Sticking to the name, trueBrowns is one of those few homegrown brands that focus on the size inclusivity made for the “True browns”, keeping in mind that every body size has a right to carry ready-to-wear clothes and feel happy and confident in it.
Founded in 2016, Gurugram, trueBrowns blends traditional wear in a contemporary style. Their unique combination of fabrics, motifs, colors, and silhouettes is perfect for any of your casual days or any festive occasions.
Abhishansa Mathur was in a candid conversation with Udita Bansal, founder of trueBrowns to explore the journey of starting her own label and handling it like a pro.
Can you tell us something about you?
I am a NIFT pass out, and my education has been in the Apparel industry. I was a retail student. My first stint happened with Shahi exports and I was working there for around 7 to 8 months, where I got hands-on experience on the export end of the business. Then I moved on and worked with Madhuri Fashion Lifestyle in Delhi for 6 to 7 years and there I worked on a lot of different profiles. From buying to retail planning to financial planning, marketing, supply chains and it helped me in having a better perspective about the overall business. In 2014, I moved to Gurgaon and worked there for a while. In the year 2016, I started my own venture trueBrowns.
Please share the What, When, & How of trueBrowns?
5 years back when I started trueBrowns, there was no go-to brand for young ethnic wear. So, I wanted to come up with a product that is close to our roots, but also contemporary in its outcome. So, from that perspective, the idea of starting trueBrowns happened. While we were structuring the product and our range, we wanted to have a size-inclusive brand. So, that every body size and shape is loved in the same way. So we launched our product in extreme sizes. I remember, our first launch was offering sizes from 2 XS till 10 XL.
Can you walk us through your journey so far?
We took small steps initially, and then expanded our point of sales. So started with 3rd party market places. Luckily wherever we went, the product did really well. The brand started to become one of the top 5 brands in different market places. This gave us a lot of confidence to move to the giant market places in the industry. We then expanded to almost all the smaller, and bigger platforms, and saw a growth of 50 to 60% every year. A lot of effort went in for building the product as per the need of customers, in terms of quality, and design.
In our third year, we started the official website. From the last year, we have been focusing more on marketing our website to get customers directly to us and focused more on customer engagement. We have 25% of the contribution happening through the website. So, we started with products, expanding it to 3rd party market places, and today we are getting a lot from the brand website.
What are some challenges that you faced while running trueBrowns?
The challenges of all sorts are every day. Whether it is marketing, operations, finance, product, or even admin, there are many. I think challenges make the way more interesting. But as we are tapping on the type of growth we are seeing, we have to make sure that our backend, team, and operations are strong enough to support our growth. Because due to the pandemic, we and I think everybody saw fluctuations in demand and supply. It fluctuated so much that from no sale to sale, became 3 times to what it was initially. So it’s a challenge to be ready both operationally, and with the team to support the demand and growth.
Give us some background on your sourcing of materials and manufacturing of the final product?
The manufacturing is in-house. We have a design team where we work on the designer collection we want to put in production. After the designs are ready, we start looking for vendors who can do that kind of fabric for us. From there the things completely move in-house. We follow a very short cycle of about 30 to 60 days to get the collection live. We really don’t follow a season. For us, a season is 2 months and sometimes even lesser.
What according to you makes trueBrowns stand out amongst other brands?
I think it’s the fact that we are a size-inclusive brand. Our products are available from 2 XS to 6 XL across the catalogue. Along with that, we also provide free customization on our website. Keeping the brand’s vision of inclusivity intact, we make sure that our products are easily available to consumers. Having a ready size chart up to the 6 XL is one of the biggest differentiation. Also, we have been able to provide designs that are minimal, yet extremely versatile. You can wear it on various occasions, depending upon your mood, and time, and that too with quality and with the size point that is extremely affordable. So I think this mix adds to the value of the brand that differentiates us from the rest of the brands.
How are you using Social Media to promote your homegrown brand?
It’s very recently we started using it in a full-blown way, and we extensively use it to communicate to our consumers about the brand ethos, what is the emotion behind the product. Also, it’s a great platform to hear what your consumers have to tell you. Whether it is through the pictures that they share or through their direct feedback. It’s a great tool to not just communicate your story to the consumers, but also a great platform to listen to them. So, we use it very extensively both ways. We have a mechanism where people give feedback in a very diligent way, and then we work around it to bring out better products.
What is your 5-year plan for trueBrowns?
The plan is to move into an extensive catalogue across more price points somewhere around Rs.1,500 to Rs.1600 but maintaining the product quality and trueBrowns ethos intact. We are also planning to explore other categories as well. The idea is to penetrate into the “True Browns” wardrobe through product categories and different price points.
Can you share your business model with us?
About 75% of our business happens through the market places, 25% from our website, and we have planned to stay online only at least for the next couple of years, and focusing on marketing through the brand’s website further.
One advice/suggestion you’d like to give aspiring entrepreneurs out there.
The first thing would be to act quickly because that’s the key to turn around things, by learning, and through actions, you only know how to move on to the next day, and how to plan the future.
Buy their free-flowing short-length palazzo and free-flowing kurta for an easy-going stylish look from trueBrowns.