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Vitamin B: Brands Energizing Ecommerce Feat. Suta


“This is the story of Suta. It redefines sarees as channels of love and vessels of stories. It recognizes the loving hands that make a fabric with so much of their heart invested into it and brings that DNA to the fore. It becomes the ground for a community of gorgeous women to be whoever they want to be.”

— Sujata & Taniya, Founders

A Healthy Dose Of Inspiration And Exploration With The Brands Energizing Ecommerce

Ecommerce isn’t just a convenient way to have stuff shipped to your doorstep from anywhere on earth. Online brands give basically anyone the opportunity to find the perfect things that match their unique lives. 

Ecommerce thinks outside the big box store and adds personality, choice, and individuality to shopping experiences everywhere. Vitamin B looks to dig into the very brands that are energizing ecommerce through their mission, values, products, and strategies. 

Grab a glass of water and get ready to guzzle up this healthy dose of Vitamin B. 

Three photos of women in various colored sarees.

The Backstory: Suta

Sujata and Taniya are sisters who founded a saree business. This story could be as simple as that, but the reality reaches far past that 10-word fact. Suta, a name formed from the first two letters of each sister’s first name, is more than a saree and apparel company—it’s a connection. A connection to community. A connection to an increasingly sparse craft. A connection to tangible good in this world. 

Leaving behind cushy careers, Sujata and Taniya made up their minds to reinvigorate the craft of saree-making while reviving entire villages. With entrepreneurship running deep within their DNA, Suta was started with a sincere desire to grow while doing social good. 

In 2014, Suta was born and has since honed its strongest products, doubled-down on brand values and mission, and grown from two people in a garage to 35 in-house employees and 14,000 weavers and artisans across India. 

It’s a brand that’s evolved from no prior experience and a reliance on word-of-mouth to one that’s opened up a website, embraced the trajectory of ecommerce, and proved what two sisters on a mission can do for their—and thousands more—families.

The Mission

Suta is a saree and apparel company that strives to include as many weavers and artisans as possible. Suta is a family of people celebrating Indian tradition and humanity in every saree.

The Values

Empower good people, not just impressive resumés, to come on board and grow.

Celebrate centuries of tradition and authenticity inherent to Indian arts.

Foster positive social impact with tangible products and work that positively impact humanity while providing fair wages for all.

The Unique Selling Proposition (USP)

Suta was born from a desire to celebrate the art and craft of weaving across India. By blending simple contemporary designs while keeping the roots of the products intact, Suta is able to spread the artform across more areas while appealing to younger generations.  With minimal, often nature-inspired, designs, Suta hits the sweet spot of accessibility and attraction for nearly everyone. 

The Customers

When it comes to who’s buying up all these sarees, the answer is clear—everyone. Anyone with sarees in their wardrobe are drawn to the quality of the woven fabric, the organic designs, and the mission of Suta.

Fostering a Stand-out Customer Experience Is a Craft in Itself

For Sujata and Taniya, the customer experience has guided their strategies and decision-making more than once. Deeply understanding their customers—priorities, needs, wants, lifestyles, and beyond—Suta has been able to provide a customer experience that’s as remarkable as its products.  

Feedback Is Always Handled with Care

founders of Suta apparel

Feedback isn’t just a way to placate complaints at Suta, and it’s definitely not just another suggestion box where ideas are submitted, never to be looked at or considered. Instead, feedback—including complaints or claims—is a critical component to the decision-making cycle.  

It’s no secret that word-of-mouth advertising, especially through the talking heads of modern-day influencers, can be an impactful weapon for scaling brands. In India, however, starting and growing a business is a social matter more than in most parts of the world.

The social aspect of starting a business is partly to blame for why listening to customers and genuinely considering feedback is so important. If Suta shut out customer input completely, it wouldn’t take long for a not-so-good rep to flow through the grapevine. 

When critical feedback or input happens, which it always will for any business, the duo’s approach isn’t defensive. “We empathise and try to come to a rational approach,” they say. Parts of the business, such as how the website came together or who models the sarees, are heavily influenced by what customers have to say.

Authentically lending an ear to customers leaves a lasting impression that no marketing dollars could ever match.

A Scaling Strategy That Stretches Beyond the Brand

For ecommerce sellers looking to scale big, one of their first priorities might be funneling all sorts of revenue into a beefier tech stack. With so many tools that expedite processes, diminish tedious manual tasks, and enhance the online customer experience, pumping dough into platforms is admittedly tempting.

However, if money were no object, SaaS isn’t exactly where Suta would invest. Instead, their strategy centers around the people who make their company possible—weavers, artisans, and customers. 

“If we could improve one thing today, it would be the condition of the weavers’ and artisans’ community.” 

The impact that Suta strives to have is anything but on their own bottom line. With more than 10,000 artisans creating sarees, the founders take tremendous care of ensuring they are getting paid a fair price for their talent and skill. In turn, entire communities are lifted up, and that’s an ecosystem worth more than any profits.

When it comes to strategies targeting the customer experience, the focus is also about empowering shoppers. Suta’s future looks a lot like increasing products, diversifying verticals, and finding more ways to go to customers and reduce their legwork.

Focusing on revenue isn’t a touted priority, but Suta’s list of to-dos is bound to only draw more repeat customers and earn their long-term loyalty. In turn, scaling and success is sure to follow these people-first initiatives.

Keeping a Chin up During the Pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic has hit every corner of the globe—hard. The impact has busted some ecommerce verticals while others boomed. As for Suta? Well, the team fared better this year than last thanks to flexibility and the ability to adapt to uncertainty.

“We’ve evolved a lot in terms of products and price points. Even overall communication has changed.”

Communication internally and externally has evolved, but ultimately the goal stays true: Reach more people through this traditional form taking on contemporary vibes. With a wider audience, Suta can keep spreading the craft of the artisans it works with. And when that craft spreads, the tradition is reinvigorated throughout communities. 

And what better way to do well in ecommerce than to do good by everybody?

This originally appeared on Route and is made available here to cast a wider net of discovery.
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