Custom tailoring went out of vogue only very briefly in India, while ready-made stores made their debut in the 90s. But it’s back with a bang, and entrepreneur Vidya Nataraj is convinced her latest company, Tailorman, is the next big thing.
“Nobody has scaled,” says Bangalore-based Nataraj in response to why tailoring hasn’t really become a national phenomenon. There are certain ready-made brands or small local tailors specific to each city, each region, she says. But until Tailorman, a company she co-founded, there was no one offering well-fitted bespoke clothes on a national scale. And certainly no one was online.
Nataraj believes in the concept of scaling. With a degree from Warwick University in the U.K., she briefly worked in the London investment banking scene before heading back to Chennai to work in the family business Landmark Ltd. – a national chain for books and lifestyle goods. That company was acquired by the Tata Group in 2007 and Nataraj went off to complete an MBA at INSEAD.
After INSEAD, she worked for Price Waterhouse Coopers in Chennai before setting out on her own. “These insights got me interested in setting up my own business,” she says, “I felt strongly about developing a specific e-commerce tailoring business.”