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Fashion Talk

Rimjhim and Ketan Jaggi

Founders
Label - SASSAFRAS

We believe that innovation is the only key to survival

India-based fashion label SASSAFRAS, founded by Rimjhim and Ketan Jaggi, is known for its versatile and jazzy collection, and is dedicated to the free-spirited youth of today. In an interview with Fibre2Fashion, the Co-founders talk about the vibe of their collection, the retail fashion industry of India, and their predictions regarding fashion trends for 2023.

Fibre2Fashion: What sparked your interest in the fashion business and inspired you to launch your own brand?

Rimjhim and Ketan Jaggi:

Rimjhim Jaggi: As a fashion student and enthusiast myself, I always struggled to find one specific brand that offered me everything from great designs to a wide variety of fabrics along with affordability. With that idea in mind and having worked in the fashion industry for over 10 years, we started the brand SASSAFRAS in 2015 with a commitment to provide the young women of India clothes that offered the perfect mix of ease, style, and affordability.

 

F2F: SASSAFRAS is a very unique name for a brand. What is the story behind it?

RAKJ:

Rimjhim Jaggi: SASSAFRAS is actually the name of a tree that is commonly found in the US. The tree has three different types of leaves that are very distinct due to their rounded edges and lobed shape. Its leaves, bark, and roots give off a sweet, spicy scent when crushed that is reminiscent of root beer, vanilla, and oranges. Sassafras extract has been used for centuries in beverages, food, medicines, and perfumes. When we came across this name, we instantly fell in love with it and the history behind its unique properties. That’s how we decided to launch our fashion line with this name.

F2F: How do you balance your personal and professional lives as a married couple?

RAKJ:

Rimjhim Jaggi: Having known each other for almost 20 years, married for 12 and now being in the same business for over 7 years, we understand each other’s strengths and needs very well. We have divided our strength areas very strategically. While I look after product development, designing, and sourcing, Ketan heads the marketing, finance, and operations. Even though it is quite hard given our hectic schedules, we consciously try our best to balance our personal and professional lives by spending most of our evenings and weekends with our families and of course with each other. Once in every few months, we make it a point to go on holidays and road trips with our kids to spend uninterrupted quality time with them. It’s a continuous struggle, but we do make it a point to put in our best efforts towards maintaining a balance.

F2F: How would you describe the vibe and style of your collections?

RAKJ:

Rimjhim Jaggi: The vibe and style of our collections is very defiant, fresh, and young. Our collections are aimed to reach out to women who have an edgy aesthetic and are not afraid to make risky wardrobe choices. Being in the fast fashion business and catering to the mass premium consumer segment, we are always working towards offering a certain freshness to our customers. Every month we introduce some 300 new styles across 4-5 different themes that are either the most popular trends or are the need of the season.

F2F: How did you manage to create such a versatile collection and price it so affordably?

RAKJ:

Ketan Jaggi: Versatility and affordability have been our main goals since the beginning of our journey at SASSAFRAS. We strive very hard to offer both to our customers so that they keep coming back to us for all their fashion needs. Over the years, we have scaled our sourcing and manufacturing capabilities in a manner that we are consistently able to mass produce our range keeping in mind the latest trends and needs of customers. This capability along with our passion and understanding of fashion has made us offer such a wide range at incredible prices.

F2F: What is your take on India’s retail fashion industry and how has it changed over time?

RAKJ:

Ketan Jaggi: India’s retail fashion industry has undergone major changes since the boom in e-commerce and technology in recent years, and it is going to get only better from here. The online boom has enabled young entrepreneurs, designers, and artists to showcase their work to a wider audience. This also helps the industry to grow at a very fast pace, creating many jobs and opportunities for young Indians. More than 50 per cent of India’s population is below the age of 25 and more than 65 per cent below the age of 35, which makes the Indian market potentially lucrative—comprising young shoppers who are highly driven by technology, gadgets, and the internet. From being a market traditionally completely driven by brick-and-mortar stores until 10 years ago, India’s retail sector has undergone a radical transformation with online retail penetration expected to touch 12 per cent by 2024 compared to only 4 per cent in 2019.

F2F: What types of marketing strategies—both digital and traditional—does your company use to increase brand awareness and reach?

RAKJ:

Ketan Jaggi: Since we started out as an online marketplace brand—now also we focus on our D2C business—we strongly believe and invest in digital marketing. Our marketing and brand awareness activities are on platforms that bring high-volume traffic like Myntra, Instagram, and Google. We are also highly focused on building our brand using influencer marketing, which helps us bring new customers and create brand awareness.

F2F: With the influx of so many fashion brands, what is it that sets your brand apart from the crowd?

RAKJ:

Ketan Jaggi: We strongly believe that innovation is the only key to survival. Since the beginning our focus has been to evolve and innovate our styling, which helps us in staying relevant and in demand even with the influx of many small and large fashion brands. Along with that, we constantly work on targeting new segments like introducing sub-brands for online customers that are not our current Target Groups—like in 2020 we introduced an ethnic fusion brand called Shae (it now contributes to over 15 per cent of our overall business), then in mid-2021 we launched a teenwear brand called Noh.Voh, and then in late 2021 we entered the menswear space with our brand MASCLN. Apart from this, as we grow stronger, we have also started focusing more on customer service and technology with new updates and features on our website as well as brand awareness through social media.

F2F: What are the top five fashion trends that you are predicting for the year 2023?

RAKJ:

Rimjhim Jaggi: We believe that the top five fashion trends for 2023 will be gender-fluid fashion, sustainability, streetwear fashion, oversized dresses, and athleisure.

F2F: What are the forthcoming plans for your label? Where do you see brand SASSAFRAS in the next five years?

RAKJ:

Ketan Jaggi: As part of our continuous efforts to grow new segments and stay relevant, we are working on three new brand launches to acquire new customers. We are also working on sustainability initiatives by creating environment conscious clothing lines in the near future. Our goal for the next five years is to become an omni-present brand with a far-reaching presence in both the offline and online markets.

What are the forthcoming plans for your label? Where do you see brand SASSAFRAS in the next five years?

Interviewer: Kiran Sahija
Published on: 29/11/2022
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