Hyderabad-based Sahaja Madhuri's Closet Punarvi is the new one-stop shop for thrifters
When Sahaja Madhuri’s daughter outgrew her beautiful pattu langas, she felt sad discarding it. On a whim, she decided to use her already-flourishing two-year-old YouTube channel - which has over 77K subscribers and 200 videos - to help her ensure the garment gets to the right hands. She lives in Charlotte in the US and wasn’t sure the ethnic Indian garment would be picked up by anyone. To her surprise, the YouTube haul she did showcasing her daughter’s clothes turned out to be a hit and she could sell 80 of her ensembles within a short span.
That’s what prompted Sahaja Madhuri Kalidindi to think of this concept more seriously which led Closet Punarvi - a thrift and consignment e-retail outlet. “Punarvi means ‘reborn’ and this Instagram page was started with the thought of giving a new lease of life to unused clothes and encouraging sustainability. Weavers, tailors and designers put in a tremendous amount of work into creating an outfit and trends change so fast that so many of these outfits are hardly worn once. We enjoy buying new clothes and dressing according to the latest fashion trends. But because of that closets and cupboards get filled and we start hoarding because we have no one to give away our clothes to. I wanted to start a platform that enables these beautifully-designed clothes to have a second chance,” says this techie who says that her page and her work are popular back in Hyderabad too.
ALSO READ: Trends: Pre-owned ensembles, Instagram thrifting and upcycling in India achieve a new high in 2020
This Hyderabadi entrepreneur believes that to be able to find a concept that is a win-win for all has been the gamechanger. “The concept is simple. We all spend a lot of our resources buying clothes and then we outgrow them, it hurts to discard them. Closet Punarvi encourages people to put up their pre-loved clothes (a better and acceptable name for old or used clothes) for sale and let others who love buying them. There is a courier charge involved and Punarvi makes 12 per cent of the sale towards its own maintenance costs,” she says.
Her Instagram page started on November 14 last year and several thrifters and pre-loved fashionistas have liked the project. The page hit 10k within six days. “I decided to create a platform and started on Instagram. We now have 17K followers with a big chunk from Hyderabad. We managed to sell over 500 outfits in the last three months,” she says. She gives credit to her team members - comprising Sindhura Kondapally, Sharmi Vegesana, Sangavi, Manasa Vaidya, Askhata and Vishnu - for patiently sifting through the photos and videos to be able to do justice to both the buyer and seller.
As the shipping prices are exorbitant, the page encourages everyone to send hi-resolution photos and videos of the garments. The team then pores over every garment to ensure there is no stain or wear and tear. They also make sure the outfits are not out of fashion and then they upload it on the page. Once a buyer chooses it, it is then couriered to them and then the seller gets the money. “There is a huge potential for this concept and we are shortly starting a website with payment gateways to expedite this process,” she adds. “My husband Ganesh and I decided that a website is a better option as buyers can upload their ware and sellers can check it out right here."
Madhuri says that ensuring clothes reach them on time without shipment deliveries is crucial and the website will make it all more professional. “Once the outfits are posted, most of the time they instantly sell out and we have the sellers ship out the outfits and once the buyers receive the outfits and send us positive feedback, we process the seller’s payment. This way both parties have a secure transaction and their identities are kept as anonymous as possible. And all the shopping can be done from the confines of your homes,” she says.
The label has sold 500 outfits so far
Only clothes in impeccable condition and those that are trendy can be sold