Wanna Wrap a Sari? There’s an App for That!

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By Anjum Choudhry Nayyar

Of all the things we should have made more time to learn as women, it’s the art of putting on a sari. If you’re like me, it took years to get it right and even then it takes a really long time! With two kids in tow, the last thing I want to do is put on a sari on night out. I’d rather put on a two-piece and call it a day. Recently I came across an app, and found there was indeed an app for my sari woes. The Sari App, available for $0.99 on iTunes, was developed by Bhavna Sharma and her husband Siddarth Banerjee. She says the app was featured in the ‘New and Noteworthy’ section of iTunes India Store (Lifestyle category). It also became #4 Top Paid app during the initial launch and has been downloaded 1,800 times. The Sari App is the first app on Sari draping on any mobile platform. We had a chance to ask her about the inspiration for the app and what it is able to offer users.

1) What inspired you to launch this app?

I’d answer this question in 2 parts. One-What inspired me to pick the subject of a sari manual? And Two- Why the choice of using the mobile platform? For the first part: While I was away from India, I got asked many times to demonstrate to my curious western friends, how to drape the Indian national costume- the Sari. And since I was ignorant about it, I turned to online video sharing sites and ultimately a skype video call with my mum to save face. This got me thinking about why didn’t I and many of my Indian friends, bother to learn the drape. And off the many reasons that sprung up were- failure to recognize the glamour quotient in a sari for younger/ single women and the sheer absence of a sari draping manual-on-the-go. So no manual- meant reduced interest in sporting the sari in its trendy avatars and this is exactly what I wanted to change. A quick survey highlighted an increasing need for a beautifully shot, well-executed manual that also helped to revive the sari’s sexy image the world over. And now to answer the second part of the question: The growing popularity of mobile apps, was a clear sign of the times, indicating that everyone is consuming technology based on personal needs and convenience. Moreover, last year when my husband and me had just relocated to Mumbai from London, we weren’t really sure about the Indian appetite for iOSapps, so we launched our first app MeterDown and it received a stupendous response from audiences here. This helped me go ahead with an app version of the sari manual.

2) What can the Sari App do?

The Sari App educates one about the sari and it teaches the user to drape a sari in 5 easy steps, via an easy yet comprehensive video tutorial as well as a text & illustration guide. That aside, the app has a very popular FAQ section that covers all sorts of queries regarding the sari drape and it further interacts with users by allowing them to tweet their query for a real time response.

3) Why is something like a mobile app helpful for those interested in wearing saris?

Mobile apps and their consumption is a product of the times we live in. Since the explosion of mobile apps- the user’s convenience and need has gained center focus. So in such a backdrop, I realized the best way to address a market need of a sari manual should be undertaken by using the most popular medium of the day- the mobile. And since my app is targeted to women abroad, who fancy a sari drape, but don’t have, any assistance to drape one this is app is easy to use. Women are increasingly tech savvy and to tie in all the factors surrounding their lifestyle, it was almost long overdue to create what turned out to be the first sari manual on the mobile platform.

4) What kind of a demand is there for something like this?

The app was initially designed keeping in mind Indian expat women overseas. Catering to women typically on the move and who admire world cultures and fancy the sari drape. But I was pleasantly surprised to find the app becoming the talk of the town among young women in India itself. And their demand for non-regional drapes was very unexpected and come December, we will be ready to roll out our next upgrade with more stylized western drapes, a Buyers’ guide and couple of more intriguing sections.

5) Who can use this app?

For starters users of an iphone or iPad can buy this app. The app is used by those women who love the sari and would like to learn to drape one themselves in innovative western styles.

For more info or to purchase the app visit the itunes store here.

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