Sugar Candy’s story is an off shoot of Seema Khandelwal’s foiled searches for distinctive and elegant clothing for her daughter, when she was growing up. These futile attempts culminated in inspiring her to team up with Nipul Panchal and launch what would eventually become synonymous with exclusive and tasteful fashion options for young girls.
Sugar Candy’s main target base is young girls upto 14 years of age who desire to start early with fashion. The core competence of the brand lies in its design excellence and one-off bespoke services, developing dresses on a custom built method, centered around each consumer’s specific taste and profile. Embodying the world of elegance and beauty, the brand believes in setting long lasting standards by being faithful to its identity of love and luxury.
IMAGES BoF caught up with, Seema Khandelwal, who also functions as one of the key designers, about the brand’s exclusivity and the inspirations that fuel its innovative modus operandi.
Tell us about how you started with kidswear and a bit about your background.
I have been fortunate to be blessed with an amazing daughter, Radhika. While Radhika was growing up, I used to pick out the most elegant and comfortable clothes for her to wear. We started enjoying the process of creating aesthetic clothing for her. However, I found it challenging to find the perfect clothes for her since there was a scarcity of chic clothes for small girls. This represented a market opportunity where I believed that I could combine with my fondness for designing and this led to the inception of Sugar Candy.
Success in the fashion industry requires a sustained focus on originality of thought. Hence, I have turned myself into an autodidact over the years to hone my unique style.
Why did you choose the name Sugar Candy?
I believe that kids are the sweetest aspects of our lives and I wanted my brand to symbolize this idea. Hence, I chose the name Sugar Candy.
What is the USP of the brand?
We, at Sugar Candy, take pride in ourselves for creating the most voguish and comfortable clothes possible without ever compromising on quality. Sugar Candy specializes in creating bespoke clothing for our little girls. At Sugar Candy, we realize that your little ones grow up very fast and so we have also incorporated their growth into our designs which means that your kids can wear their favorite clothes for much longer.
Tell us more about your key product lines and your latest collection? What are the main themes and stories of the collections?
Our key product is eclectic and includes Indo-western, Indian, fusion and western clothing for girls aged upto 14 years old. Spring 2018 was our most recent collection and it gravitated towards pastel colours and shimmers. This combination of styles and colours symbolizes the new energy that spring carries with it and also showcases elements from the colours of the rainbow.
Customised plus designer high-end kidswear in a rare niche you have carved for yourself. Tell us about the idea behind it and the main challenges in this strategy.
The lack of customized high-end kidswear served as an impetus for Sugar Candy’s growth and since our inception, we have strived to carve out a niche in this market. We wanted to capitalize on the fact that people were inherently looking for such products and had to settle for less than exceptional products. They were looking for beautifully crafted clothes that had immaculate attention to detail bestowed upon them. They were searching for something better and we wanted Sugar Candy to serve this need. Hence, we developed a business model to fi rst introduce the idea of bespoke kidswear and then convince our customers that our products represented something unique and valuable. Doing something brand new is always challenging and Sugar Candy was no diff erent. One of our major challenges was to market the product eff ectively to the right consumer base which we solved by expanding our online presence through www. sugarcandystore.com.
What are the other finer points that you keep in mind while designing kidswear?
Parents know what’s best for their kids and treat their kids to the best things possible. I too share this feeling which is why I have focused so strongly on exceptional quality in every dress.
Kids prefer clothes that are truly comfortable and beautiful and will always speak out if they are not. Hence, we have been incorporating their feedback into our designs and we have been able to perfect the art of making stylish and comfortable clothes. Additionally, the ability of the clothes to grow with them adds to its functionality.
Do you think high-fashion designer kidswear is now gaining ground? How is the scenario changing and what are the future prospects?
There has been a significant gain in the popularity of high-end designer kidswear over the last few years which has been helped with the advent of globalization. This segment has picked up a multitude of new clients and it looks like there will be strong growth in this segment.
What is the kind of fabrics that you use that differentiates you from the rest?
Only the fabrics that are good enough to be used in my own daughters’ clothes are good enough to be used at Sugar Candy. Hence, I have gone above and beyond to source the highest quality fabrics from the most reputed sources.
Kidswear is all about comfort, finesse and being exclusive. Tell us about the embellishments- prints, embroideries and detailing that you like to use in your creations.
Embellishments are an integral part of the clothes since it draws significant attention of the kids. We have our strengths in the art of hand embroidery and manual detailing that provides a fi nish that kids yearn for.
On the other side, we are sure that dealing with high end clientelle has its own unique challenges. Can you share some interesting ones?
We have had clients from business houses and from the bollywood industry. These customers primarily know what they want and usually need the product to be ready in as little time as possible. This time constraint is challenge for us! Since every dress is unique, there are challenges in sourcing the fabrics, embellishments and the cut of the dress. However, such experiences are worth the challenges. One such instance was when one of our clients, who wished she had a girl, asked us to make the first dress that she would make her little girl wear once she was born.
Tell us about your online presence and how has the response been.
The online market has been growing rapidly since the past three years and hence we had initiated the process of improving our online presence. Online shopping trend is something we expect to grow at an even faster rate since more working parents opt for purchasing products online.We have received strong responses from other companies and from online portals. In addition to bespoke clothing, we also cater to readymade clothing requests.
What next for Sugar Candy? How do you plan to take the concept forward—both in terms of product expansion and retail expansion?
We have stepped up our marketing campaigns to increase sales from all over India. With our rich experience of over a decade, we have gained vital information that will be crucial to our expansion plans. We hope to add a new age group, 14-19 years. and hope to eventually expand to international markets, primarily in France and England.