Buying lingerie? Here's what you should know!
Monica Anand tells Simki Dutta why she quit her cushy job to start up an online lingerie store and just what you should know about buying racy lingerie.
The booming online lingerie market is only set to grow bigger and Monica Anand, CEO and co-founder of Under Cover Lingerie is riding the wave.
Women's innerwear market is pegged at approximately Rs 9,500 crore.
Growing at 14 per cent, this segment is only getting larger with each passing month, according to advisory firm Technopak.
In the last few years more than a dozen start-ups selling erotic art, risque lingerie, condoms have mushroomed.
Monica Anand's Under Cover Lingerie is one such start-up.
An former banker and marketing professional, Monica quit her lucrative job to set up Under Cover Lingerie in 2011, with Suresh Gupta, a garment manufacturer.
In the pages that follow, Monica Anand tells us how she spotted a business opportunity in racy lingerie and her learnings so far.
What is the story behind Under Cover Lingerie?
I was looking for a wedding gift for a friend. We wanted to gift her something kinky but we couldn’t find that anywhere. That’s what gave us an idea to start something like this.
We wanted to create a brand that makes women feel unapologetically confident and sexy.
The idea was so compelling that I quit my job and gave my all to start it. Under Cover Lingerie is a lingerie brand and not a mere sex toy store.
Earlier there used to be only three colours in lingerie -- black, white and cream. Now, there are more options.
Even the audience is getting younger. The time is right and so are the people and channels available. This couldn't have been a better time for us to start!
'I feel confident and sexy' -- that is what we want to make every woman feel like!
What can we expect to find on the website?
We have fashion lingerie ranging from baby doll dresses, costumes, fun panties, silicon bras to even kinky accessories and lots more.
We keep everything except the usual lingerie one would find in other stores. We source our items from places in Europe.
We also offer assortment boxes which include hand picked lingerie for specific occasions. This is a boon for those newbies who are buying fashion lingerie for the first time!
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Image: Monica Anand
'A lot of our customers are men'
How is it dealing with Indian customers who have been apprehensive about this niche segment for the longest time?
There is a gradual shift in the minds of customers when it comes to buying lingerie.
We realised that they are getting increasingly comfortable buying lingerie online.
A lot of our customers are men.
They are shy walking into a lingerie store.
So the website gives them the freedom to choose exactly what they want and get it delivered at their doorstep.
Moreover, online presence allows us to expand our reach and cater to audiences all across the country.
What are the challenges you faced on the way?
We knew there was a need for fashion lingerie but at first it was difficult to talk to people about it and find out what their take is on this segment.
We tried to have a physical store but unfortunately it did not work for us. That is what pushed us further to strengthen our online presence.
We started this with our own savings so we had to break-even as soon as possible and thankfully we did and have been growing at a systematic manner since then.
What's trending in this space?
Lace and satin are always top favourites.
What is your quirkiest product?
There are many but I particularly like our handcuffs and pasties.
What are your future plans?
We want to expand the product line under the vision of making women feel sexy.
Currently, we source our products but we do hope to control the experience and product line in future. It will be exciting to start designing our products and we look forward to that.
Image: A model showcases Under Cover Lingerie collection
'Adding quirk and adventure is necessary to blow your partner's mind away'
Lastly, could you please give some bridal lingerie-buying tips?
Pick sensuous and erotic lingerie and nightwear.
- Sensuous bridal lingerie is an important part of any special occasion and requires attention too.
- For bridal, it is quite obvious that both partners may have expectations about the wedding night and making an effort to make it as exciting and memorable as possible is essential.
- Valentine's Day too is a great occasion to get closer to your significant other.
- Pick from a variety of satin baby dolls, net panties, lacy corsets. The right lingerie and nightwear are significant elements, which would surely mesmerise the man in your life and electrify the passion quotient.
Pay attention to your comfort.
- Women generally pick the lingerie keeping their partner's choice in mind, but the fact is, lingerie should not only provide you with sex appeal but comfort as well.
- If you don't feel comfortable in what you wear, you won't be able to live up on any of your special moments. So pick up the pieces keeping your comfort in mind.
Variety is the key
- You need to pack a handful of variety in lingerie.
- From backless, padded to silicon bras, and from regular panties to hipsters, g-string and c-string thongs, you must keep variety in your lingerie, to go with every outfit you bought for your wedding and honeymoon.
- These days, adding quirk and adventure is necessary to blow your partner's mind away!
- Pick from a variety of role-play costumes available online these days.
- Don't take these things lightly as these inner little things would help you sail through your wedding and honeymoon.
- It is not just lingerie these days; there are a lot of add-ons/accessories to spice up that intimacy quotient you are looking to kindle.
- These include items like handcuffs, nipple pasties, playthings, eye masks, stockings, etc. So tease away!
Image: A model displays an Under Cover Lingerie
'If you don't know her favourite colour, consider black or red safe options'
Get the right size
- If you already know what size bra she wears, you have just made your journey a lot easier.
- If you refer to our size chart to get a broad idea of whether our pieces will fit.
What's her style?
- Whether it's slinky and sensuous or revealing and adventurous, she will love you for thinking about what she is like and what she wants.
- And, having the confidence to choose well.
Pick your colour
- If you don't know her favourite colour, consider black or red safe options.
- You won't go wrong as both colours embody sensuality.
Match the set
- Never choose a set that doesn't match.
- Always ensure a complete look with matching hosiery and accessories.
Make it romantic
- Whisk her away on a romantic getaway and top it all with a lingerie treat to match the glamorous destination.
Image: For representational purposes only