During her pregnancy, Ms. Sushmitha Lakkakula, the founder of CloudTailor, faced a lot of challenges regarding finding clothes to wear. This is when she realised this issue is faced by every woman in the country, giving her the motivation to try to solve the fashion and tailoring issues for all women.
Thus CloudTailor was born: a convenient way to get what you want by giving control, flexibility, and choice of creating your own outfit in a more efficient way with access to a personal fashion designer and tailor. And since women’s bodies go through a lot of changes in their lifetime, CloudTailor provides free lifetime alterations for all their customers.
In this interview with Ms. Sushmitha Lakkakula, she talks about her company and how it gives an avenue to women to enjoy the entire tailoring process at their fingertips, while sitting in the comfort of their homes.
How did you think of entering the world of entrepreneurship?
I pursued my Masters in Software Engineering from BITS Pilani, and have over 19 years of experience as a software engineer, where I worked for Wipro, Quantum, Dell and Quest. During my pregnancy, I personally faced a lot of challenges when it came to clothing and realised that the current ecosystem of personalised fashion is unreliable and filled with stories of hassle and inconvenience.
The idea was driven to address the challenges women faced when it comes to personalised fashion. I, along with my two co-founders, Rudra Pratap and Mahesh Patel, were aware that the need for personalised fashion is a multi-billion dollar business and an age-old business which can have a spin of innovation. We just had to find a convenient way of replicating this process and making it digital and familiar simultaneously, which we did as we knew that it is an Rs. 27000-crore market that can be tapped into..
What are the challenges that women across the world, and particularly in India, face vis-a-vis personalised fashion?
Women across the world face common challenges when it comes to personalised fashion: it is too expensive, not convenient and the process is a complex one which consumes a lot of time and the result is mostly unpleasant. Some of the customer pain points are unorganised boutique segment, constant follow-ups with tailors, cumbersome order fulfilment cycle with no tracking and no visibility, pricing variations for all customers, no quality control protocols, size alterations and lack of instant access to qualified fashion designers.
How is CloudTailor different from similar other platforms?
We are the only national player in India that provides online tailoring services for global women. We are operating on a Phygital model. Our omnichannel business model includes an app/website where customers can directly place orders with us through any of our digital channels. We also provide exclusive branded outlets where customers can also walk into and interact with our fashion designers. We are also setting up a SiS model where we are tying up with large format retail stores and having our kiosks set up to provide tailoring services at the store, apart from fabric partnerships where we are partnering with smaller retail fabric outlets to provide tailoring services..
How did you create the network of fashion designers, tailors and working professionals needed for the platform?
When we recruit at CloudTailor, we go a step further than just education and experience. Every employee represents CloudTailor and we recruit people who share a similar passion and zeal to be a part of something innovative and are aware that customers are the essence of our brand and our job is to ensure that each and every customer is happy with our service. We also have an in-depth induction process for all employees where they are not just inducted into their department but all departments of the organisation which ensures everyone is on the same page.
What are the kind of dresses you have created for your clients?
We create any style, any design our client desires – be it ethnic, casual, formal or party wear, we create it all.
What has been the proudest moment of this journey of yours?
We have won three awards this year and normally this is the proudest moment any of us can have. We have won the exchange4media D2C Revolution Awards 2022, the Star Retailer Awards 2022’s Best Debutante eRetailer of the Year Award, the Entrepreneur magazine’s Best Debutant eRetailer of the Year at IReC Awards 2022.
But for me, when a customer is truly happy, that’s my proudest moment. And I’m proud to say that we have over 40,000 happy customers from across the world.
Do you plan to rope in clients and craftsmen from Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities? If yes, how?
We already have our clients and craftsmen in these cities. We have expanded our presence by opening 8 fulfilment centres located in Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Delhi NCR, Pune, Patna, Ahmedabad, Siddipet, Tirupati, and Kochi. We have also launched our 8 Experience Centers in Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Siddipet, Tirupati and Kochi. We aim to open EBOs in Delhi, Pune, Gurgaon, Noida, Ghaziabad, Gandhinagar, Bangalore and Hyderabad by the end of October.
How do you see the idea of Cloud Tailor five years from now?
The Indian fashion market is at 27000 Cr. and growing at 12 percent year on year. The global market accounts for over 10 billion dollars.
CloudTailor aims to be the one-stop shop for all things fashionable for women. In this journey, our immediate plan is to open 500+ Exclusive Branded Outlets and 1000 SISs (Store in Store) spread across 75+ cities in India along with an international presence across 20 countries such as the US, UK, Australia, Canada and the middle-eastern countries.