“When the lockdown just started last year, I noticed people would leave their masks astray and wear the same unclean masks again. This was harmful and negating the purpose of wearing masks and there was nothing in the market that would help solve this. So we wanted to bring a solution for the same and thought if masks could have some kind of a holder, it would solve the problem. That’s how Spotlight was born. When we launched, no one in the market was doing what we were. We were one of the first ones to introduce masks with chains in India. People saw value in what we were doing and the issue we were trying to solve and they loved it. We are proud to have carved a niche in the Indian market for a new trend that has become so popular and has inspired so many other small businesses to follow the stride. Our purpose since day one has been to offer something that makes people happy and helps them stay safe and we are happy we could achieve that. The pouring in of love has been ongoing and we are only expanding our family each day. Customers kept coming back and recommending us to their folks because of our quality and spread the hype. Thus sales rocketed and soon we couldn’t keep up with the demand and expanded our operations and offerings too. We have been offering premium quality at affordable rates, so more and more people could use our chains and be safer. I think our customers really appreciated that and helped us create a huge community of loyal customers and mask lovers,” Sonam Jha, Founder, Spotlight Masks comments.
Spotlight stands for quality and customer experience and is one of the first few mask brands to enter this space. All their masks and chains are of impeccable quality designed to give maximum comfort and value for money. They offer luxury masks at affordable rates, which is much appreciated by customers who seek value.
“Competition always keeps you working harder and pushes you to be more creative. We at Spotlight take competition in a very positive way and use that as a motivation to get better and we do that by constantly innovating and offering something new to our customers. We are always keeping an eye out for what is the season/festival/current need of the hour and innovate accordingly. This Raksha Bandhan is a good example when we launched gift boxes to gift your sisters, which got a phenomenal response because we offered something new and fun which people not only loved but also needed. Since I am a fashion designer too, last Diwali we had launched a small capsule collection of Diwali outfits for women which got a fantastic response too. Innovation is the key. Mask is a market that nobody had foreseen, and we are fortunate to be riding the tide. Although having done good business selling masks, I sincerely hope the world becomes COVID-free at the earliest. From a business standpoint, we have built a loyal customer base and wish to keep offering them new products under the same label with the same brand vision of making products that add value to people’s lives. We also plan to launch new mask products like organic, anti-pollution masks which people can wear every day and these are also becoming the much needed products now,” Sonam further added.
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It’s been a little over a year since another pioneering brand – Doori India began its journey in this space. They started with a 6 month timeline, and wanted to see how business will be for them. The Co-Founders of Doori mention that they did not foresee the usage of masks to stay on for so long and therefore had no clue on how the business will progress over time. They are amazed at the speed at which the brand has grown.
“Comfort was a huge goal for us when we set out and started Doori. Both of us had worn masks that were either suffocating, would poke or to some extent just didn’t look flattering. I think a great part of what we set out to do was aiming to let people have fun and enjoy wearing their masks— something to break the negativity and the draining feeling we know it to be associated with. That being said, we have been told numerous times that our masks are the softest, most comfortable ones people have worn and as opposed to changing the design which we seem to have in a sense nailed, we now play round with different colours, prints and fabric varieties. On one hand, we set out from the very beginning to give back and help those in need — this is something we have continued to do throughout. On the other hand, our fabrics are all treated with an anti-viral finish from HealthGuard Australia, which has been proven to fight off and eliminate COVID-19 in specific, making our masks supremely protective,” Gehna Manglani, Co-Founder and CEO, Doori India comments.
She then goes on to add, “The extent to which we are connected to and participate in our brand as founders I believe is what sets us apart. We are all hands on deck when it comes to everything, be it design, packaging or even social media and are fully aware and in touch with our audience as well as our market at any given point in time.”
When commenting on how she is eyeing the market in the time to come, Gehna says, “We’ve always been torn with this question— the world recovering and not needing masks is a dream for us too, but on the other hand, we do not want to let go off the brand and the family of buyers and customers that we have built. This coming week we plan on launching a line of scrunchies (rubber bands) and gradually move from small goods and accessories to a clothing line that we have had in the works”.
Janhavi Sutaria, Founder of Make My Mask began her tryst with masks with the aim to help some small income group tailors and female artisans skilled in hand embroidery. In an attempt to help these groups, she began to test market the well-embroidered masks during 2020.
“Since then I haven’t stopped; even though we do not manufacture our products, our vendors feel like they are a core part of Make My Mask. We plan out various designs for launch with them. What started as an extension of some help to financially suffering low income group artisans is now an established business. We have had more than 4000 orders in the past 12 months and are still growing. Customers love our products. They like the price point, which is extremely affordable to the middle-class majority. They enjoy the quality of the fabric and designs of the masks. We have had a large majority of repeat customers who want to buy more and more for friends, family and also for colleagues. We do not sell everything mask, but we do sell only mask. And that is how we stand out. Hand embroidery, 100 per cent cotton and low/affordable price point have been our goal and that is what we cater to. To attract more customers and encourage quantity purchase, we have regular weekend and festive sales. The discounts during these sales are massive unlike any other brand,” Janhavi adds.