India has a lot of innovation and craftsmanship that regularly get sidelined from the mainstream due to the lack of right resources and tools available to the business owners. The market gap is undeniably huge in this aspect. Any business that serves to fill the gap while providing a unique value proposition to its consumers is set to excel.
Delhi-based brand Gharobaar has been using the dropshipping model (B2C) to make the best of this opportunity by connecting many artisans with their consumers. In its first year of operations, the company has been able to onboard around 500 registered sellers and is working with sellers in 23 states across India (majorly from the Tier-I cities).
Sakshi Aggarwal, Founder, Gharobaar stated, “Gharobaar is a curated marketplace primarily for small home-run businesses who you call ‘homepreneurs’. To have a platform where both buyers and sellers can come together and you get good quality handmade stuff at a reasonable price, that's how Gharobaar came about.”
Betting Big on Dropshipping
Dropshipping is a retail fulfillment method in which a store doesn’t keep the products it sells in the stock. Rather, it purchases the item from a third party and ships it directly to the customer. The benefit is that the seller doesn’t have to handle the product directly.
In the case of Gharobaar, the product goes from one home to another. Hence, the concept of ‘homepreneurs’ - business owners or entrepreneurs who are running their business from their homes. For the supply chain side, Gharobaar has tied up with shipping companies that take care of their packaging and courier.
On how the brand started, Aggarwal stated, “The inspiration for the brand and for setting up Gharobaar during the pandemic of 2020 was when we saw a lot of people are working from home who started a new business from home and was good at the work they do like cooking, painting, handicrafts but they did not have the means or the business acumen to set up a business."
Handling shipping, packaging, reaching out to consumers, etc. has always been a challenge for the businesses during their initial period. In many cases, craftsmen just want to focus on building their craftwork and outsource the rest of the value chain. Gharobaar understands this very well.
“We give a platform where sellers would list their products and then we promote it and get buyers on the portal. They place an order – the order is picked up directly from the seller's place and delivered directly to the buyer,” she shared.
Also, the company informed, that so far the response from the seller's side has been very positive. "In fact, I think touchwood, whoever we have spoken to about or shared this concept with or the onboard people who we discussed have got a very good response. Even from the buyer's side, we got a very good response in terms of a) the theme and b) the product quality," she added.
"Also, sellers are very happy since a lot of them had issues particularly when they worked with bigger established platforms because just the requirements to set up on some of them are very difficult," she further added.
Right now, the company is bootstrapped but is looking to raise funds post-testing a few other business models, the company reported.
Currently, from offering products in home decor, art, gifting, and stationery categories, the brand has also ventured into the household, food, and personal care segments.
Awareness Among Sellers and Buyers
What is usually seen in this sector of small business owners and craftsmen who make products at a small level, is that their products are bought by MNCs and then sold under their brand. In the process, the craftsman does not get any recognition and often gets a meager amount as compared to the market rate.
Understanding this issue, Gharobaar not only helps the sellers sell their products but builds their brand as well in the process.
"We tie-up with these businesses and facilitate their journey. We help them in their photography (for instance, product photography), in promotions, and in setting their business on our website," she asserted
"Then we try to promote their brand and get more sales for their products," she added.
Gharobaar in fact strongly relies upon its customer service, which it believes is top-notch. The brand in fact speaks to sellers directly informing them about the platform and work they are doing. The company also conducts offline promotional events to bring awareness among its buyers and sellers.
"When someone has made a purchase: we try target marketing, email marketing, there are specific products that are targeted to specific buyers. We have also started WhatsApp marketing. The offline model has also worked well for us. When we organized these events, the entire event is organized under Gharobaar name so when people are coming they are coming to a Gharobaar event. They get to know what this portal is about, these are the available products, and so on," she elaborated.
Besides, the brand is very active on Facebook and Instagram where it keeps posting new products, and stores of new sellers, and also promotes brands separately.
The brand is further looking to explore other categories say the home cooks category where it can provide daily meals and specials and food which is made fresh from home and not restaurant food.