Blending Fashion and Technology
Imagine two siblings with totally opposite personalities and career trajectories come together and ideate a business. One can imagine the fights, the tantrums, and the clash of thoughts.
But on this occasion of Raksha Bandhan, let us take you through the story of two siblings who found one common thread and built a successful business around it.
They are the sibling duo behind Hilo Design, a unique fashion brand that brings style and technology together.
Sahith’s journey began with studying electronics and communications at Osmania University, and later, he earned an MBA in Marketing from the FMS, Delhi.
He then worked largely in the Fintech – most importantly with PayTm – where he launched Retail Banking in PayTm Payment Bank in the capacity of a product manager.
Mouna, his sister, studied interior design at Pearl Academy and became a stylist for celebrities. She understood the world of fashion like the back of her hand.
When Sahith was in his first year of MBA, he and his sister had lots of ideas. One of these ideas was to create something like LinkedIn for designers. It would be a special place where all kinds of designers could show their work and connect with people who like their stuff.
Without even realizing it, both Sahith and Mouna really liked the world of design, even though it was a bit unorganised sector. Luckily, Mouna knew a lot about how things worked in that area.
In 2019, Sahith and Mouna brainstormed a lot and thought about what they could do together. They figured out that they wanted to make something great.
And by the end of that year, they had a plan ready and started what we now know as Hilo Design.
The name “Hilo” means “thread” in Spanish, like the thread that holds clothes together.
Sahith explained that they saw a big gap in the market. There were cost-effective clothes and expensive designer clothes, but not much in between.
In a conversation with Startup Pedia, Sahith explains, “When we looked at the apparel wear market, it was divided into two large segments: affordable lack design and if they are designer then they are costly. There was a huge gap and an opportunity in between. To provide aesthetic designer wear at affordable pricing – that became the USP of Hilo Design.”
Hilo Design is not just an ordinary fashion brand. It’s a place where technology meets fashion in a cool way. They make clothes that fit perfectly for men.
Their website is a place where you can find clothes that are just right for you. They have all sorts of styles, from everyday casual to special occasion wear, and they’re all made with care by skilled makers.
What sets Hilo Design apart is its commitment to a design-driven inventory model. Instead of relying on heavy inventory, the brand focuses on agility and innovation. Hilo continuously releases fresh designs and successful ones are turned into inventory models, ensuring customers have access to the latest trends.
This integration of design and technology has been pivotal in the brand’s growth.
Hilo Design’s Growth Trajectory and Collaborations
Hilo’s journey has been one of steady growth and innovation. The brand recently teamed up with Myntra, bringing its bestseller designs to a wider audience. Categories like weddings, casual wear, and formal attire have found their place in the spotlight.
Additionally, Hilo Design is set to make its debut on Amazon.com, expanding its reach even further in the USA markets.
Marketing for Hilo Design has primarily been driven by word of mouth, celebrity styling, and influencer endorsements. Specially designed for one of Tollywood’s biggest hits in 2022 – Dj Tillu.
This organic approach has resonated with customers, contributing to the brand’s success. In its first year of operation, Hilo Design achieved revenues of Rs 30 lakhs in FY 19-20, which climbed to Rs 70 lakhs in FY 20-21, and an impressive Rs 1.5 crore in FY 21-22.
That’s a lot of growth!
Sahith and Mouna Gummadi: The Sibling Duo Driving Hilo Design’s Success
Hilo Design’s secret ingredient is Sahith and Mouna Gummadi’s strong bond as brother and sister. They know each other well, and that helps them work together even better.
“Working with my brother has been fun. We’re good at different things, and that makes Hilo special,” Mouna says.
Hilo tried something exciting by showing their most popular clothes in a pop-up at their office. Lots of people really liked it, and this helped them understand how important it is to have a real store too. They’re planning an omnichannel expansion and plan to open a retail store in Hyderabad soon.
Sahith and Mouna Gummadi’s entrepreneurial endeavor has not gone unnoticed. The duo secured pre-seed funding from Renu Satti – Ex COO of Paytm, and Vamsi Kotte – Founder & CEO – of Syntizen
Additionally, they have also raised USD 100K from prominent investors, including – Rahul Mathur – Founder & CEO at Verak (YC W21), Amit Veer – Co-founder & CEO at Coffeee.io, Rakesh Routhu – COO & Co-Founder – of Aerologix Technology, Shravan Jilla – Vice President – of Markets Treasury, Ravi Varma Datla
VP Digital Products, MasterCard, and Sajal Bhatnagar – Business & Product
@AlloBank and other investors.
1. What is Hilo Design?
HILO Design is an online and offline brand that produces designer clothing. HILO Design thinks that make-on-order and connecting customers with knowledgeable designers are the keys to creating sustainable fashion and helping customers create the ideal wardrobe.
2. What are the products offered by Hilo Design?
Hilo Design is a fashion brand that mainly deals with men’s designer clothes. They sell a variety of items, including Indo westerns, blazers, shirts, kurtas, sherwanis, and Nehru jackets.
3. Has Hilo Design raised any funds?
Yes, Hilo Design has raised funds totalling USD 100K from investors such as Rahul Mathur (Founder & CEO at Verak), Amit Veer (Co-founder & CEO at Coffeee.io), Rakesh Routhu (COO and co-founder of Aerologix Technology), Shravan Jilla (Vice President at Markets Treasury), Ravi Varma Datla (VP Digital Products at MasterCard), and Sajal Bhatnagar (Business & Product).