Interview with Deepa Kumar

Face2Face
Deepa Kumar
Deepa Kumar
Founder & CEO
Yashram Brands Unlimited
Yashram Brands Unlimited

Underwear for men & women for light incontinence issues is our latest
Yashram Brands Unlimited (YBU) was launched by entrepreneur Deepa Kumar in 2007.The brand reflects her passion to help Indian women with comfortable clothing during menstruation, maternity and menopause. In an interview with Fibre2Fashion, Kumar speaks about the initial challenges she faced while launching the brand and her latest innovations.

How did the idea come about? How did you begin to act on your thoughts and plans?

Being a woman entrepreneur, I am inspired by women across all socio economic and global backgrounds. My brands, products, innovations and inventions are all a result of my interest in improving quality of life for women and girls.

What were the initial challenges you faced while setting up operations?

I am not from a garment business background, nor am I educated in this field. So it was challenging to start off. But I guess that too works as an advantage as you are unaware of the boundaries. That helps someone push to areas where most would not.

What kind of market study went behind launching your intimate wear products (period panties and nursing bras)?

Every girl or woman I have met has been through embarrassing experiences due to period stains. Back in 2009 when I invented this product, no one even thought of solving this common issue. With nursing bras, it was obviously about competition study and market size and market potential.

What were some of the conclusions you drew from it?

We concluded that there was a gap that needed to be addressed.

What were the major differences in terms of usage between urban and rural women?

I think India is very aware, thanks to the digital revolution. More than the affordability issue, it was an awareness and acceptability issue, but I think most women are ready to spend on themselves today. This is both in urban and rural environment. Rural India is surely behind, but it will catch up soon.

Where do you source raw materials from?

We source it from across the country. We do import a few technical fabrics.

Where does the manufacturing of your products take place?

We outsource manufacturing to factories that are dedicated to our requirement. We have committed vendors.

What is the USP of your period panties? Are they reusable?

Yes, they are washable and reusable. I have a patent in India and the United States for my product that is valid from 2009.

What is the price range of your period panties and maternity wear products?

Period panties start from ₹349 and we offer special student discounts. Our maternity innerwear starts from ₹349 and nursing bras are priced from ₹495. Our maternity and nursing clothing range starts from ₹995.

Which markets in India do your products sell more? Is it only the tier-I cities or have your products found clientele in tier-II and tier-III cities as well?

We sell in tier-II and tier-III cities as well.

What are the priorities of customers while making decisions (rank in order 1-5 where 1 is the highest and best ranking and 5 the lowest)?

a) Brand name - 2                          
b) Colour - 5                                 
c) Styling - 4                                 
d) Fit - 3
e) Fabric - 6  
 f) Pricing - 1

What are you experimenting with at the moment with regards to your clothes?

We are a self-funded company that continuously innovates. Our latest offering is underwear for men and women for light incontinence issues. The brand name is Pristine Life and the product is made of three high-tech layers that make it anti-microbial, anti-odour, quick dry, absorbent and leak-proof.

How sustainable are your clothes in the present scenario where every other brand is going the sustainable way?

The period panties we make are washable and reusable. The incontinence underwear that we have developed will also reduce the amount of adult diapers and other disposable products that are getting used today. So we are always looking at reducing the impact we have on the earth. We also source a range of raw material from sustainable sources.

Countries like Sri Lanka, Bangladesh have marched ahead of India in the intimate wear business. What are the reasons of India lagging behind? What steps should be taken by the government to propel this trade?

India is a stable country and I think the world will be very happy to source from India. The government should make it easier for manufacturing in the country.

Will you be moving into any other clothes category like athleisure, womenswear, etc. in future?

We have no such plans now.
Published on: 06/04/2020

DISCLAIMER: All views and opinions expressed in this column are solely of the interviewee, and they do not reflect in any way the opinion of Fibre2Fashion.com.

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