Hear Her Journey: How Sonali Lalvani made her way into the Entrepreneur Ecosystem|#IWD2021

International Women’s Day is a global day, celebrated each year on 8th March to embrace the achievements of women all around the world. Not only does the day raise awareness about gender equality, but also motivates women to make the most out of their potential. 

To acknowledge the #IWD2021, ANS Commerce, India’s #1 full-stack e-commerce enabler, shares the conversation with Sonali Lalvani, Founder & CEO, Toniq – Fashion accessories brand in India. From the struggles she had to build this brand to the one thing that motivated her constantly, you’ll hear everything as she made her way into the entrepreneur ecosystem.

“ANS Commerce strives to raise awareness of gender equality and bring a change in the society.”

Theme for International Women’s Day 2021 | #ChooseToChallenge

This year the theme ‘Choose to Challenge’ outlines the courage and strength to take up a challenge eliminating gender bias and inequality. From challenge comes the change, thus the theme motivates people irrespective of gender to spread gender awareness while choosing to take up a challenge!

#HearHerJourney featuring Sonali Lalvani 

To make women celebrate their worth with well-priced and beautifully designed fashion accessories, Toniq began its journey 10 years ago when there was a massive gap in the Jewelry category. But Sonali was determined and chose to take up the challenge, fulfilling this gap. Today, Toniq has 200 Store-within-Store and also building out their online presence to reach a wider female audience. 

Sonali Lalvani, CEO & Founder, Toniq, shares her journey as an entrepreneur with us. Not only did she face difficulties operating her business, but also lived through the judgements of many people. Explaining the challenges, she said, “Being a women entrepreneur and living in a fairly conservative city, Chennai, I have faced many issues. From the landlord refusing to sign the document without a male presence to the staff expecting a male to make the final decision of recruitment, I have witnessed many difficulties. In one of those instances, there was this priest during the Diwali Pooja, who got shocked when he learned that I am the CEO.” 

After facing such challenges, Sonali is trying to make her company’s work culture healthy and comfortable for women. Sonali said, “ We are taking considerable steps in making our workplace extremely women-centric. In fact, our current workforce comprises 70% of the women.” Practicing the aspects of gender equality, Toniq promotes their people solely on the basis of performance. “The workplace must realize that both men and women should feel safe to speak their minds”, she added.

For Sonali, the last year was very challenging as there was a strict guideline to close all the physical stores all across the country. But she didn’t lose hope and continue to scale her business online. She said, “Scaling up the e-commerce side of the business was my best decision ever as it has helped us a lot to boost our sales.”

Sonali Lalvani said she lives by the dictum – “Work today for your tomorrow.”

Today, our nation needs more women entrepreneurs like Sonali, to bring a change in the society’s patriarchal mindset. In fact, a woman entrepreneur not only motivates a woman herself but also inspires men of society to celebrate and embrace her passion and worth. “Women bring in a different perspective, and considering for us at Toniq our audience is women it just makes sense to have it more women-driven.”

Addressing all the women who want to start their own business Sonali says, “Do your homework. If you are looking at a business in fashion, it’s definitely not glamourous and the hours can be brutal. Always do it because you truly want to make a difference in your customs life.” 

How is ANS Commerce helping Toniq?

ANS Commerce is assisting Toniq with its full-stack e-commerce solutions. From providing performance marketing to brandstore tech to warehousing & fulfillment to marketplace management, we strive to support Sonali’s business by broadening the brand’s online presence. Inspired by her journey? Want to start your own e-commerce business? Request your free DEMO now! 

We hope that Sonali’s inspirational journey has motivated all the women out there. With that,  team ANS Commerce wishes you a very happy women’s day! Let’s all #ChooseToChallenge this #IWD2021.

Selling Comfort: How Secret Wish – A Lingerie & Sleepwear Brand Made Women Feel Comfortable All Day Long!

Among other necessities for a woman to live a confident life, there are certain things we can’t afford to miss on. At the top of the list is ‘What we wear”. Apparels are indeed an important part of our lives, making us feel comfortable and confident, particularly lingerie and sleepwear. While the former boosts your confidence, the latter gives you a goodnight’s sleep, balancing the various aspects of life. 

Initially, when e-commerce in itself was a new term, there was no lingerie and sleepwear brand online. Not only women had to visit offline stores but also had to compromise on hygiene. What was the solution to all this? Enters the Secret Wish. 

About the brand: Secret Wish

Secret Wish is India’s leading lingerie and sleepwear brand, providing solutions to fashion fit issues while helping women feel confident and comfortable throughout the day.

With an aim to sell chic & girly lingerie in the finest quality for women across the nation, Secret Wish was founded by Sushant Puri in 2014. The founding team of the brand includes Chandan Singh and Roopkiran Kaur Sandhu who helped Sushant build the brand from scratch. Later on, Sushant’s elder brother, Prashant Puri, came into the business as co-founder and started managing Secret Wish.

Secret Wish provides a seamless and hassle-free shopping experience with their direct-to-customer business approach, making it affordable and feasible for people to purchase. They have multiple categories including, nightwear, bathrobe, swimwear, and lingerie, under the convenience of a single roof. 

Bridging the gap between online and offline shopping

Female hygiene has always been a concern – given the fact many female-related issues are still not communicated openly. In the early era of the 2010s, buying lingerie openly was taboo. Not to mention, people were not much aware of female hygiene issues and didn’t understand the importance of supreme quality intimate wear. In fact for lingerie and sleepwear, there was a common notion of buying cheaper options. 

Not only women used to compromise on the quality, but also the whole process of going to a local market and buying sleepwear and lingerie was hectic. “We realized this social issue in the year 2014 and noticed that there are no nightwear brands on online marketplaces. Moreover, women were buying from local markets. But we were determined to bridge that gap between offline and online, resulting in the inception of ‘Secret Wish’” said Prashant Puri.

“Cotton and hosiery comfort wear were being sold in the nooks of Gandhi Nagar – a small district in Delhi. I thought to take the whole idea online as there was not a single lingerie and sleepwear brand on marketplaces such as Amazon, Flipkart, etc.” said Prashant. 

Overcoming the D2C challenges

Direct-to-consumer is an approach in which a  business doesn’t rely on the middlemen and sells directly to the consumers. The D2C model is beneficial for consumers and manufacturers as it cut down the cost of an intermediary

Secret Wish was one of the first few brands who adopted this – now highly hyped – approach of selling products. But before any brand begins with this approach, it’s important to understand the relevance of online. 

For a D2C brand, everything has to happen online. From managing accounts on marketplaces to managing traffic on the individual brandstore, a D2C brand has to keep a hawk’s eye to fuel the business. “Be it following the right standards to checking if the order dispatch is happening on time, it’s important to observe each and every detail keenly. So we had to go figure out these things while keeping a look at whether the proper quality is maintained or not,” he added. “Moreover, for a fashion brand especially in the sleepwear category, it’s essential to have a large assortment of collections. Mere 4-5 options don’t do the job, you have to maintain 40-50 different varieties in a single product category. But with growing demands, we became determined to improve our customers’ experience with valued services.”

Scaling business amid the Pandemic

The new normal times had been considered good for e-commerce businesses across the nation. To practice the mandatory guidelines issued by the government of India, people became more conscious and switched the traditional buying methods to online shopping. For Secret Wish, the unprecedented times have actually proven to be good – given the fact, people were forced to stay at home, increasing the need to wear comfortable clothes such as shorts, nightgowns, etc.

Talking about the trends amid the pandemic, Prashant highlighted the fact that people from both tier 1 and tier 2 cities came online, leading to a boost in their sales numbers. “More than 40% orders came from non-metro cities. Women who were initially dependent on offline stores, switched to online websites and marketplaces such as Myntra and Amazon, leading to an increase in online penetration.”

Finding expertise in ANS Commerce

Started their journey with ANS Commerce in 2017, Secret Wish became its full-stack partner. “Ever since we started with ANS Commerce we have seen an impressive boost in the sales. The rising penetration of online shopping and digital adoption post pandemic has increased our order volumes more than 200%, Prashant said.”

“Highlighting their warehousing and fulfilment solution, I would like to say that we have definitely saved the cost of warehousing and distribution channels. This money was used in brand visibility and marketing,” he said.

“Right from the moment we got associated with the team of ANS Commerce, we experienced incredible services. Be it their performance marketing solution or marketplace management or warehousing & fulfilment, I would definitely like to appreciate the entire team for their constant support,” Prashant said. 

Since the website of Secret Wish is fully-designed and managed by ANS Commerce, to explain the experience of the brand in brandstore tech, he added, “Not to mention our website is fully-powered by Kartify – their brandstore tech. Kartify has optimized the performance of our online store as it loads faster and has actually helped us reduce the cart abandonment rate. Talking about their refund manager – an in-built feature of Kartify – it has helped us process refunds faster with more ease.” 

“Moreover, we have efficiently overcome the challenge of account management and reconciliation on marketplaces with the help of ANS Commerce.”

“We look forward to continuing ANS Commerce’s e-commerce solutions and would recommend other D2C brands to seek their assistance as well.”

About ANS Commerce

ANS Commerce is India’s #1 full-stack e-commerce enabler helping brands sell online. We offer brandstore tech, performance marketing, marketplace management, and e-commerce warehousing & fulfilment.

We want our brand partners to focus on their brand and product and leave ‘all-things-e-commerce’ to us. We help brands acquire consumers, power brandstore, and jumpstart marketplace operations in no time. With us, brands can offer fast & reliable order fulfilment to your marketplace & brandstore consumers. Our extensive experience across product, e-commerce, retail, and marketing helps the brand achieve higher sales and stronger brand differentiation.

Having worked with 90+ established and challenger brands, we aim to help them sell on their brandstores along with 15+ marketplaces. ANS Commerce enumerates Jack & Jones, Vero Moda, Portico, Piramal, CEAT, Marico, Bath & Body Works, and ITC amongst its client partners. It is integrated with 60+ partners such as Fynd, Unicommerce, Netcore, Arvind, Delhivery, Increff, Razorpay, and many more to simplify e-commerce in India.