As Published in TOI on Oct 19, 2021
For Vijay Sharma, the call of entrepreneurship came at an odd time. A well-paid job in Abu Dhabi, a supporting wife and, two school-going daughters, offered him everything to lead a happy life. But Vijay was troubled inside. One day, a visit to the National Theatre in Abu Dhabi to watch Swades movie brought his emotions to a tipping point.
“I cried that night. Then my wife told me that I was 32 and I could take a chance. If it does not click, I can still go back to my corporate life after 3-4 years. But I cannot delay it,” reminisces Vijay.
He came to India in 2008, but Fabriclore took longer as he started an engineering company thinking that’s what he knew best. It was successful, from nothing to Rs 20 crore annual revenue in six years. But his friends in the venture, who also happened to be from Jaipur, pitched the idea for an online platform for fabrics.
“Textile has been a core sector in India and yet largely unorganized. Other than suiting and shirting, the large segment of the industry is still fragmented. I was not entirely confident initially and lack of awareness added to that. But once we went deeper, we realized the potential of the industry. We pioneered a digital way for a product whose price and purchase were mostly accepted by touch and feel experience. It gave a new prospective to buy fabrics online,” explains Vijay
Besides Raymond’s, Bombay Dyeing, Grasim, Arvind, and a few others, he says, there is no standardization of what is available in Johari Bazaar or Chandni Chowk and hundreds of traditionally handcrafted textiles across India. The venture gained traction both from domestic as well as overseas buyers. Vijay says they currently ship about 6,000 orders a month and have a lot of plans up on their sleeve to go offline as well. “Fabriclore wants to be the world’s largest ready-to-ship and customizable repository of fabrics” he adds.
Creating clusters of artisans across India, roping in strategic partners, entering custom-made fabrics, opening brand stores are key to his $100 million vision and he wants to reach there in five years. Fabriclore has already raised about Rs 6 crore from Rajasthan Venture Capital Fund and Fluid Ventures as a Pre-Series A fund. The Series-A funding is under development and slated to be closed in early 2022.