MAR 26, 2021 | 20:00

Episode 16: Curating Fashion Forward Experiences with Sharnamli Mehra Adhar

This week's guest is the co-founder and creative director of The Pink Post Inc. one of India's most unique and successful curated shopping platforms for young, affordable, and homegrown brands to showcase their products to like-minded buyers.

How did you come up with the idea of launching a curated space for novel experiences where people showcase diverse brands, fashion luxury, and lifestyle?

Exactly eight years ago my partner Mitali & I realized that there were so many interesting & talented people around us, but they didn't have a platform to showcase their products, their brand, or lend their voice to the people who wanted it to hear it. We said, ‘Why don't we get these small homegrown brands together, provide them with a platform and connect them with the shoppers.’ It’s never been a better time for homegrown brands to come out there and establish themselves because they are considered no less than any other international brands in the market. It's time to support the local brands from your country.

What is on your checklist when a brand approaches you to become a part of an edit/exhibit?

Working with smaller homegrown brands is our essence; these are the brands who are part of our exhibitions or events, which have spanned across the decade. What we look for is talent, originality, providing the customer something interesting, and telling a story; which is the most important. Have a great story, a great product, & a good quality product. The Pink Post Inc. has always stood for affordable products, we've always stuck to that, we support small businesses.

What is your take on the rise of homegrown labels in the country?

Corona shook us all. Suddenly, we realized that talent exists around us, we don't have to pay an exorbitant price for it. There's been an insane amount of growth for homegrown labels ever since. I think people are taking the plunge! If you believe in something, just go for it. It's also been supported by huge voices in the industry, which is great. And of course, social media plays a big part in, putting your brand out there. And I think everybody's taking that plunge and it's just so accessible for everyone to get it. The consumers have also developed a sense of support for the homegrown brands, they believe in them, which is something that wasn't there before because it was so easy to just buy H&M, Zara, and move on.
Any tips for homegrown labels to market themselves better or tell their stories better?

If you have a product and you believe in it, just don't overthink it, get out there and put it out there because Instagram and social media are such a powerful tool, I would say tell your story because that's what differentiates you. Tell us your story about your personal lives as well because that kind of puts you apart from the other brands out there. You don't have to make 10-year plans that I'm going to be here in 10 years or five years. Take it each day as it comes and you'll see grow slowly but just get out there.

What other trends besides the rise of homegrown brands have you witnessed in the fashion retail space?

You need to kind of understand your consumer. There are a billion things going around. So don't be confused about trying to do everything. Understand your consumer, take risks and get personal building online communities. An online community for a retail brand is very important in today's world. Everything is online now & you have to move with the times, you can't be, stuck on one thing and not innovate. You have to innovate & I think a lot of brands are doing that. I think those are the trends just keep up and be online.

What has been your favourite The Pink Post Inc. edit to date? 

Every edit has been so special & the failures we incurred were also special. We always used to do amazing in Delhi but then we took the risks & went all around India. It was amazing to connect with people all across the country. The Bangalore shows were my favorite, but that was beaten at yesterday’s exhibition. The smiles on the faces of the brands, because they've had such a tough year was priceless; they couldn't believe that people came out & supported them, it was just something unreal.

If anyone's curating an experience across food, fashion, or lifestyle, what are some things that they should always prioritize?
So my main thing is to make the person who's walking into the door has made that effort to get out of the house and come for you just make them feel special. Now, what special in our case is giving them the right brands, your curation of brands has to be just perfect because nobody wants to come and waste their time and be cheated of that. So your brand ethos has to be very, very clear. As to the person who's coming, they have to be very satisfied with the whole experience. I understand. There's a need to kind of record every small thing, which is going on, and put it out there on social media, but think about what you're putting out there. And devise a strategy and live in the experience enjoy the experience, physically, because I guess we're talking about physical events right now. Rather than trying to put everything online at that minute. But my main thing is just to understand your consumer because they are the king in this case, and I know how much it takes to get up and attend something. it's a huge effort. And for everybody coming, me and Mitali always stand on the side and we noticed this one thing that everybody is leaving with something, it doesn't matter if it's big or small, but we always noticed, okay, she bought, she bought that. So you want your consumer to, not see the whole experience of the event as a waste. So that's our main aim when we try to do something. So if there's food or whatever it is, they should go and feel like we haven't been robbed of this whole experience. So you offer something innovative and unique at your event.

What are your top pieces of advice to brands in this space to produce better content?

Our social media presence has helped us reach out to brands & help brands reach out to their customers. My advice is to tell a unique story. In today's world, everyone's a clone of each other. An account I take inspiration from is Masaba, you have to show your imperfections because nobody's perfect. Nobody wants to see perfection all day as it gets boring. If you go out and show your struggles, your failures, and your wins, people actually believe in you. If you're always just going to show your wins, it's not interesting. As a brand, you should tell your story. Talk about the struggles you're facing, why you're doing this & get personal.

What went into the virtual edit hosted by The Pink Post Inc.?

It was a huge task for me to convince my team, I urged them that there are enough people who would want to come and shop online so we did take the plunge. The main ethos of The Pink Post Inc. is to never lose the connection physically. The virtual edit wasn't just a website thing that you come, you take three angles of it. It was me on the call, the designers were on the call & the people could interact with the designer. Customers have a lot of questions & some of them are not so savvy online. It worked really well for us. We did stop it eventually as it was time to do a physical event. But that said, it's a great model. We would definitely take it up again. If for some reason we can't do a physical event. 

How is technology impacting or enhancing the way that people shop?

Technology is the need of the hour! Personally, I don't end up shopping online from so many Indian brands because the system isn't that accessible. There have to be easy payment gateways, returns, and exchanges & everything needs to be seamless. A brand that can perfect these attributes will be ahead of the game.

What are your top three go-to clean beauty brands?

I love forest essentials & Kama. Also smaller homegrown brands like Neemli & Myglamm.

If you were to give three styling tips that never go wrong, what would they be?

Be comfortable because if you're not comfortable, it's going to show & don't overdo your trends. My second thing would be easy styling. You can never go wrong with tone on tone, the third tip would be to just accessorize, we always kind of forget to accessorize but a small investment in accessory goes a long way.

What are some online stores or brands that you constantly shop from?

I don't shop so much which is bad online for Indian brands. Because I just don't think they're there yet. I don't feel the whole process to be super seamless. For me, I'm a Zara and H&M person right now. I do shop from Revolve when I shop from Net-A-Porter but that's what I'm trying to say that these brands have it. They make it very easy for you so you're not scared to shop. Like Indian brands need to get there, they need to get rid of those 10-day dispathces, these things all scare the consumer. So if you want to become a full-on online brand, then you need to work on your processes. I do shop from Ajio sometimes they have a lot of Indian brands, but these are bigger corporate. So the systems need to be in place for Indian brands.

What are three things that the world does not know about you?

First, I'm a mother to a four-year-old, and I am expecting my second baby as well. Second, I was quite the nerd in school. Thirdly, is my advice to the younger people out there that don't take yourself too seriously in your 20s.

What are the three international cities you want to take Pink Post Inc. to?

The three cities we have chosen are because of the Indian population there as well because they are always looking for Indian homegrown brands. It would be London, Dubai, and Singapore.


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Episode 16: Curating Fashion Forward Experiences with Sharnamli Mehra Adhar