Arpita Ganesh, Founder, Buttercup clothing
A perfectionist, Arpita believes in making things better and best. A person who is not happy with a mediocre status-quo, she introduced the “Bra Fitting” concept to India, where still women are not fully aware of the power of the perfect set of intimates.
After spending a decade in Advertising, in 2008, Arpita discovered her true calling in Lingerie styling and launched Buttercup Clothing, a retail lingerie boutique in Hyderabad, bringing international brands such as Chantelle, exclusively to Indian women. After 6 years in the field and being considered an expert in the same by then, Arpita was a consultant for leading international brands. Here, she had an excellent vantage point, wherein she could identify gaps in the lingerie market in India, prompting her to launch the ABTF or A Bra That Fits App, India’s first bra sizing app.
Since the model of Buttercup Clothing wasn’t profitable, Arpita pivoted it to a “Brand” concept, with an online sales & offline experience, again pioneering this concept in 2014, and launching her own brand of Buttercups lingerie, which includes bras, bottoms, shapewear and accessories.
Arpita studied at Osmania University, in Hyderabad. After graduating, she founded and ran Quicksilver Advertising Pvt. Ltd., a creative agency in Hyderabad. She identifies greatly with Dagny Taggart of Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged and strongly believes that this world is plagued with the mediocre and less-than-ordinary. This is something that Arpita is steadfastly trying to change, while striving to create an identity that is carved out of hard work and perseverance.
A connoisseur of brewed beer, she loves travelling and is an animal-lover who tries to help out at animal shelters whenever she can.
High point in career
“Getting proof of concept for my Buttercups Brand through a crowd funding effort which saw 100 women fund me INR1500/- each in 2 months, where the entire crowd funding project was planned, marketed and even hosted by me and a bunch of friends, who helped out purely on their belief in me. This crowd funding effort is what finally helped me get funded.”
Most challenging assignment so far
“To convince women that bras can be comfortable, only if they wear the right size.”
“Steve jobs (though clichÃ©d). But, the man did change our world on his pure conviction that customers do not know what they want and if you give them a GREAT product backed by GREAT service, and they will be happy to pay a premium for it.”
Most important milestone in life
“When I first wore my own brand of lingerie. It’s a high that is inexpressible, to be able to experience your dream for real. Also, on a daily basis, a high point is to know that I have changed someone’s life for the better is extremely rewarding. I am India’s most experienced fitter, and now I have the opportunity to impart my knowledge to so many women and help them find comfort in a garment that has always been a discomfort for them.”
Women are the better halves. What does it mean?
“I don’t know about better halves, but I do know that everyone is equal today and the opportunities available are no more partial to one’s gender. I believe that if women want, they can achieve equal or more, as long as they work as hard and don’t expect to be treated with favour.”
Experiences on being a woman entrepreneur
“I believe that challenges of being an entrepreneur are equal for men and women. So on being an entrepreneur, well it’s the toughest thing you will ever do (besides parenting which is far tougher), but, if you give it all you’ve got, the rewards are like no other. The happiness of seeing your dream come true, even with multiple challenges, is a high that most passionate entrepreneurs never get over.”
How do you believe in making dreams come true?
“Passion and Perseverance. I don’t know how to give up. Bringing Buttercups where it is today, has been challenging (to say the least), but I believe that when you are deeply passionate about something, there is nothing holding you back. You never give up on what you love, and push forth regardless of the challenges you face along the way. You need to forget all the reasons that it wouldn’t work, and just concentrate on the one reason it will. It has not been easy, but I have always picked myself up and pursued my dream irrespective of the hurdles that I had to overcome. I have the conviction and determination that Buttercups needs to become every Indian woman’s first choice for lingerie.”
“During my journey to create a niche for Buttercups, I realized that what Indian women collectively lack is knowledge about their perfect bra size. In India, brands concentrate on style and design more than they do on comfort. Given that lingerie is still a ‘hush-hush’ topic in India, it is difficult to convince women that they are probably wearing the wrong size, and should openly talk about the problems that usually cause them daily discomfort. I am constantly battling against age-old myths and convictions in trying to bring these issues to the fore.
One of the other challenges we face is hiring. Finding committed people, especially in the mid-level, is a huge challenge. Young people these days are about quick money and easy jobs, something I never saw in our times. It’s a generation that has been brought up on seeing “easy money”, thanks to “start-ups” with deep pockets, hiring at whim, which has affected the hiring market deeply.”
Setbacks and Lessons learnt
“It is never easy to change beliefs that have been passed down from generation to generation. In order to convince women that they need something more than what they presently have by way of lingerie has been a time-consuming and ever-present setback.
However, over the past 6 years, I have gained a wealth of knowledge that makes me uniquely capable to provide Indian women the product they need to make their daily lives infinitely easier. Having fit over 3000 women, I have realised that now, women are more aware of their own selves, more willing to abandon tradition in favour of comfort and self confidence. I am trying to reach out to as many women as I can through my blog, the ABTF app and the Buttercups website.
I have learnt that in order to break the existing stigma surrounding lingerie, we must have open dialogues with women as well as men, who have thus far lacked a platform to do so. By speaking about these problems in the open, we can help women understand their bodies better, and embrace who they are, both inside and out.”