When Bhavna Murthy of Coimbatore saw the latest 'it' bag by Prada in a magazine, she knew she would kill for it. But all she did was log on to the Internet and days later she had it delivered to her door-step.
The Internet is playing fairy godmother to small town Cinderellas, fulfilling their designer dreams with websites like 99labels, Desicouture and Brandmile selling international and Indian brands at knock-down prices.
The sweeping spread of cyberspace has made it an ideal channel for coveted brands like Versace, Gucci and DKNY to reach out to the nooks and crannies of India, the country often touted as the next big retail destination.
"Before Valentine's day, we received a big order for Victoria's Secret lingerie from a place outside of Patna. One of our most regular clients is from Bhatinda. In the small towns of India, there are plenty of people who can afford the brands but don't have access to them and that's where our website steps in," Ishita Swarup, CEO and founding partner, 99 labels said.
The websites or 'shopping clubs' as they like to call themselves, are the new play-grounds for the small town fashionista who has the cash to splurge and wants her dose of designer goodies without having to trudge to the nearest metro.
For naysayers who believe that luxury-brands do not have any takers outside the metropolises, the numbers tell a different story.
According to AT Kearney's India Luxury Review Report of 2008-09, the market for luxury products in India will be in the USD 25-30 billion range by 2015 and Non-metro India would account for at least $10 billion of that.
"Our clientele can basically be divided into three categories. The metros, the tier 2- tier 3 cities and then the clients from abroad. The second category has the highest number of members," said Nilesh Saxena, the director of the luxury portal, Brandmile.