The entrepreneurial bug bit him in the Big Apple. Every April, on his way to work, Manhattan banker Chirantan Guha Roy saw hordes of people queue up three blocks for the end-of-season spring sale at Dolce and Gabbana or Gucci. It set him thinking about the mass appeal of flash sales of designer clothing.
Then on one of his trips to hometown Delhi, when one of his friends insisted she was tempted to buy a Burberry scarf at DLF Emporio despite the R30,000 price tag, he promised her he’d get it for her at a much cheaper price from the United States.
This convinced Guha Roy and his consultant wife Elizabeth about setting up a business that would source designer brands for Indian buyers from the US at affordable prices. Elizabeth was herself an avid consumer of American online clothing brand Guilt by then.
The former senior vice president with Citigroup, who “worked in the same building as Vikram Pandit” in Manhattan, and earned close to $200,000 a year, returned to New York and roped in Jeetender Singh, his classmate from his days as an MBA student at Boston, to pool resources into www.voguemagnet.com with a seed capital of one crore.
The site, which went live in December 2010, competes with brands like Fashion and You, 99 Labels and Brand Mile.
Once you sign on, you get notifications on the mobile and in-box about discounts on upscale brands such as Gap, Dolce and Gabbana, Coach etc. “People are willing to pay R15,000 for a pair of D&G shoes or R20,000 for a Coach bag,” says Guha Roy.
Apart from a mild Dengue fever, which kept his American-origin wife down for a few weeks, the couple is glad they shifted base. “The investment environment is better here. There is organised retail and consumption is high. The business opportunity is enormous. Also, Delhi’s recreational facilities and infrastructure are world class.”