While Alia Bhatt is working on a few film projects currently, it is not movies alone that is keeping the actress busy.
Bhatt, after investing in a few startups, has started her own company called Ed-a-Mamma, a kids wear brand that caters to the age group between 2-14.
Shift of focus from films to business
"I was doing research with my team to launch a generic fashion label because I was interested in this space. But we realised that there are so many labels already. Does anybody need one more label for this age group?" Bhatt told Moneycontrol from the sets of Gangubai Kathiawadi, the new film she is working on.
"One of the things that came up in the conversations with my team was that any path-breaking idea is when there is a need-gap. And we realised that there is a need for world class children's clothing brand that is made in India and that got my attention,” she said.
While working on the ideas for the new business, Bhatt was also working on a series of stories of a little girl and her dog having different adventures and saving the planet from any ecological harm. "The reason I was doing that set of stories was because I was trying to, in my own way, trying to nurture love for nature among children, through stories. And I thought if I continue telling these stories through clothes and toys, I would be achieving the same objective."
Through Ed-a-Mamma, Bhatt is trying to educate children about nature, and this she is doing by offering a kids wear clothing brand.
So, the fabrics are based on natural fibre and bio-degradable. Most of the pieces can be discarded in compost pile after their lifecycle. The fabric scraps are repurposed to make hair bands and potli bags. Buttons are not made out of plastic. Plus, with every garment, Ed-a-Mamma offers seed ball.
How has been the traction for the new brand?
Without disclosing exact sales numbers, Bhatt said that 70 percent of the first season or first batch of the collection was sold in six weeks of launch, which she thought would take at least a year. Plus, some of the styles were sold out in the first two weeks, she added.
Ed-a-Mamma, which started nearly six weeks back, is currently available on FirstCry, an online platform for baby products.
Currently only on digital, Bhatt plans to stick to the online medium for some time.
"The plan is to stay digital, at least for next two years, but from next year on, we will do a multi-platform launch. Also, from next year, from April, we will have our own e-commerce site up and running," she said.
Influencer community to market the brand
"We are in touch with many mommy influencers and we will involve them for every season launch."
Ask Bhatt if it is risky to start a new business venture, she says: "I know nothing about business. I am learning on a daily basis. Right now, it is all me. It (Ed-a-Mamma) is a bootstrapped company."
Risky or not, only time will tell, but if we go by industry experts, they have noted that kids wear segment, which was non-existent till a few years ago, is seeing good growth.
In 2017, kids wear accounted for 20 percent of the total apparel market in India. In fact, the kids wear segment is expected to grow at a CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) of 8 percent, making it the fastest-growing segment in the clothing industry.
Looks like Bhatt has struck the right chord even in the business world. And this will reflect on her brand value, which has been strong and consistent in the last few years.
Alia Bhatt last year jumped up a position on the Duff & Phelps celebrity brand valuation report. According to the celebrity brand ranking, Bhatt stood on the seventh position with a brand value of Rs 338 crore. In addition, she was among the two leading ladies in the top 10 celebrity brand ranking list, along with Deepika Padukone.
Currently, Bhatt endorses around 18 brands including TRESemme, Flipkart, among others.
The actress has also invested in businesses like StyleCracker, an online personal styling platform and Nykaa, an online platform for beauty and cosmetics products.
While currently Bhatt has her focus on Ed-a-Mamma and her upcoming ventures Gangubai Kathiawadi, Brahmastra and Telugu film RRR, she has her eyes on one space that is seeing many changes, especially in times of COVID-19.
"Food has always got my attention. It is the best time for me to watch out that space closely," she said.