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Last updated: 27 Sep, 2014 'Start ups can be successful even with limited resources'

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Namrata Kath Hazarika | 02 Feb, 2013
In an exclusive interview with SME Times, Suman Bharti, CEO & Founder, talked about his entrepreneurial journey and revealed about how his start up company became quite successful with minimum resources.

Excerpts of the interview...

Could you tell our readers about the kind of products you are designing and exporting?
Suman Bharti: is the seller of authentic steel-boned corsets. These authentic steel-boned corsets are designed at the company's very own design studio at Gurgaon, India and are sold in more than 32 countries across the globe. It is a part of the global fashion company Corset Wholesale Inc. has its own Design Department comprising of highly skilled and experienced corset designers and fashion industry experts. In an attempt to maintain the highest standards of quality necessitated by its customer profile worldwide, all the design ideation, fabric selection, finishing and quality check is done in-house at their studio & manufacturing centres at Gurgaon. Every fabric is put through series of tests to ensure to ensure that customers receive high quality products and complies with the stringent quality standards of About 280 highly skilled workforces are involved with a fussy quality assurance team in converting these fabrics to stylish, form-flattering and exquisite corsets. has a wide range of products, starting from fashion corsets to tight lacing corsets to authentic Victorian and Edwardian era corsets, prom corsets, bridal corsets, waist training corsets, Burlesque and much more. I have started this business around 2 years back.

How much demand is there in the market for such products both globally and locally?
Suman Bharti: There is great potential for our business. A Mc Kinsey report suggests that consumers worldwide typically spend an average of 5-6 percent of total income on apparel, but the figure is significantly higher in emerging markets. Indian consumers (in India & NCR) will spend more of what they earn on what they wear due to increase in disposable income. The fashion conscious Indian woman of today considers clothes as a self-expression and further urbanization of Indian cities will fuel growth for our business.Reports say that over the next 20 years Indians living in cities to grow by 300 million. Urban dwelling will give rise to aspirations and need for new fashions and styles to meet their lifestyle. In such a robust and dynamic environment winners will need to innovate occasions, looks, and wardrobes and that is what CorsetDeal plans to do.

Are Indian consumers interested about this trend?
Suman Bharti: India's fashion market is seeing growth and rising urbanization with a new class of consumers with more money to spend, and a growing passion for fashion. As the lifestyles of India's prospering urban consumers have evolved, their clothing needs have broadened, reflecting more varied usage occasions. My corsets are especially designed for women. Indian women's wardrobes have traditionally been limited to home wear and items for special occasions. Now, women are more willing to dress differently when they venture beyond the home. And that is my target audience, the discerning woman of today, who wants to look good, experiment and embraces the idea of fashion as a means of self-expression, and not merely as a functional purchase. More than ever, Indian consumers are experimenting with combining styles, as seen in the recent "Indo-fusion," boom, which mixes the silhouettes of the East with the comfort cut of the West. And my corsets are just that. They can be inner wear if you desire. They can also be combined with Indian traditional wear and western wear to create a fusion look. Apart from that Corsets have huge advantages for today's body conscious women. Obvious advantages are mainly aesthetic or personal in nature such as giving the wearer a desired look - fuller hips and bosom, smaller waist.  Corsets can also make a woman appear much thinner, curvier and noble in stature because of the effect on posture. There are also several health benefits to corset wearing.  They promote good posture, provide significant support for the back, and can even reduce pain and inflammation for those with muscular/skeletal disorders. Some large breasted women even boast that they receive better support for their breasts and less pain associated with the weight of their breasts when wearing a corset compared to a standard bra.

What else the company is thinking in terms of expansion of business?
Suman Bharti: We are looking at expanding in a big manner. We have plans to open stores in Bangalore, Mumbai, Delhi & Gurgaon. Just that these stores are not just for sale. We intend to couple our current online model with the offline model to create a new concept in the apparel segment. Like the Dell, our stores would be for showcasing our range of corsets. Visitors can choose designs from our store which will then be customized to their liking (design, colour, style, pattern & fit) and delivered to their home. A direct business model - where we will design, manufacture and customizes products to customer requirements.

Could you share with our readers about your journey as a start up and the challenges you have faced through out your growth and expansion process?
Suman Bharti: I graduated from the Pearl Academy of Fashion in the year 2001 and joined by father's business. But the artistic streak in me took me away to London and that's when I became a full-fledged designer. After 11 years of experience in alternate fashion and corsetry working with brands based in USA, UK GERMANY, I decided to do something of my own. A reconnaissance trip to the U.K., where I worked briefly to study the market, led to the discovery that corsets sold for as much as 200 to 300 GBP in stores. That is when I returned to India to start on my own. After returning back from London, I successfully launched my first B2B portal dedicated to corsetry in 2005 I began my career with just Rs. 25, 000 and a sewing machine. Initially, I did the entire end to end functions myself. In process, I learned how to work with minimum resources but to create maximum impact and profits. Today I sell corsets through and also gothic and steampunk inspired apparels through

From where are you seeking financial help to promote your business activities? Are you getting finance from banks at ease?
Suman Bharti: My business is self-funded. But it is not possible for everyone to replicate this model. Getting loans for business in India can be a very tough process. For a young entrepreneur it's difficult to raise money if you don't have solid financial backing. Hence, the government needs to create a strong ecosystem which can make loans and financial assistance for young entrepreneurs easier to come by.

How much is online retailing popular in India? What is your observation about the growth of online retail marketing platform? Does that attract buyers?

Suman Bharti: A recent study by Google and TNS Australia on the Indian e-commerce market shared that apparel and accessories segment is going to see traction in the year 2013. The study also talks about how the tier-2 cities will fuel the next growth for online shopping in the country. Reports suggest that we 2012 saw 13 million online shoppers; clearly we are heading towards huge growth and immense potential. A young nation like India where 54% of population is under the age of 25 will increasingly buy online. One thing e-commerce companies need to focus on is r&d and product development. Right now most online platforms are selling already manufactured goods. With due diligence and research we need to create our own products to take the online retail platform to the next level.

What is your expectation from the government for promoting corset business in India?
Suman Bharti: For manufacturers there needs to be an easy access to raw materials in India. A single window access to raw materials for young companies will be a value addition to products and make it more competitive in the global markets. Plus there must be regulations which enable that business can be done on convertible currency i.e. Yuan and rupee. These are basic things that need to be put in place to empower young entrepreneurs in the manufacturing space.

(Namrata Kath Hazarika can be contacted at

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New Business Model for SMEs
Vasana Chanlafah | Wed Feb 6 04:54:29 2013
SMEs normally suffered from shortage of funds,let's us have a meeting in Thailand to introduce New Biz Model for them. It should be solutions for them to strenghthen their financial within 3-5 years. Rdgs, Vasana

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