Social media has opened a whole new world of Indian designers, brands and labels. We have unlimited inspiration for clothes, jewellery and accessories.
Thanks to Instagram shopping and what's app - labels that were previously only accessible in India are now relatively easy to order from and will ship worldwide.
If you’ve spotted something you love on social media here’s how to go about it and what to watch out for.
1. Go directly to the brands Instagram page to order and check credibility.
The page that has uploaded it should have tagged them for due credit. If it’s clearly someone else’s image and they are branding it as their own work or replica consider it your first red flag!
Once you have your eye on something, it's important to make sure you are dealing directly with the brand, it ensures the product will be genuine and you usually get the best price as there is no middle man.
2. Contact Method
The brands page will usually list their preferred method of contact or have their own website.
If they have a website you can be quite confident in your order, provided they offer international shipping and conventional payment methods.
If it's not listed go ahead and direct message them and expect a reply within 24 hours.
If you don't here from them straight away, take it as your first warning sign that perhaps they aren't experienced in handling online enquiries. I would stay clear from businesses with a slow response time.
3. If asked to be contacted by What's App don’t be dettered.
It is often easier to liaise and convey the outfit or piece of jewellery you are referring to. Plus stores are often more than happy to send you similar styles or pictures of things not advertised on their pages.
For example when I ordered my jewellery from Fooljhadi I was able to message the owner directly for headpiece suggestions in my budget to match the earrings I liked. She then offered to customize a piece to match. It's also great for answering all your questions!
Remember a lot of them are small businesses and the majority of their business is face to face so don't be deterred if they don't have a fancy website.
4. Ask lots of questions
If they don’t have a website chances are you don’t have a clear product description and are just going off an image.
Imagine your ordering off ASOS, you would want to know the fabric, the type of embroidery and the delivery time frame. This is key for online shopping to ensure you are getting exactly what is pictured.
Likewise with jewellery - ask the material , the plating, the size dimensions.
In my experience they have always been helpful and happy to answer these types of questions to gain your business.
5. Determine the processing time and shipment method
The average time frame is 6-8 weeks for custom pieces. If it’s a piece off the rack 2-3 weeks is reasonable.
Give a date required at least two weeks before the actual date - especially if it’s an outfit for an important function!
Most companies based in India ship with DHL and it's very efficient (this may differ during COVID though so allow extra time).
6. Clarify the payment method
This is where you need to be really careful. Experienced vendors will use a reliable and traceable payment method such as Paypal or Worldremit.
Do not agree to direct transfer, it can be difficult to trace if it goes to the wrong account and you have no safe guard.
If it’s a customised piece I’d ask to pay a deposit and the balance once the outfit has been received
Lastly determine the price in the currency you are transferring from - you don't want to transfer $100 only for the vendor to be unsatisfied they didn't receive the correct amount in rupees due to the exchange rate.
It may seem like a lot of hassle, but if you are using a well known brand or label, you shouldn't run into any problems. Likewise if they have online shopping setup or you are using a multi-designer site like those listed in my previous blog its quite easy to order
If it feels off from the get go or raises any of the red flags I mentioned, steer clear and look for another site to order from
If you feel a bit overwhelmed with the process or need help curating online outfits check out my styling services