Small Indian Boutiques Go Online

Sheetal Batra
Image Courtesy: Sheetal Batra

Small Indian boutiques are using social media to spread their message and access newer markets. Instagram and Facebook have turned into an easy and cost effective advertising tool helping local boutiques reach their target audience. Not only does it help owners to grow their business, it also opens a whole new world of fashion for girls in the inaccessible towns of India. On the other side of the spectrum, it allows NRIs to shop for Indian clothes conveniently.

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Most of the local boutiques are run by middle-aged women who have been in this business for a long time. They say Facebook and WhatsApp have really helped their business to grow.  Many of them also feel more empowered.

“Wow. I am getting some great responses from people around the world. They love my designs and a lot of my Indian wear range has been a sell out, “ says Meera Jain, who runs an Indian attire boutique in Jaipur.

On the other hand, 30-year-old Anju Mehra who recently separated from her husband, says she has just opened a boutique to support herself. Along with her kids, she is using Facebook to send invites for a new clothing line every week. “I am happy with the initial response,” she says.

Many niche boutiques have come online, including Abiza, Olvez and Zari. Technology has given a global face to these local boutiques and their Facebook pages are a testament to the popularity of social media shopping.

Delhi-based owner Sheetal Batra is also joining the online bandwagon. She says, “I think it’s the global way to shop so it’s a great opportunity for designers to increase their client base.”

Abiza co-owner Hina Hasnain Singh says, “Social media has been our main marketing tool and clients who have shared our page or worn our outfits put pictures on Facebook. That’s how word has gone around.”

Today, it’s also easy to find happy buyers buying dresses online. One is flooded with Facebook and WhatsApp messages promoting products during Diwali season. This really enhances sales at the boutiques.

Avid online buyer Charu Takkar talks about the future of these boutiques. “Online fashion is the future. But the local boutiques have to think more on the lines of deals. They generally depend on one-on-one interaction and many of us don’t have time for it. Better marketing gimmicks will surely help,” she says.

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