A Little Fable: Where Design meets Technology

Radhika Arora,  Co-Founder & CEO

Radhika Arora

Co-Founder & CEO

•With the e-commerce industry growing at a frantic pace, the segment is seeing a continuous emergence of startups every day. Amidst this burgeoning space how is 'A Little Fable' making a break through in the market with its unique solution?
A Little Fable Online Retail is a young and dynamic ecommerce startup venturing in two niche categories. Kids occasion wear with our brand name (A Little Fable) and our newly launched Women's Active and Leisure wear with the brand name(Studio Activ). Our strengths lie in our strong team of founders, two graduates Radhika and Smita from NIFT with extensive experience in designing for global brands and Tisha is a teacher turned entrepreneur who lives in Zurich and Gurgaon. She's the pioneer of Nordic Walking in India and a certified Rebounding instructor in Switzerland.

What differentiates us:
ALF and Studio Activ uses AI to determine customer preferences with our proprietary algorithms which leverage social media and big data to determine what products customers like. Our styles are based on customer sentiment analysis through our proprietary business intelligence system which enables us to predict demand for each style ensuring high sell throughs. We have industry leading sell throughs with >90%.

• As a part of this dynamic ecosystem, startups are usually subjected to a number of challenges. What are the hurdles faced by A Little Fable and how is it addressing them to gain stability in the market?
A Little Fable is about a 3.5 yrs old business now and fairly stable. We are amongst the first few apparel startups that are profitable in the industry. Initially to get visibility meant burning large sums of money in advertising. We chose to stay away from this and believed in our products to do the talking. We did raise some money and were lucky to raise some through a friends and family round and recently raised a second round through a Swiss Private Bank Investor. This gave us the ability to scale the business. We now look to scale through our partners online and retail. The focus is to grow profitably. Our Retail partners Iconic, Kapsons, Kidsberry, gave us the opportunity to showcase our products and we leveraged the online partners Amazon, Flipkart, Myntra, Firstcry to get the desired reach and deliver products to all parts of the country. Our own website attracts close to 1000+ users everyday. We are in the process of expanding reach with a couple of India's largest retailers. We are looking to scale to over 100 stores through them across India.

•India's leading kids wear label for occasion wear, what led to the establishment of A Little Fable? How did the founders come up about the idea of setting up this venture?
We had a team of enthusiasts passionate about design, passionate about being independent and driven to succeed. We wanted to make everything beautiful for kids and soon learnt that's not enough, what we think is great may not be great for our customers. This was our single biggest learning we kept listening to our customers and kept learning from our mistakes and
building products which our customers liked. We constantly challenged each other and ran into countless debates of what are the best business models and the best mix of products. Eventually occasion wear for kids became our forte and we believe we are the leading brand in this space.

Partnered with Iconic India and scaled to over 12 cities through them and is presently selling through 30+ retail outlets

•From kids party wear clothes to casual night wear the company provides a wide range of products under the label. Provide an insight on the variants of products available at the platform.
A Little Fable has run the business by operating in niches. Its our understanding and empathy with our customers which has led us to create the right products in the niches which has helped us differentiate. Each of our categories are curated with a lot of thoughtfulness of what our customers want. We now cut across Occasion wear, Ethnic Wear and Nightwear for kids. We have just launched our conscious clothing range of products which minimize use of poly fabrics and focus on sustainable fabrics which are environment friendly.

•How does the company ensure it meets its objective? What are the methodologies and strategies incorporated by it to attain its goal?
We are looking to scale our business through partnerships. We looking to work with large retailers and get exposure for our products so we can reach a larger audience. In the next two years we are targeting to hit a target of 100 physical stores through large retailers. In addition in 2019 we were Myntra's top emerging labels of the year which gave us tremendous reach and visibility. Our online business continues to grow through our partnerships. We are looking at a strategic alliance with first cry to see how we reach a larger base of customers.

This is our favourite part:
- Design Competence: Experience in working with Top global brands like Zara, Tommy, Gap, Nordstrom.
- Our styles are based on customer sentiment analysis through our proprietary AI infused business intelligence system which enables us to predict demand for each style ensuring high sell throughs and product availability.
- Highest sell throughs in the Industry @ 90% vs 65%.
- Lead time of design to production < 15 days. Industry average @90 days.

• Founded in 2016, how has been the journey till date? What are the key developments and milestones that it has achieved over time?
The journey is as exhilarating as it could be and is full of learning. We learnt more in these 3.5 years than we learnt in our 50+ years of collective experience as a team. To run a business one needs to understand all elements of the business. Just being successful in large jobs in large companies is not enough. One needs understanding of managing finance, operations, and customer care and product strategy. All elements need to come together to sustain and survive.
- Set up our first flagship retail store in Gurgaon
- Went live with online partners Flipkart, Jabong, Myntra, Firstcry
- Partnered with Iconic India and scaled to over 12 cities through them and is presently selling through 30+ retail outlets
- Started leveraging AI for our product design and built our proprietary system of product design through customer sentiment analysis which results in 90% + sell throughs.

• How has the company evolved over the years? Illustrate on the growth aspect of it.
- ALF started as a boutique store. Our first financial year revenue was Rs 10 Lakhs. We then understood the market dynamics and started building products that our customers were looking for. Our initial retail stores gave us tremendous understanding of our customers. We observed to get good quality occasion wear in the market for kids was very hard. All leading brands out in the market including large MNCs were all making similar products. You could remove the tag of one company's product and attach to another and not realise whose product it is. In this financial year we are looking to cross $1 Mn in gross sales.

• What is the future ahead of 'A Little Fable?'Tell us about the targets and plans that it has set for itself.
We believe in steady profitable growth and do not set unrealistic targets for ourselves. We prefer to run our business with discipline and keep customer inputs very close. We are looking to double our business every 2 - 3 years. As long as we do that we are happy as a team. With our new range of Studio Activ products we are looking to work on holistic women's fitness to empower themselves by living the Activ life. On the social front we contribute to the society as well. For every product sold on our own site we contribute a token to government run charities.