Jayanti Gupta completed her PhD in Statistics before delving into the world of ecommerce. Having worked in the pharmaceutical industry in the United States of America, she found her heart in entrepreneurship in 2012.
She decided to showcase the beauty of artisanal sarees from Bengal to the world, resulting in the birth of Parinita, an online venture that offers handpicked Bengali sarees that represent impeccable design, authenticity and excellent quality.
As part of our WomEntrepreneur Series, we present an enlightening interview with the very dynamic Jayanti Gupta.
How did you build your brand when you started off in this segment?
A: Initially, it was about gaining the trust of the customer, as we were the first online store dealing exclusively in handloom sarees from Bengal. Then it was about understanding what our customers wanted – as there are variations in taste across regions, age-groups, social background as well as seasonal trends.
Two years into the venture has given us a good footing in this space now. Today, the challenges are about maintaining the reputation of our brand and ensuring customer satisfaction in a sea of mass-made and often dubious stuff flooding the online apparel market.
Which is better, selling traditionally in a physical store or online retail?
A: The product that we sell (saree) is one in which touch and feel are very important to the customer when she makes her choice. I know I will never be able to replicate the pleasure that this traditional method of shopping gives her through an online medium.
Yet, the fact that I can now give her access to a large variety of niche handloom sarees at her fingertips, that were previously very difficult for her to get her hands on, gives me immense satisfaction.
How do you innovate to improve sales and the overall business strategy?
A: Adopting new technologies to improve customer experience on the website and using more innovative digital marketing techniques are what we do on a continuous basis.
We use existing data to predict customer preferences in order to be able to serve them better. Market intelligence helps us recognize new trends and drive the business accordingly.
Which are the new categories that excite you now?
A: My focus continues to be handloom sarees from Bengal. Within this segment, we now strive to get deeper and unearth more exotic patterns, unique fabrics, rare-to-be-seen designs, uncommon shades, and make all of this available to the discerning customer at very affordable prices.
Our diversity stems from the variety that we provide, and I think we have only touched the tip of the iceberg yet.
Is there opportunity for more women in this segment? Do you see potential for more women to participate in selling online apparel?
A: Most certainly. Any woman with an offline business, who wishes to grow her customer base geographically, who deals with seasonal clothing, has niche garments for special occasions, has expertise in regional specialties, or apparel designers with limited marketing muscle should try out the online medium.
There is very little upfront investment required to set up an online store, so is especially suited for first-time entrepreneurs. There is a lot of space for new players here, and one can grow as gradually or aggressively as one desires.
What is one tech gadget you can’t be without?
A: All I need is a reliable smartphone with a long-lasting battery life!
Your business mantra to success?
A: Be honest to yourself and to your customers – business, growth and success will all follow you.