Please Tell Us About Yourself
In a word, I would call myself creative. Since school, I have always jumped at opportunities that included any form of artistic expression.
But on a more formal note, I have done my Graduation in Commerce and Postgraduate in Marketing and HR. Of course, through it all, it was my need for a creative expression that sustained me.
I also don’t shy away from opportunities that come my way. While I was running Yuvanta, I also got a chance to head the setup of an after-school academy in Calicut, which is where I am from and where Yuvanta is currently based. It also called out strongly to me because I was working on bringing a creative medium of expression to children – drama, dance, singing etc. along with exposure to adventure sports.
Sneha Prabeen – Founder
Tell Us About Your Startup Yuvanta And Its Journey?
Yuvanta was given a name in July 2014. However, I conceptualized the brand two years before while I was on a year-long break preparing for my post-graduation entrance exams.
Of course, my first few months were spent entirely on learning techniques of jewellery design and building my expertise. I loved beads, therefore I knew Yuvanta’s focus was going to be beaded jewellery. But I was also hungry to bring something new onto the table.
By this time, the idea of creating a beaded bra strap had taken root in my head. We tested the product that year at a flea market in Bangalore, and it was a runaway success. Since then, there has been no looking back. The beaded bra strap became what defined Yuvanta. It became the most loved and sought-after product because we learned that women had an emotion connect towards it. Being present in multiple flea markets paved the way for us to create a brand name. We have had many of our amazing customers come back to buy more straps for themselves, or their friends or even just to say hi! Seeing the excitement of girls and women when they see Yuvanta’s products (especially the beaded bra straps) is always our biggest highlight in every exhibition we are at.
Having seen all this success at flea markets, we wanted to go bigger.
We got spellbound to see our openings at the most unexpected places! Thanks to our great connection, we had with one of our customers at a flea market. We also got an opportunity to collaborate with a leading international lingerie brand to provide a massive number of Yuvanta’s beaded bra-straps for a campaign they were running.
Of course, all this good fortune also meant that I had to play smart. Hence, we procured an industrial design patent for beaded lingerie straps to protect Yuvanta in 2018.
In 2019, we also expanded our online presence by putting up our merchandise on Amazon, although the selection is not as wide as that in Yuvanta’s online store. Its been quite a journey for Yuvanta and love every minute of it.
How Has Yuvanta Become A Game-Changer In The Lingerie Market?
Women for ages have got nudged to put their bra straps to its place, as it was considered unsophisticated, shameful and would defy her feminine image. Although it is meant to be invisible, it always manages to stand out like a sore thumb. Personally, I use to hate the available plastic bra strap in the market and wanted to change that awkwardness created by the visible bra strap. So, my question was – why not create something that REALLY stands out and adds beauty to one’s outfit? I set to work on it.
Now with Yuvanta’s beaded strap, women get their confidence and the freedom to not worry about an essential piece of clothing, being seen.
And I do believe that it is a game-changer because of the sheer crowd in front of the tables that have bra straps exhibited on them. We also see older women expressing shock, moving into surprise and then being a little downcast because they didn’t have this option when they were younger. To which we say, is it ever too late?
We’ve also seen a lot of interest from men who want to buy it for their women. Even when a woman is shy to pick it up herself, we see a man pushing her to get it. I think it’s amazing that we live in a time when women have all the opportunities to lose their inhibitions and I am proud that Yuvanta is one option for the same!
Being A Female Entrepreneur, What Challenges Bumped Your Road To Success.
Firstly, I think it’s time for us to lose the tag of being a “female” entrepreneur. As an entrepreneur, I have faced a lot of challenges along the road and these challenges were nothing but lessons to learn. The first and common challenge was to get quality work done without being cheated. One of my biggest lessons was when my first vendor cheated me. I had visited his place in UP, met with the family, placed my orders and paid for them in full and I ended up with some low-quality beads that were very different from what I ordered. It was a big lesson on purchasing. I also got scammed by people, but now I know the nitty-gritty of the setup of a company.
As a startup, managing financing was a big challenge because being a bootstrapped startup everything is done at my end only. But these challenges only added to my skills, and now I have taught myself so many skills that are adding value to my personal development as well – photography, photoshop, building websites.
One of our current challenges, especially during the COVID time has been the complete lack of personal connection. We get that through flea market sales and we find them the most favourable form of sales because our customers can get the feel of the strap against their skin, meet us in person and build a connection, which is so much more gratifying than online sales.
How Do You Plan To Cater to The Indian Lingerie Market?
Yuvanta’s focus right now is to show the world that one’s bra straps can also be used as a fantastic accessory! With the Indian market, we do have some challenges. But I have to admit, things are changing quite fast, so I do have hope. The biggest challenge right now is our culture itself. In a lot of places, it’s still quite the norm to hide the fact that women wear bras for some reason. So, an eye-popping beaded bra strap can be quite the scandal. But We do see a lot of parents buying straps for their daughters, so we see that times are changing and it’s only going to keep changing for the better.
Which International Lingerie Brand Has Collaborated With You And How?
Since I have to maintain confidentiality, I’ll refrain from naming it. However, we manufactured 11000 straps for the brand in a span a few months. All this from a quick connect at a flea market. The world is indeed your oyster!
In The Next 5-10 Years, Where Do You See Yourself As A Brand?
I have 3 focal points. One, I see Yuvanta being available in all fashion /lingerie e-commerce websites. Second, we want to get started on an offline model for Yuvanta in the form of kiosks, pan India. And third, which is a culmination of all that is to be a brand that empowers women.
Any Piece Of Information That You Would Like To Share With The Readers?
If you are passionate about your idea, then you should give it a try to see if it can be leveraged in business. Give it a shot you never know if it will work out for you. Yuvanta surprised me in more ways than one can, and I’m always grateful for having believed in it. So, believe in yourself and do it. The worst-case scenario is that you may fail, but at least you will have the satisfaction that you tried. And best-case scenario is that you would succeed. That should be a good enough motivation.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not represent those of Diggaj Media. The pictures are provided by the author and are not authorized to be used by anyone else.