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Little Black Sari: A Marketplace for South Asian Clothing


By Anjali Joshi

We are delighted to welcome Little Black Sari to Masalamommas Style. We’ll be working with Little Black Sari to provide MM readers with a go-to resource for sari styles, tips and tricks, and so much more. We sat down with Vipoo Gnanenthra, CEO of Little Black Sari, to learn more about her new venture. 

Vipoo Gnanenthra, CEO of Little Black Sari

Vipoo Gnanenthra, CEO of Little Black Sari

When Vipoo Gnanenthra’s sari collection was getting little use and taking up far too much space, she knew something had to be done. With no online marketplace available for South Asian clothing, Vipoo set out on a mission to aid the process of turning one woman’s ‘old’ to another woman’s ‘new.’ This month, we had a chance to chat with Vipoo about her venture, Little Black Sari.

What inspired you to launch Little Black Sari?
In short, my mom. After I got married, I moved into a small condo in downtown Toronto. Unfortunately, I couldn’t take all of my clothes with me, especially my saris since I don’t wear them regularly. So every time I had to attend an event, I would travel to my parents’ home to get dressed. Their house was essentially my glorified closet – that was until my mom couldn’t take my clutter anymore and asked me to sell saris that I no longer wore to clear up some space.

Photo source: Little Black Sari

Photo source: Little Black Sari

“Ok, fine; but where would I sell them?” I asked my mom.
“Facebook,” she responded, simply because it was the only website she knew of! I laughed at the thought, and told her that I wasn’t going to bombard my friends’ feeds with my saris.
However, while I may have quickly dismissed her suggestion. The conversation sparked an idea. Many months later, Little Black Sari was born.

What gap did you see that you thought you could fill?
After a bit of research I noticed the following gaps. First, there is no easy to use peer-to-peer buying and selling platform exclusively for South Asian fashion. Most people go to eBay, Kijiji, and Craigslist to buy antique furniture, broken laser pointers, or pez dispensers — not saris. The second gap in the market was related to fashion; there were no blogs dedicated to inspiring North American women to rock a sari in unique ways.

Little Black Sari

Photo source: Little Black Sari

Tell us a little bit more about Little Black Sari.
Little Black Sari is a marketplace to buy and sell new and pre-worn South Asian clothing. We initially started with saris, but noticed a demand from users wanting to sell other types of clothing. Sellers can earn cash and clear up closet space from clothes that they no longer wear. Buyers can shop for unique pieces online at affordable prices, and have items delivered to their home.

We also wanted to promote fashion sustainability by reducing the amount of textile waste that goes into landfill each year. Little Black Sari’s social media presence via our Blog, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube strives to foster a community of women who love the style and versatility of the sari.

Little Black Sari

How does a user go about selling a sari?
After a user signs up to be a community member, there are 3 steps to sell:
1) Create Seller Profile and with a PayPal account to collect money
2) Photograph and post item with a description and price
3) Once sold, ship the item

Little Black Sari

Photo source: Little Black Sari

How does a user go about buying a sari?
After a user signs up to be a community member, there are 3 steps to buy an item:
1) Browse the marketplace for something you like
2) Add item to shopping cart
3) Check out to purchase

What would you say is the most challenging part of entrepreneurship? The most rewarding?
The most challenging part of entrepreneurship has got to be learning patience. When I first launched the site, I imagined that everyone would jump at the chance to buy and sell saris. However, I learned that an idea doesn’t grow overnight into a full-fledged business. It takes time and even more hard work than I originally anticipated.

That being said, the most rewarding part has been seeing a tiny idea come to life. After years of working on it, we witnessed the first sale after we launched. It was pretty exciting!

Where do you see LBS in 1 year? 5 years?

Photo source: Little Black Sari

Photo source: Little Black Sari

We would like LBS gain traction and become the go-to place for women to buy and sell South Asian clothing. Moreover, we are continuously evolving and learning from our users, so we also anticipate lots of new changes to the site to add more value to them.
In five years, we hope to become the eBay for South Asian clothing, and work towards our ultimate vision of every girl, regardless of race, religion, or culture having a sari in her closet.

Did you know? Little Black Sari also has some great ‘how-to’ videos on its site for sari tips and tricks! Check out this one below:


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