Block Hop Looks To Build Beyond Maternity On Bamboo Cotton Core

Block Hop Looks To Build Beyond Maternity On Bamboo Cotton Core

Co-founder of the maternity wear brand Ankieta Kothari reveals that it will soon be available at offline multi-brand stores and explains the portfolio expansion in the works. 

Gokul KrishnamoorthyUpdated: Monday, February 19, 2024, 01:10 PM IST
article-image
Ankieta Kothari & Natasha Agarwal |

On maternity wear brand Block Hop’s website, one can shop by fabric. The two options that drop down are ‘Organic Bamboo Cotton’ and ‘Organic Cotton Muslin’. The first option under another ‘Shop By’ tab is ‘Bestsellers’ followed by ‘Photoshoot Dresses’ and a few others. In essence, what the brand seeks to bring to expecting mothers is encapsulated in these options: a fabric that lends itself to comfort when they most need it, fashionably and sustainably. 

Sustainability is in focus not just in the choice of fabric but also in the longevity of the products, explains Ankieta Kothari, who co-founded the brand along with childhood friend Natasha Agarwal. According to the company’s website, ‘the brand came into being essentially after coming across their own motherhood journeys, and the lack of options for basic essentials’. Block Hop, which was into categories like nightwear earlier, made the pivot to focus on maternity wear in December 2022.

“We felt it (maternity wear) was a niche that had not been penetrated well enough. And it was born of a personal need,” says Kothari. 

The material ensures that the maternity wear is naturally stretchy, explains the Block Hop site, allowing it to accommodate the changing shape and size of the body during pregnancy – and beyond. The range promises to not just help expecting mothers show off their bump fashionably and comfortably, but is designed for use post delivery being nursing friendly, and even after that as regular wear. 

Kothari notes, “After pregnancy, it takes a year for the body to go back; in fact you never go back because the body changes. All our outfits can be worn post maternity and they will look just like loungewear. We want to extend the value of the outfit.”

Also in the brand’s portfolio are twinning sets for mother and child, kidswear like pajamas and items like quilts, complementing the maternity offerings. 

Selling Online and Off

Besides being sold online on the brand’s website, an online search reveals that the brand is also available on portals like Ogaan, OneGreen, Amazon and KaariMarket. Block Hop’s maternity wear will be available offline at a physical multi-brand store focused on the space in about three months, in the national capital. It will mark the start of the brand’s physical distribution.

“We will be part of other stores, instead of launching our own stores,” notes Kothari.The focus will be on being in environments focused on maternity.  

Online, the initial sales numbers showed a skew towards the North, reveals the content specialist who turned entrepreneur. “Now I see sales from everywhere but there’s still a strong contribution from the North,” she adds.

The top cities by sales for Block Hop are Mumbai, NCR, Bengaluru, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Gorakhpur and Chennai, in that order. 

In an indicator that the brand wants to cater to all ‘Indias’, Block Hop also offers ‘Modest Maternity Wear’ as a category on its site for the more orthodox.   

What could explain the high North numbers? Kothari offers one explanation. “In the North it’s also about showing off your bump and wearing clothes that allow you to do that stylishly. We see it in the kind of photo shoots and content that is posted online. From newborn photo shoots, we now see a strong trend of maternity photo shoots,” she offers.

Block Hop is also seeing traction beyond the metros, which still account for a majority of the orders. Significantly, the order value goes up when it comes to non-metros, explains the Co-founder.

“We are also seeing a lot of orders from places like Vadodara. And the order value does end up being higher. While the order value in Delhi is Rs.3,000 to Rs.4,000, in Vadodara it goes up to Rs.15,000. Perhaps it has to do with the scarcity of such products in those markets,” she says.

Growth Pangs

Till date, the brand has relied on the influencer marketing and word-of-mouth routes that lend themselves well to the category, notes Kothari.

She explains, “It’s about the category. In maternity, you always make that first call to a friend.” 

Come 26th February, Block Hop will be part of textile expo Bharat Tex in the national capital. The objective is to showcase its offerings and target the export market. Another avenue for growth is expanding the portfolio. 

In an interview to The Free Press Journal in May 2023, Kothari had revealed plans for an athleisure collection made with bamboo fabric. That is in the works and in the testing phase. 

“Athleisure as a category requires a lot of stretch. We are still trying to find the right material to mix with bamboo cotton to create those products. If you look at a lot of ‘Made in India’ athleisure products, the mix will be polyester or nylon. We do not want to go that route,” explains Kothari, underlining the intent to not dilute the brand’s core.

Block Hop sold a considerable amount of kidswear and loungewear during Covid, she reveals. Another category on offer from the brand is muslin dresses, which came about to cater to more conservative mothers-to-be.

There are some ‘big categories’ like nursing bras and innerwear in bamboo cotton that Block Hop will be looking at. The kidswear available from Block Hop now is made from certified organic cotton. Eventually, the brand will look to launch products for ages 1 to 3 years, 3 to 6 years and so on in bamboo cotton. 

“We have found our specialisation with bamboo cotton. If we could crack maternity wear, we can make other products with this material,” surmises Kothari.  

RECENT STORIES

Heads Up! Pet Lover In The House

Heads Up! Pet Lover In The House

All About Chocolate

All About Chocolate

Financial Institutions Are Adopting Sonic Identities; Here's Why

Financial Institutions Are Adopting Sonic Identities; Here's Why

Is Advertising Dying? Age Of Irrelevance And White Noise

Is Advertising Dying? Age Of Irrelevance And White Noise

Founder Of Abcoffee, Abhijeet Anand Is Full Of Beans

Founder Of Abcoffee, Abhijeet Anand Is Full Of Beans