Hemp clothing is becoming increasingly more popular with the rise of sustainable fashion. However, in India due to the prejudices against marijuana, industrial hemp usage in textile industry has not seen a high adoption. Industrial hemp and marijuana are different varieties of the same plant. Marijuana has higher THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) which causes psychoactive effects and is derived from the Indica family of Hemp plant. Industrial hemp, grown from the Sativa plant, is used for various purposes including medicinal, food, clothing. Even in the Rigveda cannabis plant has been referred as a sacred plant. Hemp is a type of “bast fibre” like other natural fibre such as flax and jute. It has been cultivated for thousands of years and on almost every continent. It is also one of nature’s most sustainable fibres that can be used in textile industry. It uses 4x less water than cotton, nourishes the soil where it grows and does not need pesticides to grow.
Purchasing clothing made from hemp will not only be healthier for the environment, but it will also be better for you. Hemp fabric has a longer lifespan than other fabrics, blocks UV rays and is healthy for your skin. It is also one of the softest and most comfortable fabric, while being super absorbent and light-weight. Hemp enthusiasts like to call it second layer to your skin.
Ecentric – Startup Insight
|Industry||Retail Apparel and Fashion|
Ecentric – Founder Journey
Salendra Gupta – from a telecom engineer to building India’s first hemp based sustainable fashion brand called Ecentric. Born and brought up in Surat, the textile and diamond hub of the country. Salendragraduated from Harcourt Butler Technological Institute (HBTI) with a degree in Electronics Engineering and then completed his MBA from IIM Calcutta.
Ecentric – About
During COVID-19 first wave, when all of us were facing the unprecedented crisis, Salendra was introduced to hemp fabric while browsing for sustainable fashion alternatives. Unfortunately, India has limited options available for affordable sustainable fashion and very few hemp clothing brands. Acknowledging this gap in the industry, he decided to launch a sustainable fashion brand which is environment-centric, hence the name Ecentric. Ecentric is currently using hemp fabric but plan to expand to other eco-friendly fabrics as well. It was conceptualized on making sustainable fashion affordable and accessible. Ecentric is the first hemp fashion brand available on Amazon and Myntra which serve majority of online fashion shoppers in India. It is one of the very few brands that has a functional portfolio in terms of everyday, casual and formal wear.
Ecentric – Target audience
Ecentric target audience can be categorized into three separate verticals – hemp connoisseurs, sustainable fashion enthusiasts and others. Hemp connoisseurs’ audience are already aware about hemp and are open to try hemp products. Sustainable fashion enthusiasts are usually not aware about hemp while they have tried organic cotton mostly and Ecentric works towards explaining such audiences about the benefits of hemp over cotton. The third category is customers where Ecentric works on their awareness about sustainable fashion and since the prices are attractive, customers are open to try their products. Across audience verticals, one thing that has worked for Ecentric has been the amazing response from customers for the product and the entire customer experience journey from product discovery to purchase, return and exchange if required.
Ecentric – Startup structure
Ecentric has a very lean team right now since startup has been bootstrapped so far. The startup is now planning to expand team across supply chain and operations, marketplaces and strategy.
Ecentric – Challenges Faced
The hemp industry, unfortunately in India is not properly regulated and there is a lot of taboo around it due to cannabis. This has been a major challenge to make their potential customers aware about hemp and how it is different from the infamous Marijuana.
“The difference we are making towards the environment and the love of the customer drives us to work harder”.
Ecentric – Decisions that helped
Any entrepreneurship journey has multiple hard decisions that one has to make from time to time. During Ecentric journey of last 2 years, the startup has seen two COVID-19 waves which impacted their business and at both times team had to be very agile and focused on managing their expenses and supply chain while maintaining the customer demand.
Ecentric is still on its journey to revolutionalise the sustainable fashion industry, and to call it successful would be too early. However, the Ecentric team have learned well along the way and with a niche product offering focused on customer experience, they have seen good progress so far. The ratings and product reviews on the marketplaces and on their website reflect positive aspect of customers for their products.
Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
What is Ecentric?
Ecentric is the first hemp fashion brand available on Amazon and Myntra which serve majority of online fashion shoppers in India. It is one of the very few brands that has a functional portfolio in terms of everyday, casual and formal wear.
Who is the founder of Ecentric?
Salendra Gupta – from a telecom engineer to building India’s first hemp based sustainable fashion brand called Ecentric.
What is the target audience of Ecentric?
Ecentric target audience can be categorized into three separate verticals – hemp connoisseurs, sustainable fashion enthusiasts and others.