NorthMist - Bringing in the Gorgeous Fusion of Fashion and Sustainability

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Recently we have been quite seeing a trend about using organic products. Also, there’s been a lot of buzz about how great these products are for human health and also society at large. Following the same insight, Smrity Gupta and Arijit Mazumdar launched NorthMist in 2018.

NorthMist primarily offers 100% organic cotton t-shirts, in three categories- polo neck, round neck full sleeves and round neck half sleeves. They are priced at INR 1199 each, INR 899 and INR 799 respectively.

NorthMist - Company Highlights

  • Startup Name-NorthMist
  • Headquarter-Bangalore
  • Sector-Clothing
  • Founder-Smrity Gupta and Arijit MAzumdar
  • Founded-2018
  • Website-NorthMist

NorthMist - About and How it works

All the products at NorthMist are made of 100% organic cotton, sourced from exclusive and certified vendors, and manufactured in a pro-sustainability strategy. Also, all the products are ensured to be supremely authentic of being environment-friendly products. NorthMist procures raw materials in-house, from vendors, who are under the sustainability umbrella and supply only to it. Having multiple vendors for each of the raw materials, it picks the best and thus gets the best price in the industry. Moreover, it operates on a low inventory model with a turn-around time of 7 days. Through real-time orders and fast processing, which are pretty uncommon as well. Combined, this makes it stand apart from the present competitors.

Low inventory levels, less stock, a small and efficient team and faster turnaround time pull down chances of loss while promoting faster decisions and cost-cutting opportunities. And that’s how it works at NorthMist.

NorthMist - Target Market Size

The apparel landscape in India is believed to be ruled by startups in the near future and going by the consumer preference pattern, eco-friendly start-ups will soon be at a better position, compared to bigger brands. Indeed, these are the reasons behind this startup venture too.

NorthMist - Founders and Team

Smrity Gupta and Arijit Mazumdar are the Founders of NorthMist

“Smrity and I were co-workers. Shared philosophy and zeal to do something big allowed us to become friends.” Says the founder, Arijit Mazumdar.

Arijit has a master's degree in power engineering and has excelled in many fields including business negotiations, business development, and sales. Smrity, the co-founder of NorthMist is a fashion technology graduate from NIFT and holds immense knowledge of the industry. Her insights about the industry, her keen eye for detail and her experience made the journey of starting a fashion business easier for this duo.

NorthMist Founders

NorthMist has an in-house team that consists of about 15 people, encompassing different arena of expertise. It has a sales head, content marketer, visual designer, digital marketer, operations executives, and a production team. Eco-warriors as the venture identify the team. All decisions are taken by the in-house team of experts, who share a similar outlook towards sustainability. NorthMist also has an extensive network of freelancers working for it. At this moment, NorthMist has a strong team of 25 individuals.

When the founders hire people, they ensure that the candidates believe in the concept of sustainability or are at least familiar with the concept of sustainability. There is no hierarchy in the office. Though every individual has their own role to play, when required, everyone can contribute. Every Saturday the core team conducts “brainstorming” sessions, where every team member shares their ideas for brand growth. From birthday celebrations to team outings, playing games to fun sessions, the work environment at NorthMist is all about being happy and content.

NorthMist - How did it start?

“My co-founder and I shared the same philosophy- to make the world sustainable. This motivated us to come up with the idea of NorthMist.” Says Arijit Mazumdar. Both of them were working, however, their ambitions were different. All they wanted was to start their own brand. Since both of them were quite inclined towards adopting a sustainable lifestyle, their aim was to start something around it. And hence they started brainstorming on what they could do to bring about change in the world. And this motivated them to establish NorthMist.

During the inception days, they were just 2 people. They worked really hard, supporting each other through all hurdles, which honestly were in abundance. The founders worked hard to realize our dreams. The first few months were all about tight schedules and deadlines. They would conduct surveys and get direct feedback from the customers. The focus was to create awareness and they ensured to do so using various channels. They kept the product line limited to draw more attention to the quality of the same. It was difficult, but fun nonetheless. When you have your friend by your side, sharing similar ambitions, everything becomes easier!

NorthMist - Name, Tagline, and Logo

The etymology of NorthMist is such- “North” is the head of directions and “Mist” is often associated with nature. Put these two terms together and one gets “NorthMist”, which literally means ‘to head towards nature.’

The founders wanted a name that was simple and relatable, yet strong in its resolution. And let’s not forget, a name that would convey the concept of being eco-friendly perfectly. NorthMist fitted the bill effortlessly.

“It took us about a month, a self-determined deadline and suggestions from our friends to come up with an impeccable name for the brand. And today, we can say proudly that we have it.” Added Arijit Mazumdar

NorthMist - Startup Launch

After launching NorthMist in March 2018, the founders started participating in co-working events. We Work, CoWorks, Coho, 91 SpringBroad, they went everywhere to showcase the products. For the first eight to nine months, they were dedicated to doing events. This helped them to create a strong customer base. Then, they dedicated their efforts to retargeting these customers. They also started collaborating with marketplaces like Amazon and Flipkart to create more awareness.

The founder's equally used social media platforms to garner the attention of the target audience. This helped them scale the brand and add visibility to the products. NorthMist’s journey from 50 to 5000 has been extraordinarily inspiring and only motivates the team to do better every day.

NorthMist - Business Model and Revenue Model

The business model of NorthMist follows can be classified broadly into B2B and B2C categories. Under the B2B model portion, it has wholesale, dropshipping and inbound corporate. B2C model, on the other hand, relies on its own website and e-commerce platforms like Flipkart, Amazon and The Better India for the sale of our products. NorthMist is also registering on national and international online marketplaces like LBB, Step Set Go, Ajio and more. In terms of offline presence, its products are available in Organic World and Go Native stores pan India.

NorthMist - Startup Challenges

Major challenges in the Indian apparel and fashion industry lie on factors like poor infrastructure, limited reach and unorganized market. Furthermore, for startups in India, the criteria to meet for Government funding are extensive and slow.

Another major challenge is to create awareness. Considering the fact that sustainability is a relatively new topic with very less exposure, convincing customers to make a switch is fairly difficult. Not impossible though. “Our motive was clear, to reach as many people as we can and motivate them to make a shift to sustainability.” Says Arijit. The process was time-consuming, but their constant efforts have ensured that they are reaching the right. Communication plays a major role in a business such as NorthMist’s, and the core team seems to have mastered it. Garnering attention can still be challenging yet they are doing it quite well.

NorthMist - Competitors

Competition is quite huge as more than 300 international fashion brands are expected to create a footprint in India. Besides, the Indian apparel market predicts growth to $124 billion by the end of 2020. Also, more startups are certainly on the pipeline as the apparel space in the country is projected to be ruled by startups in times to come. Eco-friendly startups will occupy a big share, as consumers these days are increasingly making sustainable choices.

When it comes to sustainability, the number of brands is quite limited; however, to name a few, NorthMist is in direct competition with No Nasties, Turmswear, and March Tee.

NorthMist - Funding and Investors

NorthMist has a set of angel investors, who have invested Rs. 1 crore inequity of the business.

The first round of our series of funding came from Sanjay Koul, Managing Director and chairman of a top US company; Birju Gala, CEO of a leading company; Soumendra Biswal, Head of Corporate Affairs of a leading export company; and Srinivasan Sarangpani, Director of Supply Chain at a US company. The majority of the funding has been invested in R&D of our products, hiring the right team for delivering the best, marketing and creating awareness among consumers about the brand identity and sustainability goal.

NorthMist - Advisors and Mentors

The list of advisors and mentors of NorthMist include:

  • Venkatesh Maheshwari
  • Sriram Sundaravadanan
  • Rajiv Mehta

NorthMist - Growth

In the last fiscal year, NorthMist has had a turnover of 30 lakhs. It has also got tremendous responses from conscious customers from cities across India. Metros and Tier 1 cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Hyderabad, Pune and Bangalore have together recorded maximum sale figures for NorthMist.

NorthMist - Future Plans

Staying pivotal to the sustainability factor, NorthMist has plans to diversify. Adding to the existing men’s t-shirt categories, it will be launching women’s wear and a new range of sustainable hoodies soon.

As for short term goals, NorthMist looks forward to having a total turnover of 500 crores in the next five years; expand in terms of products under the sustainable lifestyle category. It wants to grow the business within India and beyond the geographic boundaries through different distribution channels and multiple branded outlets.

“We are a pro-sustainability company; hence, sustainability is our long-term vision. The planet belongs to each of us and saving it from further damage is surely our responsibility. Instead of combating against brands, a collaborative effort of all sustainable brands making conscious choices of environment-friendly products should be the future.” Concluded Arijit Mazumdar.

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