How do you dress your bridal party if you’re planning an Indian wedding abroad? Anindra Siqueira talks to Akta Adani, founder of IndiaBoulevard, an e-commerce platform designed to fill this niche, to find out more
Shopping for Indian attire for a formal occasion isn’t a walk in the park, especially when the occasion is as important as your wedding. There are so many choices, colours, styles — and then there’s getting the fit right. Every type of Indian garment has a slightly different fit and not every designer is familiar with customising it to suit your needs. And, what if you’re planning an Indian wedding abroad? That’s where IndiaBoulevard, an e-commerce platform dedicated to making Indian designer wear accessible to anyone across the world, comes in. The brainchild of Akta Adani, the platform even acts as a source of inspiration for your bridal party’s ceremony attire. And, they even have advice and tips. If you’re interested in the concept of custom-made, ethnic Indian outfits, read on.
How did the concept of IndiaBoulevard come up?
I’ve been a Mumbai girl all my life, with a passion for fitness, numbers, coffee and shopping! Professionally, I’ve spent the last 10 years working in roles such as client services and business development for Morgan Stanley, Bloomberg and most recently for ZLemma, a technology startup in Silicon Valley. Even though I treasured my experience at these companies, I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit in me — something that runs in my family.
The idea for IndiaBoulevard came to me in early 2015, when I was in the middle of my own wedding preparations. Through the endless hunt for my bridal outfit, I always found myself making a trade-off between quality and price. The problems that I ran into were the high mark-ups, off-the-shelf designs and very limited choice. While I eventually did find my dream outfit, the experience made me think that this was a problem I wanted to solve. My quest for an affordable custom-designed outfit led to the birth of IndiaBoulevard!
What is it about Indianwear for global audiences that captivated you?
More than the audience, it was the problem that I was solving that motivated me. Having experienced it myself living in the heart of India, I slowly realised that the problem I was solving was more global. And, the model was proven successful by the first few orders we received from London and Dubai. Since then, we’ve had customers from across globe — from as far as the French Guiana!
You pick the designs and fabrics by hand. What kind of processes does this involve? How do you manage to keep things fresh and interesting?
Yes, we are all about making custom accessible. Our partner designers are talented and have a collective design experience of over 40 years. Right from the colour selection to fabric, our designers are very tuned to the latest trends. In fact, we recently launched a concept shoot around the 2016 Pantone shades of the year.
You offer custom clothing for both men and women, which can be confusing, especially when choosing online. How do you simplify it for your audience?
It’s a simple, three-step process — you select a design that appeals to your personal style, our stylists engage with you to customise your outfit and then we deliver it right to your doorstep.
Shopping is a personal experience, and we want our customers to have that personalised experience every time they come to IndiaBoulevard.
For instance, one of the ways we do this is to share with them sneak peeks of ‘the making’ of their designs. Our customers love being a part of the whole designing experience. Once the outfit is shipped, they receive it just as they envisioned.
What have been the biggest challenges in setting up IndiaBoulevard as an e-commerce platform?
With getting IndiaBoulevard off the ground, there were a lot of mixed emotions for me. I had to unlearn a lot of things that were standard in my prior jobs at Morgan Stanley and Bloomberg. In those firms, we had a structure and everyone’s roles were well defined. With IndiaBoulevard, I’ve had the pleasure of starting something from scratch and seeing it grow every day. From setting up the website and learning about the industry to working with designers and customers, each day I constantly learn new things and I think of ways of being one step closer to my mission to make designer wear accessible to everyone everywhere.