scorecardresearch
'Every child is precious': Why Dia Mirza backed this Mumbai-based kids-wear brand

'Every child is precious': Why Dia Mirza backed this Mumbai-based kids-wear brand

Greendigo was started in 2019 by Meghna Kishore and Barkha Das. It sells clothes for babies till the age of two years through its website and ecommerce platforms.

Dia Mirza is a strong proponent of environmental conservation and sustainability. Her focus on protecting the environment and promoting sustainable living is reflected in her investment choices. Dia Mirza is a strong proponent of environmental conservation and sustainability. Her focus on protecting the environment and promoting sustainable living is reflected in her investment choices.

The one point of commonality between investor and actress Dia Mirza and co-founder of Greendigo, Meghna Kishore, is that both their children had premature birth. And both were aware of the pain a mother must go through when it comes to buying the right clothes for a premature baby. 
 
“Some of the clothes have synthetics which have as many as 8,000 chemicals!” Mirza tells Business Today.

"Every child is precious and equal but when a baby comes into the world before he is supposed to, it requires special care.”
 
Well, it is not difficult to fathom why Mirza invested an undisclosed amount in the start-up. The brand has been making natural and chemical-free clothes for babies for three years and now it is all set to launch a special line of clothing for premature babies. This, both the women say, is an outcome of personal experience. 
 
And quite rightly so. The Indian kid’s-wear market is growing annually at a rate of 17.9 per cent, according to a report by Eurometer. Furthermore, kids' clothing provides an opportunity for brands to build a connection at an early stage that can potentially generate returns for a long period from a customer lifetime value standpoint, according to Anand Ramanathan, Partner, Deloitte India. 
 
So, the opportunity, as the numbers reveal, is massive. Greendigo was started in 2019 keeping in mind similar sensibilities. 
 
How it began 

 
Meghna and her sister, Barkha Das, had well-paying and ‘stable’ corporate jobs. However, Kishore’s infant daughter had a lot of skin issues. It was then that Meghna realised that the Indian market lacked enough quality clothes. Some of the clothes she bought for her daughter caused even more rashes, she recalls. When she went to Das with the dilemma, the latter couldn’t help agreeing. 
 
This dilemma along with a vision to live consciously and sustainably brought them together and resulted in the genesis of Greendigo. The baby clothes provided by Greendigo are termed capsule-wardrobe friendly (clothes that don’t go out of fashion). Greendigo claims to use 100 percent organic cotton sourced from farmers of Chetna Foundation in Orissa. Moreover, to ensure that quality standards are maintained, the entire supply chain is audited by the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), a body that does quality checks on organic textiles. All products by Greendigo are GOTS certified.
 
The manufacturing is outsourced from units spread across different parts of the country. Moreover, the Mumbai-based company sells primarily through its website and ecommerce marketplaces with Nykaa and FirstCry contributing the maximum to the overall demand.
 
Sustainability - the start-up’s USP
 
Dia Mirza is a strong proponent of environmental conservation and sustainability. She is the UN Environment Goodwill Ambassador and United Nations Secretary-General Advocate for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 
 
Her focus on protecting the environment and promoting sustainable living is reflected in her investment choices. Greendigo apart, she has invested in D2C personal care brand, Beco, and toy-manufacturing company, Shumee. Both of which are working in the organic products segments. “I want to invest my time and money in enterprises that genuinely care about the planet,” she says.
 
Mirza has her list of benchmarks that the companies have to meet to get her onboard. “For me, it is about doing a thorough check of all the aspects of an organisation. But I have to admit that doing a clean business is not easy,” she says, adding that the companies she invests in have to fundamentally align with the SDGs. “The SDG connection is a very big attraction for me,” she admits. 
 
And that is why she fell in love with Greendigo and its co-founders. “They are a carbon-neutral organisation despite being an ecommerce company.”
 
She further adds that Kishore and Das have put out all the details about the product clearly and with absolute transparency on their website and she wants to empower them on this path. 
 
What’s next?
 
Greendigo was started before the pandemic and it survived one of the most turbulent times in history. Kishore says that not going offline and just remaining online is one of the reasons. “The COVID-19 pandemic has been very kind on ecommerce,” she quips. She doesn’t reveal the revenue numbers but adds that Greendigo’s repeat customer percentage has also grown to 40 percent from 20 percent. 
 
While the pandemic is clearly in the rear-view mirror now, there is still a lot this new-age start-up needs to do. Ramanathan lists some of the challenges this segment is facing, “There are challenges from a retail productivity and marketing ROI perspective. Discretionary spending in the category is impacted by certain unique characteristics of this segment where the buyer (parent) and user (child) do not overlap, and usage duration is very short given the frequent growth spurts for the child resulting in quick redundancy of the purchased garment.”
 
Responding to the question of combating redundancy, Kishore says, “Our onesies come with foldable leg cuffs that can be adjusted during growth spurts. Our bodysuits and rompers come with adjustable snap buttons to comfortably fit growing babies”.
 
Going forward, Kishore is planning to venture into the offline space to align with its larger goal of becoming an omnichannel brand. It will venture into any product category which can be made from natural fabrics, the co-founder clarifies. 
 
“It would be arrogant to say that we are here to save the planet. The planet existed before us and it will exist after us,” Kishore says. 
 
Ramanathan says that growth for a stand-alone business in this space is tough, but the sisters are determined to do their bit and do so with utmost sincerity.
 

Published on: Oct 04, 2022, 11:02 AM IST
Posted by: Bhavya Kaushal, Oct 04, 2022, 10:42 AM IST