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Buy, wear, sell, buy!

Abhilash Narahari, Palkush Chawla, and Aditi Rohan

Abhilash Narahari, Palkush Chawla, and Aditi Rohan  


Women who like their fashion fast and furious, now buy and sell used clothing, accessories, and footwear on this app, the latest from the Bengaluru startup bandwagon

You won’t be caught dead in the same dress twice. Wish you could get rid of ones that you’re bored of and have been lying in the cupboard, to make way for new ones? And make money from it? Never tire of shopping? If you’re dealing with such worldly daily dilemmas, you’re surely not alone.

But tapping in on this to create a new marketplace are three Bengaluru youngsters — Abhilash Narahari, Palkush Chawla, and Aditi Rohan — aged somewhere between 25 and 26. They have started Elanic, an app that helps you sell your “gently used” clothing, accessories, and footwear to someone else interested in it, and in the process de-clutter your cupboard and earn a few bucks… maybe for your next buy. (It also means you could get a Zara top at half-price even when there isn’t a sale!)

Anukriti Awasthi, a visual merchandiser based in Bengaluru was exasperated each morning she opened her closet. “With my ever-expanding wardrobe and ever-reducing space, I had no idea about what to do with stuff which I no more use, but is too expensive to throw away. For me that’s a mind-wrecking situation, and I’m sure it’s the same for every woman. And then someone tells me that they will pay me for my used fancy stuff! It unlocked one of my life’s biggest problems,” says this regular seller on Elanic.

It isn’t an easy business to do in India, where the concept of buying “used” products comes with a whole lot of baggage. “Yes, the major question was ‘are people comfortable buying and selling used products?’. If you don’t start now, when will they become comfortable? There was this mindset that used items get ‘donated’. But people today are more open to the idea of the ‘sharing economy’ and community-based buying and selling; many are willing to rent furniture,” says a confident Abhilash. “Basically people always want something new, and accumulate more at a lower cost.” He was working with ITC’s candy division before he set out on this start-up. Palkush was also with ITC, and Aditi was a fashion merchandiser. Elanic, by the way, derives from “élan”. The app is seed-funded by a venture capital firm.

Santoshi Shetty, a student and blogger, was planning a wardrobe sale, but didn’t know how to go about it. “Now all I have to do is upload the picture of the outfit and quote the price. This arrangement is perfect if you are a person like me who gets bored of an outfit very easily and don’t like to repeat your clothes.”

As of now, the month-old app is running its course in Bengaluru and features women’s clothing, footwear and accessories. They have had about 1,000 downloads on the Android-based app, and a little lesser number of registered users. Youngsters have been using the app to sell clothes because, Abhilash says, of reasons that range from — “I’ve only used it once and I’m bored of it already”, to “I’ve put on weight and don’t fit into it anymore”.

Predictably, it’s those aged 18 to 30 who seem very open to the idea, as their demographic analysis shows. “It’s mostly youngsters used to shopping on mobile apps. We saw that currently buying and selling used products is not very convenient. Many had hassles meeting strangers and there was no in-built trust,” insists Abhilash.

Shalini Priya, who works with an incubator in Bengaluru, and is now a regular user of Elanic, first wondered how anyone can buy old clothes, but then thought of giving it a try anyway. “The first Mango dress I ordered through this app looked like any other in the showroom. So neatly done, and the price…it’s like so reasonable that now I end up checking their collection everyday and add new dresses to my wardrobe!”

For a commission of 25 per cent, Elanic does what we wouldn’t like doing — they pick it up from the seller’s doorstep, take it to their hub, inspect it to meet the basic requirements, sanitize the product, and re-pack it, and deliver it to the person who has bought it. “We have a checklist that looks at basic product integrity — there should be no damage, labels should be clear. We do the laundry or dry clean for clothes, and we have a cleaning protocol for footwear as well.”

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Printable version | Jun 18, 2018 3:53:04 PM |