when they land on our site. The array of filters be it sizes or brands or styles available, are plenty. However it has been structured in such a way that navigation and discovery is easy for even a first time shopper. Personalization is an area we are keenly working on to better the user experience.

    View Source:

  • How is e-commerce or digital marketplace transforming customer experience as well as opening up opportunities for sellers with ‘brick and mortar’ business model?

    When we talk about e-commerce in general irrespective of a category, it has made the whole process of shopping convenient and helped increase discoverability of businesses that operate in brick and mortar format. Now speaking of our business in specific, apart from the usual advantages, taking the category of lingerie online has provided a safe and a private environment for women to shop lingerie. They are no longer intruded by creepy salesmen. Another major advantage of taking the business online is the fact that we can stock all the styles and sizes without having to worry about shelf space. Our ultimate aim is that every Indian woman should find her perfect size and style and not compromise because of lack of choice in physical outlets.

    View Source:

  • How can women build a successful career and make it to the top echelons of management in a dynamic sector like digital start-ups? Please share your experiences.

    Making it to the top in a dynamic sector is irrespective of whether one is a man or woman. It is very important to have a powerful idea and make that idea happen. I keep telling this to my friends - Never stop with dreaming! One has to go ahead and take the plunge. The challenge in both ‘digital’ and a ‘start-up’ is its dynamic nature. There is a new and a better way to do things every single day. In such a scenario, it is very important to keep yourself updated. You have to keep following trends and be courageous to experiment new routes. This is also where your team comes into the picture. When you hire people who are self-driven and exceptionally good at what they know, innovation becomes a natural way of operation. This is critical for a start up in the digital era.

    View Source:

  • What was the inspiration behind setting up a niche business such as Zivame.com?

    The idea struck me all of a sudden when I was doing a research on Victoria’s Secret in my previous company. It got me thinking about the lingerie shopping experience in India, which is filled with discomfort all the time. First, lingerie is sold by salesmen who have very little or no knowledge about the category. They always stocked only the fast moving sizes and pushed those to the consumers. Women felt extremely uncomfortable discussing size and fit issues, due to which they always compromised on these factors. I realized that a category so intimate and innate deserved a platform that gave women privacy and of course an array of choices to choose from. Hence, I thought that taking lingerie online was the best way to solve the woes of Indian women.

    View Source:

  • Your advice to aspiring women entrepreneurs.

    Don’t think of yourself as a ‘woman’ entrepreneur. Gender should not be a barrier to anything that you do. Being a woman does not stop you from dreaming and taking the plunge

    View Source:

  • What are personal interests/hobbies?

    Travelling, all things related to fitness

    View Source:

  • In your opinion, how can one strike a right balance between the entrepreneurial zeal of the start-up founders and skill sets that professional managers bring to the table?

    As a founder of a start up, you begin executing every minute task. I used to attend customer calls in the first few months. As you scale up, you rope in people who share the same passion and zeal as you. From then on your role of managing every small detail comes down. You move away from micro managing, and think of the bigger picture, with your team supporting and helping you achieve that.

    View Source:

  • How critical is 'going mobile' to the e-commerce growth story and specifically to your company?

    Mobile is a platform that cannot be ignored. Especially in a category like ours, mobile plays a very important role. The most intimate need requires the most personal device which is of course one’s mobile. We have in fact just launched our app. While, we focus on empowering mobile as a platform, going ‘only mobile’ is not something that is in our consideration. We want to break through masses. Help women in every corner discover and shop with us. As for this, atleast at this point, we need to leverage both desktop and mobile.

    View Source:

  • In your opinion, in e-commerce is consolidation imperative as the industry matures or is the Indian market capable of accommodating several players?

    This is unpredictable and could go either way. For example in a market like China, Alibaba is a dominant player. In USA, you have Amazon that has a strong hold in the market along with players that operate in niche categories who do really well as well. The business landscape keeps changing, so it is hard to tell.

    View Source:

  • What steps has Zivame.com taken to enhance customer experience?

    Educating the consumers: The category is very nascent in India. Hence we take keen interest in educating customers about the category through various means. Every product has a detailed description that gives a customer a thorough understanding of the product and its functionality (example, description as detailed as 2mm straps). We have also made simple consultative Youtube videos to help customers understand lingerie better. Addressing the issue of Fit: We realised that 4 out of 5 women in India wear bras that fit them incorrectly. Hence apart from providing size-consultation throughout website (size calculator/ call with fit experts), we have launched the Zivame Fitting Lounge, a space where women could book a free appointment and avail consultative services from fit experts. This session lasts around 20 minutes and truly a space where she gets to discover herself. Website features: 20% of our shoppers say that shopping with us was their first online shopping experience. Keeping this point in mind, our UI was designed to ensure that a customer does not get lost when they land on our site. The array of filters be it sizes or brands or styles available, are plenty. However it has been structured in such a way that navigation and discovery is easy for even a first time shopper. Personalization is an area we are keenly working on to better the user experience.

    View Source:

  • How is e-commerce or digital marketplace transforming customer experience as well as opening up opportunities for sellers with ‘brick and mortar’ business model?

    When we talk about e-commerce in general irrespective of a category, it has made the whole process of shopping convenient and helped increase discoverability of businesses that operate in brick and mortar format. Now speaking of our business in specific, apart from the usual advantages, taking the category of lingerie online has provided a safe and a private environment for women to shop lingerie. They are no longer intruded by creepy salesmen. Another major advantage of taking the business online is the fact that we can stock all the styles and sizes without having to worry about shelf space. Our ultimate aim is that every Indian woman should find her perfect size and style and not compromise because of lack of choice in physical outlets.

    View Source:

  • Share your experiences on, how can women build a successful career and make it to the top echelons of management in a dynamic sector like digital start-ups?

    Making it to the top in a dynamic sector is irrespective of whether one is a man or woman. It is very important to have a powerful idea and make that idea happen. I keep telling this to my friends - Never stop with dreaming! One has to go ahead and take the plunge. The challenge in both ‘digital’ and a ‘start-up’ is its dynamic nature. There is a new and a better way to do things every single day. In such a scenario, it is very important to keep yourself updated. You have to keep following trends and be courageous to experiment new routes. This is also where your team comes into the picture. When you hire people who are self-driven and exceptionally good at what they know, innovation becomes a natural way of operation. This is critical for a start up in the digital era.

    View Source:

  • What was the inspiration behind setting up a niche business such as Zivame.com?

    The idea struck me all of a sudden when I was doing a research on Victoria’s Secret in my previous company. It got me thinking about the lingerie shopping experience in India, which is filled with discomfort all the time. First, lingerie is sold by salesmen who have very little or no knowledge about the category. They always stocked only the fast moving sizes and pushed those to the consumers. Women felt extremely uncomfortable discussing size and fit issues, due to which they always compromised on these factors. I realized that a category so intimate and innate deserved a platform that gave women privacy and of course an array of choices to choose from. Hence, I thought that taking lingerie online was the best way to solve the woes of Indian women.

    View Source:

  • What tips would you like to give to upcoming and aspiring entrepreneurs?

    My advice to upcoming entrepreneurs is to dream big. When you are your own boss you have to be ready to do the oddest and smallest of jobs as and when required. Always hire people who are better at what they do than you because they will help you grow faster. I believe that if you are strong, focused and passionate about what you want to do, everything else falls into place.

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  • Where do you see online marketing in near future?

    We are already witnessing great results from our online marketing campaigns. Going ahead, we expect to spend more on them. Apart from this, building a community and engaging our user base with relevant activities has helped us generate some extremely positive word of mouth. We hope to continue to build on it as we go ahead.

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  • What role does mobile play in your marketing efforts in India?

    While technology and gadgets may seem like a male domain, women are not far behind when it comes to using technology, especially while shopping online. Last month, we recorded 60% of the total traffic on the site from mobile devices. With the launch of the Zivame app, we expect the majority of sales coming from there.

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  • How did you come up with the idea of Zivame and go about with it initially?

    While I was researching the Indian innerwear market, as part of my role at SAP and Spencers, I came to realize that lingerie is an underserved category in India. Purchasing intimate wear in a physical store is an awkward and hurried experience for most women in India because of the embarrassment of having to interact with male salespersons to discuss sizes and styles. There is also limited availability of sizes and style as retailers stock only the fast moving products. Additionally, any sort of counsel on fit, size and style is hard to get from sales people as their priority is only to push sales. This creates a lot inconvenience and a less desirable and unsatisfactory experience of purchasing lingerie.

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  • Tell us something about Zivame and the reason you chose to call your venture "Zivame".

    Zivame is a leading online lingerie e-tailer in India, born out of a vision to ensure that every woman has access to quality innerwear in an environment free from social discomfort. Founded in 2011, Zivame was conceptualized to change the way women shop for lingerie, providing an inclusive experience that every woman deserves. Though the word lingerie is derived from the French word linge, we wanted a brand name that our consumers could identify with. Ziva in Hebrew means brilliance or radiance and Ziva-me implies ‘radiant me’.

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  • What drives you, as an entrepreneur and as an individual?

    Being able to fulfill a certain need is most gratifying. That thousands of women in India have now found a respectable way of making their intimate choices is a gratifying feeling and I feel driven to reach out to every woman in India and make them experience Zivame.

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  • Give us some insight on what urban Indian women are looking at from lingerie.

    Most Indian women have never shopped online and lingerie shopping online is a completely new thing for them. But once they make their first purchase they realize what a pleasurable experience it is. Imagine getting your size, no pushy sales staff, no embarrassment and a variety of choices all at your doorstep. We build our assortment taking into consideration the needs of Indian women. We found that a lot of full figure women were not getting their sizes in physical stores. Hence we introduced sizes from A to G cups. Woman want to wear shapewear to work and want to feel comfortable for 12 hours in them. Hence we introduced Brazilian shapewear that is comfortable and breathable.

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  • How did you address customer's have apprehensions about lingerie shopping online, given that fit could be an issue?

    We educate our customers on the right fit. Our Fitting Room has a lot of content to educate a woman on how to judge if the fit is right. Our lingerie experts are available on phone and on chat for consultation. We encourage exchange if the fit does not feel right and in most of the places we pick up the piece so that the woman is not inconvenienced. If you go by the “80% woman wearing the wrong bra” statistics in a scenario even when women are doing the lingerie shopping in person, then I would rather focus on building awareness and education around fit, than worry about offline versus online with respect to fit.

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  • Having worked in the brick and mortar retail space, how would you compare that with the e-commerce industry?

    The basic principles of retail do not change but then the channel is different, the marketing, service, delivery is completely different. The consumer insights are better gathered in a digital media. The brand interaction is also longer in this medium. For example, the customer does not differentiate between the logistics provider and the brand with regards to service. If the courier company does not deliver the packet in time, the brand gets a bad name. The consumer is also a lot more demanding and one has to think very frequently of new ways to engage with them, entice them to shop. It is a very dynamic space.

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  • What have been the challenges and fun during your early phase?

    Every part of a start-up phase is challenging and setting up an entire company, being bootstrapped was challenging. Getting all the brands on board without any money or network was challenging but I guess conviction in one’s belief is the greatest driver. Doing all the paper work to set up a company, getting the e-commerce backbone ready, taking customer calls, packing and dispatching at the same time was maddening. The fun part of it was seeing all the boxes ready to be shipped every day at 3 o’ clock.

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  • What led you to enter e-commerce with an unusual category like women’s undergarments?

    I have worked in the retail sector and am a retailer at heart. I got exposed to the lingerie category in one of my assignments. I was surprised to find that in the West lingerie shopping happens primarily online. In India, I realised that women rarely acknowledge lingerie as a part of their wardrobe and lingerie shopping is really uncomfortable. Researching a little more, I found that retailers do not stock all sizes of women’s undergarments, there is very little awareness and the availability is poor in the smaller towns and cities. Hence I began looking for a solution that transcended the limitations of physical distribution. Internet happens to be the channel and hence e-commerce! I did not think about starting Zivame because a particular category is hot or not. It was more from my belief of filling the gap in lingerie shopping and understanding that Internet lends itself very well to this category.

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  • What according to you are the future challenges for the company?

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  • What was your hiring philosophy at Zivame?

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  • Do you think a company should stick to one vision or path?

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  • What according to you are the characteristics of a successful startup?

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  • What are your views on the failures of startups?

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  • What parts of the company should the founder never let go off even after the company is grown?

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  • What role has luck played in your journey as an entrepreneur?

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  • How has your journey been after stepping down from Zivame?

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  • What made you step away from operations at Zivame?

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  • What would have been your experience if you had chosen to bootstrap your company?

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  • How would you advice entrepreneurs to approach investors?

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  • How did you build trust in your brand with the limited resources that you had?

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  • How should one evaluate the investors who sought to invest in the company?

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  • What advice would you give to entrepreneurs on fundraising?

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  • Do you think founders should let go off their CEO role and hire someone else who can do the job better?

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  • Did you face any setbacks raising funds as a woman?

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  • Were you looking for a co-founder or you chose to manage without one?

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  • Is your husband an investor or a co-founder of Zivame?

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  • What advice would you give to budding founders who want to raise funds for their companies?

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  • What are your views on the equity held by the founder after the fundraising from investors?

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  • How did your entire series fundraising take place?

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  • How much funds were you able to raise through your Series A investors?

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  • What made you transit from online sites to offline stores?

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  • What lesson have you learnt from your startup?

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  • Could you have done things differently with the money that was raised for Zivame?

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  • Why did you need investment of 47 Million dollars to start your company?

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  • How long did it take to raise funds from your first investor?

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  • How did you manage to raise capital for you business?

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  • What is your advice to budding entrepreneurs?

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  • How do you keep your employees highly motivated?

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  • How do you keep your employees highly motivated?

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  • How did you build your brand keeping in mind the customer perspective?

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  • What is your vision when it comes to customers interacting with your business?

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  • What costs are included in Cost of Customer Acquisition?

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  • What metrics did you consider to evaluate your business's performance?

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  • How did you take the plunge into entrepreneurship?

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  • What was your experience with a MVP (Minimum Viable Product)?

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  • How did you improve conversion through checkout funnel on your website?

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  • How did you build and evolve on your technology platform?

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  • What is your advice to entrepreneurs on digital marketing?

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  • Did Zivame work with publishers and display ads?

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  • How did you decide on your marketing channels?

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  • How did you arrive at your target audience?

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  • What is the vision of Zivame?

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  • How do you differentiate between pursuing a hobby and running a startup?

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  • What was your experience during the initial stage of Entrepreneurship?

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  • What pain points did you identify from the customer's side?

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  • What were the things you needed to know before you took a plunge with Zivame?

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  • What was your initial thought process while starting Zivame?

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  • What makes you a 'Superwoman'?

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  • Why should anyone join your brand?

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  • What dreams were you chasing with Zivame?

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  • How do you think Zivame is changing the world?

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  • Why did you build Zivame?

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