Meet Richa Kar: The Woman Behind Zivame, Acquired by Mukesh Ambani

Success Story of Richa Kar

Richa Kar, the founder of Zivame, India’s largest online lingerie store, is an inspiration to many.

Her story is considered one of India’s rare entrepreneurial success stories and an example of how a great idea can lead to significant changes in society.

Kar faced many challenges, including cultural stigma around lingerie, opposition from her family, and changing buying habits.

However, her determination and belief in her vision helped her overcome these obstacles and make Zivame a success.

Early Life And Education:

Born on July 17, 1980, in Jamshedpur, India, Richa Kar hails from a traditional family. Currently, she is 42 years old, and her hometown is Northville, Michigan, in the United States.

Richa Kar has an impressive educational background: She completed her schooling at Loyola School in Jamshedpur.

She earned a Bachelor’s degree in Engineering from BITS Pilani and later pursued a postgraduate diploma in Management from SVKM’s Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies (NMIMS) in 2007.

Her strong educational foundation, particularly in engineering and management, laid the groundwork for her successful entrepreneurial journey with Zivame.

Birth Of Zivame:

Richa Kar was inspired to start Zivame due to her own experiences with lingerie shopping in India.

She noticed a lack of options and privacy in traditional brick-and-mortar stores, making it difficult for women to find lingerie that fit well and made them feel comfortable and confident.

Kar saw an opportunity to create a better shopping experience for women by leveraging the power of e-commerce, which would provide more options, privacy, and convenience, and promote healthy attitudes towards women’s bodies and sexuality.

Zivame is a made-up word, meaning “radiant me.” In Hebrew, “Ziva” means “residence,” and Richa added “me” to it for a personal touch.

Richa’s mother played the role of a nurturer, providing a support system for her daughter.

Initially, she objected to Richa’s plan to sell animated apparel but later revealed that it was the right business for her daughter.

She even offered her savings to help Richa start her own company.

With the help of loved ones and friends, Richa raised 35 lakh to launch her company, Zivame, in 2011.

Overcoming cultural barriers:

Kar’s parents and relatives were against her opening a lingerie brand due to societal constraints.

However, she focused on developing in-house brands and personally oversaw the design, manufacture, and supply of the innerwear.

Expanding the business:

As Zivame’s online platform gained popularity, Kar decided to expand her business by setting up physical stores called Zivame Studios in 2016.

This move enabled Zivame to reach customers in tier 2 and tier 3 cities across India.

Customer satisfaction:

Kar’s dedication to customer satisfaction continues to inspire and make a difference in the lives of many.

Net Worth And Company Valuation:

In 2017, Richa stepped down as CEO of the company, but she maintains her position on the board of directors and has retained equity in the company. According to sources, Richa Kar’s net worth is 749 crores.

According to the most recent reports, Zivame’s current valuation is estimated to be around $200 million (over Rs 1600 crore). This valuation was reached following a fundraising round in 2020.

Zivame gained the attention of investors. It raised $3 million in funding in May 2012 and then raised $6 million in December 2013.

In 2015, Zivame raised $40 million in its Series C funding round, valuing the company at over $100 million. However, its 2018 revenue was reported to be $12.2 million.

After being acquired by Reliance, Zivame has been expanding its offline presence, aiming to achieve a 50:50 online-offline revenue ratio from the current 60:40.

The company has also adopted strategies like shifting manufacturing to domestic facilities and leveraging technology to enhance the shopping experience and reduce customer acquisition costs.

Reliance Retail eventually acquired Zivame for a multi-million dollar deal, and the company now has a yearly revenue of over Rs 100 crore.

Impact Of Zivame on the India lingerie market:

Zivame has had a significant impact on the lingerie market in India since its inception in 2011:

  • Revolutionized the lingerie shopping experience by providing women with more privacy, convenience, and a wider selection of options through its online platform. This was especially impactful in a society where discussing intimate wear openly was considered taboo.
  • Promoted body positivity and healthy attitudes toward women’s bodies and sexuality through its new brand identity and tagline “Love Yourself Inside Out”.
  • Expanded the market by reaching customers in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities, where 42% of its sales now come from. This was enabled by its omnichannel strategy of complementing online sales with physical retail outlets.
  • Introduced many industry-first innovations like saree shapewear to cater to the needs of modern Indian women.
  • Grew the online lingerie market in India, which is estimated to have a CAGR of 10.37% between 2022-2027, reaching a market size of $463.35 billion. Zivame’s digital platform accounts for 90% of its revenue, with demand from Tier 3 and 4 cities growing over 50% YoY.

Zivame has been a pioneer in reshaping the lingerie market in India by providing a better shopping experience, promoting body positivity, expanding reach, and driving innovation. It has played a key role in the growth of the online lingerie segment in the country.

Also Read: Meet the IT professional turned Ayurvedic Baby Care Entrepreneur at BabyOrgano, with Rs. 6 crore in revenue.

Muskan, a passionate storyteller and social media manager at Startup Forte. With a talent for sharing impactful founder stories, she invites you to explore inspiring journeys with us.

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