By Muhammad Riaz Usman Khaleej Times, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Sunit Bhatia, co-founder and director of "Raw Orange" is working towards being a home-grown UAE startup that provides women across the world with access to trendy fashion.
With over 12 years' experience in the banking, IT and digital services sectors, Sunit Bhatia, co-founder and director of Raw Orange, has always been passionate about fashion.
Raw Orange is Dubai's newest online fashion platform that provides the best possible experience to her customers through the company's products, technology and customer support.
"E-commerce has been at the forefront of my mind for a very long time. This space has huge potential, an abundance of creativity and technology that is evolving every day. Launching Raw Orange, I would say was a combination of my hidden love for fashion, the growing fashion industry in the UAE, and a great blend of my passion for business and e-commerce," she explains.
Having grown up in Muscat, Sunit moved to Australia for higher education. There she graduated with a bachelor of commerce in IT and went on to pursue a master's degree in business systems. After completion of her education, she worked in various senior positions in Australia's IT and banking sectors.
Sunit left Australia in 2014 in favour of the Middle East, making her return to digital communications and commerce at Isher Technologies in Dubai as a managing partner and reigniting a love for online business, before she seized the opportunity to combine two of her passions, digital commerce and fashion, culminating in the establishment of Raw Orange in Dubai.
"Although fast fashion is already a well-established industry, and there are many websites popping up every day that sell trendy outfits online in the UAE, but very few offer the high quality and standards that consumers want and have come to expect. We are filling that gap, providing fast fashion and quality in every single product.
Whether it is the quality of material used, the design of each outfit, the fittings or the experience on our website, we want to improve on the current offerings in the market. The Raw Orange price tag is the icing on the cake for our customers," she claims.
Raw Orange is run entirely by passionate women, who know and understand a woman's mindset and psychology.
"We want to be the brand for girls and women of every age and tackle everyday issues like 'what do I wear?' and the dreaded statement 'I have nothing to wear!' As a brand, our range will delight anyone from young and trendy to mature and stylish," Sunit adds.
Sunit says usually, brands take over a niche and grow into that, "but for us, we want to cater to a woman's every occasion in her life, to provide one place where women can get any look they require. So, we have outfits from urban streetwear to classy formals."
Sunit claims that Raw Orange is working towards being a home-grown UAE startup that provides women across the world access to trendy fashion.
"Our aim and strength rely on the fact that we've been in this region for over two decades and know what shoppers actually need and are ready for. The UAE is still in the early stages of adoption of e-commerce, but there is no doubt that it is quickly catching up in one of the world's fastest growing industries, and we have been a part of this journey from early on," she says.
Sunit says that the UAE is a home to different nationalities and here one constantly meets people with diverse and new business ideas.
"The infrastructure here is well-established to make the most of these opportunities, there is much support available to allow a business to grow in the country. So, although the environment is heavily competitive, there is plenty of support available, which has resulted in peak growth rates for startups," she says.
"It is still a developing landscape with great potential for the future, and I think the environment here is exceptionally conducive to those who have both an excellent idea that fills a market need and the passion to drive it forward over the long term."
Sunit says the UAE government fully supports startups and actively promotes new ideas and concepts, which can be utilised to enhance the economy at large.
"Some of the strongest points are the presence of incubators and several startup platforms that provide funding, offer advice and mentorship opportunities across the UAE. Another asset is that the startup ecosystem here in the UAE is clearly becoming stronger, with clear segmentation on the industries attracting the most investments," she says.
Sunit says currently focusing on Raw Orange's growth and its future expansion. "We will take Raw Orange across other countries within the GCC, India and Australia. There is huge scope for what we are doing in these regions, and we will keep investing in technology to make our offering and the customer experience even better," she discloses.
She advises young entrepreneurs that before starting any venture they must research and complete their homework.
"If your business idea fulfils a need or has a clear opportunity, and to realise that you can't do everything yourself. If you can afford to hire, get people with the right skill-sets for your business, and don't cut corners in this aspect -- because having the right team is fundamental to success."
"The right mindset is also key. Think of everything from your customers' point of view, starting with the quality of your product/service, the experience you will offer, the price points and the after service. Use technology to reach the full potential of your business idea, because with that you can create something unique and niche as compared to your competitors," she continues.
"I think many startups would also benefit from further incentives, which would draw even more companies here. Rebates, for example, could be introduced, or structured funding programmes within the banking sector, but overall there is an excellent eco-system here in the UAE and it is proving fruitful for the many new companies that have established themselves here recently," she adds.
Sunit believes in today's business environment, technology and shopping go hand in hand.
"As Raw Orange is an online fashion brand, we want to be known as a brand that uses the latest technology and innovations to ease the customer journey, decrease turnover period, increase sales, reach a wider audience, and optimize costs," she says.
"We want to create a shopping paradise that provides a seamless shopping experience that's easy to use and provide exactly the service that the shopper has in mind. Online shopping isn't just about showcasing your products with good images on a website; it is moving towards providing an enhanced experience which can be done by incorporating new technology and features," she continues.
"With new features like virtual mirrors and reverse image search, the shoppers have a very comfortable experience. It benefits the brand as the shopper not only buys their products but can enjoy the added advantage of such features and have a better shopping experience," she concludes.