Washingtonians ArtiAnand and OmaiUshalraj are making custom-fit apparel more convenient and affordable with their start-up, Numari.
ArtiAnand and KomalKushalraj’s company, Numari, lets women tailor sophisticated businesswear to their personal styles and preferred cuts.
It is a conundrum with which many women are familiar: discovering a dress that is almost perfect. But for Numari founders and DC-area residents KomalKushalraj and ArtiAnand, raising a hemline or adding sleeves to one of their designs is far from a hassle. In fact, it’s an integral part of their business model.
The idea for their line of customizable dresses first began percolating when the two friends—both with MBAs—discovered their mutual interest in the influence of technology on fashion. Inspired by brands such as Warby Parker and Rent the Runway, they noticed a sizable hole in fashionable women’s clothing that was also easily tailored to each individual. In October 2012, over a glass of wine and stacks of notes, Numari—a portmanteau of nuovo, meaning “new” in Italian, and almari, Hindi for “closet”—was created. “We’re building a brand that’s really redefining a woman’s wardrobe into better-fitting, more functional clothes,” Anand says.
The process is very straightforward: Customers browse the dress designs online, choose their favorite, and then customize both the length and sleeves. Each woman’s exact measurements are sent along with the order to ensure a perfect fit. Incredibly, the total turnaround time is only three weeks, and the garments range in price from $160 to $235.
The resulting product is sophisticated and in tune with current trends. “Komal and I come from the consulting world, so much of the line is day-tonight career wear. It’s aimed at the professional woman,” Anand says. Correspondingly, the color palette consists mostly of neutral tones like black, navy, and camel. “Our line is all about minimalistic, chic, and classic styles, with just a little bit of edge,” Kushalraj adds. “Our customer is a fashion-forward woman who appreciates great cuts and quality fabrics.” Many of the dresses use pontediroma fabric: “It looks chic, and it’s very comfortable,” Anand says of the material.
While a brick-and-mortar location isn’t in the works just yet, sales thus far have been good. “The goal is to grow in a controlled way, where we’re still delivering that great customer experience,” Anand says. As for who those future customers may be? “The first lady would be fantastic!” she laughs. “She is a smart, powerful woman with a really strong sense of style, who also resides in the nation’s capital. She would be one that we’d love to dress.”