India is one of the world’s largest textile producers, yet the textile industry is a largely unorganized sector in the country. Apart from the suits and shirts segment, a large segment of the industry is still fragmented. There is no easy accessibility or standardization of what is produced across India, both in native Indian handicrafts and modern digital or embellished fabrics.
However, things are changing now, in this new era of digitization in the post-pandemic world. Joining the fray is Jaipur-based Fabriclore, an online brand that aims to revive India’s use of traditional and modern fabrics by offering selected fabrics.
“We pioneered a digital path for a product that was primarily purchased through touch and feel experience. Fabriclore gave a new perspective to fabric purchasing with a one-of-a-kind user experience, ease of navigation, search, rich in-depth content and visual details in a digital platform.The company has quickly gained traction with domestic and overseas buyers,” said Vijay Sharma, CEO of Fabriclore.
Founded in 2016 by Vijay, Anupam Deo Arya and Sandep Sharma, the brand works closely with contemporary designers to co-create spectacular boho and fusion designs in clothing and furnishings. Fabriclore is a mix of traditional and modern design materials, where each piece of fabric claims to be curated with ultra-careful attention and precision. The fabrics are sourced from traditional craft masters and even traditional custodians, making them ideal value for money for design and fabric connoisseurs.
A problem that independent designers and boutiques often face is that they do not have a single reliable source for the development of custom textiles and fabrics. Fabriclore claims to solve this particular problem.
“Designers now have thousands of unique patterns at their fingertips and have access to more than 100 types of textiles and 30 types of craft techniques that are constantly adapting to industry trends and innovations. We also solved another problem for these designers and boutiques by eliminating the need to stock fabrics,” says Vikas.
In terms of products, Fabriclore offers ready to ship products such as traditional Indian fabrics, sarees, dupattas, stoles, suits, accessories, home furnishings and much more from all over India. It also offers a make-to-order service, a network of boutiques and a service under its “Project Label” initiative, a fully integrated digital platform to connect consumers with regional designers.
“We are rolling out this program from Bengaluru, followed by Delhi NCR and other cities in India, to enable designers to supercharge their labeling business both operationally and through consumer reach,” says Vijay.
“We are also actively building India’s largest online community of DIY and sewing enthusiasts, which has members from all over the world. Fabriclore only sells through its own platform and not on any other marketplace, because the type of user experience we have created for selling fabrics online is one of a kind and no other marketplace can do it justice,” says Vijay.
Helping artisans and traditional keepers
Over the past five years, Fabriclore claims to have donated an approximate Rs 14 crore business directly to the artisans they work with. “We work closely with traditional artisans and also have our own team of in-house textile designers and merchandisers who help artisans with mood boards, market insights and trend forecasts based on sales figures,” Vijay told YourStory.
“Standardizing quality, renovating traditional techniques for modern times and giving them long-lasting business continuity is how we contribute to the industry. Around 20-40% of artisans’ annual income comes from Fabriclore,” says Vijay.
Another brand initiative, “Project Roots”, aims to revive original handcrafted forms and make them viable for modern times through innovation and scale. “We work with all of India’s major heritage crafts and find ways to innovate by going beyond cotton and silk, and giving the crafts a flavor of new-age textiles,” says Vijay .
The availability of a wide range of fabrics and catalogs on a digital platform is Fabriclore’s main USP, maintains Vijay.
“Fabriclore’s competition comes mainly from regional stand-alone suppliers and some modern fabric-focused retailers. Internationally that would be Fabric.com and Joann fabrics, but we still have an advantage as those sites are more focused on certain types of western fabrics. Their strength lies in thicker fabrics, oriented towards Western design,” says Vijay.
After spending about 13 years in Abu Dhabi, Vijay returned to India and started his first business, in the oil and gas industry. He ran it successfully for about 10 years.
Co-founder Anupam started his career at Luminous India and Maccaferri India before joining Vijay in his first venture.
Sandeep had also briefly worked with Vijay before joining his family textile business.
“For us, the knowledge gained from previous experiences has proven essential in building Fabriclore. The very idea of people buying fabric online intrigued us and led us to found Fabriclore in 2016 with an investment of Rs 2 lakh,” says Vijay.
Fabriclore currently has a team of 82 employees.
Funding and monetization
Fabriclore has raised two main rounds so far, both pre-Series A. The first investment came in 2020 from the Rajasthan Venture Capital Fund, followed by another round in 2021 led by Fluid Ventures, the two totaling around 1.2 million bucks.
“We recorded revenue of Rs 12 crore in the previous financial year and expect to record Rs 18 crore in this financial year,” says Vijay.
Fabriclore has a dedicated sourcing team who, together with their in-house textile designers, travel across India, arranging different types of crafts and materials. It also offers its first experience studio in Jaipur.
“Our regional offices are in Bengaluru and Gurugram. We are actively working on starting a country office in the United Arab Emirates to address the Middle East market. Our business model is digital first and therefore our delivery is directly in line with demand from our warehouse in Jaipur,” says Vijay.
According to Vijay, the market in which Fabriclore operates has several overlapping segments, which makes the total addressable market quite versatile and huge. According to Delhi-based Wazir Advisors, the current ready-to-sew fabric market size in India is around $16 billion.
Vijay says it is difficult to break into the legacy supply chain and educate the industry on new, more convenient methods. “However, even though the market is competitive, size and fragmentation add to our advantage. We also have a first-mover advantage in the industry,” concludes Vijay.