Fashion Startup Ideas Combining Italian Design And Indian Craftmanship

You may recall a project idea I've written about called Urja. In the piece, I explored the idea of creating a fusion brand with Italian designers working with Indian artisans and craftsmen specializing in different domains such as Chikkan from Lucknow, Tasar from Bengal, etc. This project, was designed to be a very large company, and hence the distribution and financing strategy was accordingly different.

Now I have a different lens on. I am thinking of small-scale ideas that will stimulate a thousand new brands, each focused on a specific craft, a specific style of customer, and sell through channels that are easily accessible and not very expensive.

All, however, would still follow the principle of enmeshing Italian designers and Indian artisans.

With this formula, I'd like to see new brands develop that each focus on one of the categories: men's shirts, women's shirts, summer dresses, nightgowns, blouses, home furnishings, etc.

Simple, elegant designs. Not gaudy. Not busy. Not overdone. Not too many colors at once.

Each brand becomes a differentiated, specialized go-to place for a certain style of merchandise.

There are also opportunities for differentiation in pricing. Designer clothing remains very expensive. However, I see these brands being positioned in the affordable luxury category, and sold online ONLY through e-commerce stores (globally), as well as through sites like Etsy, Amazon and eBay.

Some numbers:

If we choose a price-point of $50, and assume each customer will buy 4 items a year, then we need 5000 customers to get to $1M in revenue.

If we choose a price-point of $100, and assume each customer will buy 3 items a year, then we need 3333 customers to get to $1M in revenue.

If we choose a price-point of $25, and assume each customer will buy 8 items a year, then we need 5000 customers to get to $1M in revenue.

The merchandising strategy and the pricing strategy each brand chooses will determine much of how the brand is built, and how the channels are best leveraged.

I would like to see 1000 fashion-eCommerce entrepreneurs pursue this genre of opportunities with laser sharp positioning and a crisp, well thought through merchandising strategy each.

Photo credit:Michael Mandiberg/Flickr.com.