Two mompreneurs Viinii and Raina founders of Lil VR are from different backgrounds. Lil VR (Viinii and Raina) is the former co-founder of Oui Oui, and has now launched their new brand Lilvr. Raina holds expertise in merchandising, e-commerce, and retailing and heads the sales and distribution of this business.
She helps start-ups grow and helps in building brands and steering them, she is currently working with successful brands like Tao Paris – A women’s footwear brand, and Aria Nica- A kids’ footwear brand. Viinii has a professional background in various fields. She herself is a fervent fashionista and loves clothing her daughter in particular.
She is the ideal designer for their companies because of her keen eye for detail and love of fashion and styling. The brand is the culmination of a long-held desire of these childhood friends to work together
Here’s a delightful conversation with Viinii and Raina on her journey as an author with Icy Tales. Let’s delve into the conversation to learn more about Vinni and Raina and their brand Lil VR.
Q. Can you tell us a little bit more about your career and how you both started working in the fashion industry?
Lil VR (Viinii and Raina): We both are from different backgrounds. I (Viinii) have work experience that varies across fields including financial, telecom, healthcare sector Citi, Idea Cellular, Vodafone, and VLCC across roles like sales and service. We both have taken breaks from our jobs post our babies. We didn’t know what we have to do but we had to start something on our own.
Viinii – The idea of starting something for children’s clothing. The first child for me was a daughter, I kept on shopping for my daughter. The first time is always over-excited, on her first birthday, I wanted her 1st birthday to be the best, and I wanted a party to wear the dress I didn’t want Zara or H&M for my daughter’s birthday the only reason it’s too common. I started hunting for designers, there were very few designers 7 years back with less competition. I spent 10, 000 on her 1st birthday dress I felt the pain and pinch but at the same time, I was over-excited.
Raina was also spending Rs 12,000-13,000 for her kids’ 1st birthday. We had a discussion about spending so much on the dress. I always liked fashion for myself and also I enjoy dressing my daughter, that’s when it clicked with me to start something of my own. Now we are here with our own brand Lil VR (Viinii and Raina).
Raina – We both have completed MBAs, and we both come from corporate backgrounds. We have not studied fashion at all. I have done my retail management course and worked as a merchandiser, which has helped me to grow the brand. Similarly, Viinii has been taking care of marketing and sales in all her corporate sectors and she is from a finance background. All this put together has helped us to reach where we are today.
Q. What is your inspiration behind choosing kidswear as your niche in the fashion industry?
Lil VR (Viinii and Raina):
Viinii – I won’t call this a niche but we are customizing and also we are procuring the fabric in India, we are making it. We keep the children in mind, our fabric is very soft, and we put a layer of lining inside. The construction of a dress is different so the price is involved in every step you take. The price range of the clothes ranges between Rs 1200 to 10, 000.
Raina – What inspired us is we ourselves are mothers, and we ourselves were ready to spend. As rightly Viinii said we were excited about our first child, so much was happening on continuous birthdays, and we had to ensure that our kids had to wear the best at all points of time. That’s where we realized that there is a gap in the market so why not catch a niche but also tell the audience that the kid segment is not the niche anymore but one of the fastest-growing segments? If you see in the market whether apparel or footwear every brand is today getting into kids.
Our brand makes the kid’s section a niche because our brand offers customization that other people cannot offer. There are parents who don’t want to spend a lot on their kids because they think after 6 months our kids are going to grow older. In that case, we give them margins to ensure them that that one dress is going to be useful for at least one and a half years because there are so many margins that they can keep opening it, and continue their children to wear it.
Neha Dhupia gets a lot of customization done from us for her daughter Mehar Dhupia Bedi. She pushes us at times from our comfort zone. She had got a Halloween cape done by Lil VR for her daughter, husband, and herself.
We recently customized 2 outfits for Inaya Khemu, daughter of Soha Ali and Kunal Khemu.
Q.Fashion industry keeps evolving at its pace, what are your plans in order to be in trend with the fashion industry and with your new start-up?
Lil VR (Viinii and Raina):
Viinii – The fashion industry when it comes to children because we are the children’s brand would always remain the same. Parents will always feel that their children have to be comfortable with what they are wearing. When it comes to zero months up to 3 years they have the standard way of dressing, which is a kind of comfort zone. We also make clothes like palazzo, a crop top which is very very comfortable. When it comes to kids who are 7+, we are introducing leisure wear.
When our kids are growing, we know the choices and the preferences that our kids have for dressing. All credit goes to our kids and their friends to keep us updated with their preferences and trends that are currently going.
Raina – We work with third-party portals and multiple vendors very closely. We do have discussions with them and understand what is the trend, what is the forecast, and what is it that is going to come into fashion, and then we are always ready to learn and change with time. For instance, if we are doing only party wear and want to launch a new brand of athleisure we will go and find a factory that can work with us on athleisure wear and can launch the athleisure.
‘Lil VR‘ will be completely dedicated to infant wear for up to 3 years. We have launched this collection on Hopscotch, and by January end our new app and website named Lilvr will go live, which is completely dedicated to clothes, accessories, shoes, stationary, gifting, and birthday decor.
Q. What does the consumer have to say about Lil VR (Viinii and Raina)?
Raina – The customers are very very happy with the fact that we will be launching Lil VR. Initially, we weren’t concentrating on the infant section, but now we have launched from 0 to 3 years the customers are really happy. We have ensured that quality is the most important thing for us and when it comes to infant wear, the material used in the clothes has to be so child friendly and that is something we offer. The collection is specifically party wear, at a price point of Rs 799-999 only/-. The collection is now available on Hopscotch.
Q. For Lil VR (Viinii and Raina) what is the ideal customer and how do you aim to promote it?
Lil VR (Viinii and Raina):
Viinii – Every child is an ideal customer for us. Our aim is that every child should wear ‘Lil VR’.
Q. Being founders and entrepreneurs, give some lessons that you learned or advice that you came across during your career.
Lil VR (Viinii and Raina):
Viinii – Facing challenges and always being happy has got our career here, and we are confident in what we are doing and focus on our work.
Raina – The journey was full of ups and downs, it hasn’t been easy, we were and are hard-working, and god has supported us. From where we were to where we are has been a drastic change in the way we have grown, Like Viinii said, we have to trust the process, and we have to have aims and goals in order to keep growing.
Viinii and Raina aim to take their brands to next level by making them more successful. They followed their passions and worked hard to achieve a name in the industry. Viinii and Raina are surely an inspiration for many women who want to pursue their passions.