Flipkart Myntra Flipkart-owned online fashion retailer Myntra plans to start a fashion incubator, reports The Times of India.

According to the report, the incubator will help these entrepreneurs for six months to a year, and may pick up equity stakes for up to a million dollars in the best performing brands. Flipkart-Myntra will select at least 3-5 such brands annually that can also start retailing on other platforms in the future. The first batch is expected to start in July with 20 such entrepreneurs. Myntra will help these upcoming designers by offering them capital, supply chain and distribution platforms.

Abhishek Verma, business head at Myntra said that they’ve roped in mentors for the first batch that includes fashion designers, entrepreneurs and successful names from the business of apparel.

What’s Myntra’s strategy?
Myntra CEO Mukesh Bansal had mentioned earlier this year that Myntra plans to have around 15-20 original fashion brands in the long term. This incubator might be a way to select the best of the lot. He had also said that they have a two-fold strategy for original brands: First, they’re identifying a few brands that have been around for last 18 months with a decent fan base of its own for accelerated growth.

These include brands like Roadster, Dressberry and Anouk. Secondly, they are seeding other brands across various segments wherein they don’t have a “very strong play”. Some of these will be developed by working with celebrities. For instance – a brand for men’s formal wear and a brand for kidswear among others. In the long term, the company hopes to have 15-20 brands, with some playing a niche role and some playing very large roles.

This is about exclusivity?

As Stylista CEO Avnish Chhabria pointed out, e-commerce companies get product differentiation with exclusivity. Most of the big e-commerce players in India are marketplaces, so exclusives are a good way for companies to make themselves standout. When a company is part of the incubator, their products might be exclusive to the platform for a limited while, which is still relevant in fashion vertical where everyone is looking for new cutting edge designs.

Stylista for example, was selling its designs exclusively through Jabong for a few months and it has now started offering its products exclusively on Myntra. With the deal, Stylista might get marketing support from Myntra, while the e-commerce service gets to offer exclusive products that is not available elsewhere online. That being the case, it should be interesting to see how such an incubator affects other fashion retailers.