12 Small Merchants Duking it out for the Big Online Prize

Their success stories are a conclusion of a process that eCommerce companies had set in a motion a decade ago.
SMEs

Retailer picks up some of the hippest online merchants that are successfully selling their wares, even as others are fighting it out.

As the online industry eyes to pick up the pace from a slow trot to hurtle, it is the small retailers and merchants that are giving big uptake to their numbers. At the cusp of a turnaround are many such sellers, who after putting their online shops in order are looking to open their own stores as mandate. Creating niches of their own on portals such as Flipkart, Snapdeal and Amazon (among others), and targeting a revenue that could leave many a brick-and-mortar retailer feeling stifled – their efforts have borne great fruit. Their success stories are a conclusion of a process that eCommerce companies had set in a motion a decade ago.

From Hippest Designs to Functional Wearables: CAMPUS SUTRA
Growing from revenue of Rs 1.65 crore in FY 2013 to Rs 16 crore in FY 2014, Campus Sutra, the travel wear apparel and accessories start-up has sold around 7 lakh products since its inception. Started by Sonal and Khushboo Agarwal, the start-up has initiated talks with investors to raise its first institutional round of funding, and has moved from regular designing of apparel to functional wearable category. Creating buzz in its early years, the brand sells through all eCommerce portals and offline stores as well. About 75-80 per cent of its business comes from online, and the rest through 30 retail touch-points. This year, the brand expects to earn around Rs 40 crore in revenue.

Implementing The Million-Dollar Idea: CHEEKY CHUNK UMBRELLAS 
A self-confessed owner of a company that sells ‘cheeky’ products, Pratik Doshi’s story is that of a lad wising up to life rather early. All of 24 when he started ‘Cheeky Chunk’ – a brand under which he sells umbrellas – in 2014, Pratik has come a long way to selling 30 lakhs worth of umbrellas in two years. Aiming to make carrying an umbrella a swag statement, the brand plans to expand its retail distribution reach around the country to a minimum of 30 stores. With 15 new designs every month, the company has a positive cash cycle and plans to triple the last year’s target of selling 10,000 ‘cheeky’ umbrellas.

An Idea Backed By Industry Stalwart, Ratan Tata: KAARYAH
KAARYAH Lifestyle Solutions Pvt Ltd was launched in 2014 and until May 2015 was completely bootstrapped. After 113 rejections from investors, Nidhi Agarwal, CEO and founder of KAARYAH, pushed its online offspring out onto the street and managed to impress Ratan Tata and later saw Mohan Das Pai, former board member of Infosys and chairman of venture capital firm Aarin Capital, participating in Series-A round of funding. Her eCommerce platform caters to women’s non-casual wear and differentiates by offering 18 sizes for each garment; a decision resulted from Nidhi’s fraught experience while picking up a right-sized shirt. Chasing an ambition to become the largest brand of Western formal wear, Agarwal – introducing 150 new designs every month – claims to ship more than 3,500 orders a month through its website and through marketplaces, including Flipkart, Snapdeal, LimeRoad, Myntra, Jabong and PayTM.

XIAOMI’S Bountiful Commitment: Make Phones In India In 2016
The third-largest online phone seller in India – that in just 18 months after its first sale – Xiaomi’s position in the country keeps getting better. Plus, online sales are now 30 percent of the market, up from 10 percent of the market before Xiaomi arrived.  The China phone-maker shipped 1.5 million smartphones to India in the fourth quarter of calendar 2015, and has decided to manufacture phones here along with its partner Foxconn. Its latest Mi 5, which was unveiled on 24 February at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona could be coming to India soon, which means the country forms a large part of phone-maker’s Global focus. Even though the market has a penchant for the company’s low-priced Redmis, the sheer size of the market here that keeps the smart-phone major excited is rather flattering.

How BREAKBOUNCE Brought The Online Business Offline
It was in 2012 that Sanjeev Mukhija, Founder of Goldenseam Industries Pvt. Ltd and Managing Director of Goldenseam Industries Pvt. Ltd and MD of Breakbounce, decided to seek online exposure in the apparel space and partnered with Myntra with his ‘streetwear’ brand, Breakbounce and three years later opened his first exclusive brand outlet in Vadodara, with a plan to open a few more this year. Breakbounce is a streetwear brand with a philosophy based on discovery, individualism, positivity and expression. The one thing he knew for sure about the perks of being online: It’s a play-land for the right product. By the end of fiscal 2016, the company would do a business worth Rs.50 Cr., says Mukhija. Currently Breakbounce is at 140 (plus) doors and plans to be at 200 (plus) doors by next fiscal year.

Expanding Ecommerce Presence And Enabling Omni-Channel: 612 IVY LEAGUE
To leverage Omni-channel for their strong brick-and-mortar presence, the home-grown kids apparel brand Indian Clothing League, which retailer two major brands – 612 Ivy League and Baby League – started its own eCommerce platform last year, years after being dedicated to selling on the Web through third party eCommecre marketplaces. Currently, it has 32 brick-and-mortar stores, which it plans to take to 100 by 2017, says its Managing Director, Manu Indrayan. Indian Clothing League also sells products through 300 points of sale across 80 cities, besides large format retail chains like Shoppers Stop.

It’s Not About Top Lines or the Bottom Ones, It’s About Changing The Game: NCASE
Priya Encase Pvt Ltd, which grossed Rs 15 Crore in sales in FY15, manufactures and sells fashion-forward premium cases, covers and accessories of smart-phones by the name of ‘NCase’, with its largest markets in eCommerce portals. For customers who still like to browse the old-fashioned way, it supports its selling with over 3000 retail touch points across the country. Founded in 2011 by Raman Vaid, it took just 4 years to reinforce what the company is all about: phone indulgences at affordable prices. In 2015, it sold 4,000 cases a day as against 400-odd cases in its launch year. The company also has tie-ups with modern retail stores, with a large chunk of the sale coming from Spice Retail outlets.

Sometimes The Tries And True Works Best: DMP CARRY CASES’ BLEU
Established in the year 2004, DMP Carry Cases originally made laptop bags for equipment manufacturers such as Sony and Samsung. Yogesh Wadhwa couldn’t be more pleased when these companies stopped making laptops and the idea to start ‘Bleu’, a company owned brand of bags and luggage, struck his mind. Operating from a mezzanine floor in Jhandewalan, Delhi, the brand sells over 200 products on regular days across all major online portals. On good days, the company sells about 1,000 pieces of products, including laptop bags, designer laptop bags, school bags, travel bags, trolley bags, executive bags, canvas bags, duffle bags and many more.

Saumya Gupta’s TEN ON TEN Success With Online Retailing
When Saumya Gupta moved to the US to study flying, she knew she’d make her parents proud by choosing a career that doesn’t usually go a long way with most women. Come 2008, the industry hit a wall on several fronts and Saumya had her dreams shattered. She took up a call centre job until she set up an apparel business ‘Ten on Ten’ in the garage of her parent’s home in Mumbai. The brand started with its online business with Fashion and You and later expanded onto the entire batch of eCommmerce marketplaces.

Seven years later, the business that sold its first lot of 30 designs for Rs 1 lakh, saw the brand grow 150 per cent every year. Numerous retail touch points, two corporate offices and a strong online presence later, Ten on Ten is clocking about 1.25 crore every month, and close to 15 crore annually.

CLOVIA Cashing In On Unprecedented Growth In The Lingerie And Sleepwear Segment
One of the fastest growth stories in the online lingerie space is husband-wife duo, Neha Kant and Pankaj Vermani’s Cloe (now Clovia). Friends Aditya Chaturvedi and Suman Choudhry also form the core team of members in the Ivy Cap Ventures-funded women-wear brand. Founded three years ago, the brand boasts of the widest variety of designs across price points. Clovia is run by a leading online-first lingerie and sleepwear brand in India, Purple Panda Fashions Pvt. Ltd. The company was earlier incubated at Mountain Apollo India.

Clovia’s growth numbers have been strong, especially after the Series-A funding secured last year, they have achieved 100 per cent growth every quarter over the last one year. The lingerie retail market in India is currently estimated at an approximate Rs 15,000 crore. It is expected to grow two times over and capture a market size worth Rs 30,000 crore by 2018. Clovia offers more than 200 styles per month and it will be seen in offline stores too in the near future.

A 3-Year-Old Start-Up Vouching For A 200-Cr Turnover: ORGANIC HARVEST
Organic Harvest, a boot-strapped venture that has created a niche in organic products market by offering high quality products, has plans to add 4 more stores to the current batch of 8 stores across India. The brand boasts of an entire range of organic skin care, body care and hair care product lines on offer to the consumers. Rahul Agarwal, CEO of Organic Harvest is believed to have undertaken a thorough research before launching the brand in the market in 2013. But Agarwal is not resting on his laurels. Looking to achieve a turnover of 200 crores in FY17, Agarwal plans to invest 65 crores to aid their physical expansion goals, aside from strengthening their channels of distribution in general and modern trades.

Organic Food: NATURALLY YOURS
Founded by husband and wife duo Vinod Kumar and Priya Prakash in 2010, Naturally Yours offers a platform for consumers to buy organic food products. The team works with hundreds of organic farmers and farmer groups across India to build a strong, reliable and ever expanding farmer network. The passion for organic and natural products has propelled Naturally Yours’ growth from a single store in Mumbai to a premier online portal with services over 3000 pin-codes across India. The venture has more than 100 products in over 14 categories under its brand name, which sells on portals like Amazon, Flipkart, Shopclues, Healthkart, Pepperfry and many more. It also sells its products from its own website.

One of the leading brands on Amazon India in their health and gourmet section executing over 2,000 orders per month and seeing this increasing over 30-40 per cent month-on-month, Naturally Yours is majorly dealing in categories like Super Foods, Rice & Millets, Pastas, Organic Gifting, Seeds and Nuts, and so on.

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