By March, 2016, Bonita will be selling across 35 countries

Retailer media spoke to Umang Srivastava, Joint Managing Director, Bonita India and spoke about the overall market, funding and future plans.
Umang Srivastava, Joint Managing Director, Bonita India

The remarkable new products offered by the company filled a major void in the home utility market that was hitherto driven by generic, low on style products.
Bonita was launched in 2012 by Casa Brands India Pvt Ltd. The brand has been able to offer its innovation through network distributors and around 1000 independent house wares stores across 45 (plus) cities. Besides, Bonita has also tied up with a series of online portals including Snapdeal, Amazon, Pepperfry, PayTM, e-Bay, Home Stop 18, Shopper’s Stop among others, to bring their hot favorite products into the eCommerce domain. The products are also available through all major stores like Hyper City, Home Stop, Home town, Viveks and Lulu Market.
In the short span of three years, the company has determined to cater to the daily needs of a household, and has come to be known for its penchant for innovation, and a wide range of home utility products. Retailer media spoke to Umang Srivastava, Joint Managing Director, Bonita India and spoke about the overall market, funding and future plans.

Explain the company’s current revenue streams and the categories in the home utility segment it is catering to.
Casa Brands India Pvt Ltd initiated operations in the year November, 2010 and the brand Bonita was launched in November, 2012. Brand Bonita is a culmination of the idea of innovation, design and quality under a single banner. Based on the results of an exhaustive study on the home utility segment, it was found that the requirements of the consumers in the industry can be grossly segregated under the four categories of Laundry, Storage, Organising and Kitchen. Taking these categories as the foundation of our brand, we launched several revolutionary products under each category which catered to the individual needs of the consumers. Each of our products caters to a particular need of the consumer and all have been very well received.
Our current revenue streams are from sales across various sales channels viz. traditional distributor/dealer network in India (selling through 1000+ retail stores), modern retail chains like Shoppers Stop, Home Town, Hypercity, Lulu, Viveks, etc., through online websites and TV shopping channels like Snapdeal, Pepperfry, Homeshop 18, and also through corporate tie-ups for consumers offers with brands like Godrej and Bajaj.
We also sell under our own brand, Bonita, in several countries like USA (through various websites like Wayfair, Amazon, Zulily, Bed Bath & Beyond, etc), Europe (Westwing, Deindeal, Vivre) Dubai & UAE (through websites like Wysada & Souq) & Australia/NZ. We have broken even last year and in this year, Bonita will be available through 35 (plus) countries apart from growing depth in India. We already have confirmations from customers in Europe and by March, 2016, Bonita will be selling across 35 countries in total.

This industry is largely unorganised, and people prefer to buy utilities from local players, how, in your view, is the market ready?
We do not buy this as our internal study indicated otherwise. The industry so far consisted primarily of unorganised players who were found to be pushing products which mostly proved to be ineffectual in meeting the entire gamut of requirements of the average consumer. The products were of poor quality and the designs lacked any application of innovation to meet the requirements of the consumer.
Before Bonita, there was no Indian Home Utility brand that provided high quality innovative products. Mostly products available were cheap imitations of Chinese designs. Indian consumer is very well informed and wants branded products that meet their requirements. After the consumer received a choice in the form of higher quality and innovative products from Bonita, consumer preferences have shifted towards the kind of products Bonita introduces in the market, thereby setting the benchmark higher for local players. Thus Bonita has set a new trend when it comes to the kind of products in the Home Utility Segment forcing local players to copy our designs.

What were the challenges faced while introducing the business in the market?
There have been various challenges but the most difficult challenge was to set-up the right team, because we wanted to grow big. . .and so we realised that it will be very important to have the right set of professional team to help us build the organization, and the brand. We were able to accomplish this by bringing in people whom we had worked with in our earlier organizations, and now we have a very strong team which can be the envy of even a mid-sized corporate. The best part is that this team is with us forever as the promise that we have for them is that this is their own company. All team members have their respective expertise and they work independently, and some of them are also a part of the Board of Directors.
The other major challenge was to tie-up with the right partners who had the same vision as our company and ethical standards as ours. Even in this, we took help of our past associations. Our online distributor is a company who was started by an entrepreneur known to us. The third challenge was to have the right supply chain and even in this, we have used professionals who have been associated with us and with this category in the past. We have helped them set-up dedicated factories for Bonita and this way have also helped them become entrepreneurs.

How many retail touch points does the company have?
I have already told you about the dealer, distributor network we operate through and the modern retail store touch points. Apart from that, we have our own brand store in Pune. That store has sparked a lot of interest with entrepreneurs approaching us for franchisees. Bonita is in the process of giving out franchisees across Southern India and will slowly duplicate the process in north, west and eastern parts of India.

Have you been funded or are looking to get funds?
Bonita is in advanced talks to raise Rs 30 crore in Series A or first round of funding. Two venture capital firms will participate in the process and Bonita has signed a non-disclosure agreement with them already.

What are your future (expansion) plans in India?
We have created a range of 80+ products selling across retailers and websites in India. Our brand acceptance has been very good. The customer base consists of top retailers and websites across the world and we already have more than 1000+ retailers, websites and modern retail chains which sell Bonita products. The key would be to create awareness amongst consumers that there are innovative items like ours so that it can spread out to more consumers who will adopt our product range. We also plan to introduce several more products through these existing customers and consolidate our position as the brand leader in that category with that customer. We also plan to increase our customer base as well as geographical reach to 50 countries worldwide and become a global brand. We have setup a sales team across India. We have tied up with NID and NIFT designers, and are already working on creating the next level of designs and products for the consumer. We have also setup the infrastructure for production in India as well as overseas. In short, the foundation for all of this is already set and scaling up will not be difficult.

How has been the response in the online space?
We certainly have a strong presence on all major online platforms like Amazon, Snapdeal, Flipkart, Paytm, Pepperfry, AskMe, Hopscotch and our very own ecommerce platform like Bonita has taken the Home Utility Segment by storm on all major online platforms with excellent response from the customers. This was further substantiated by the excellent customer reviews which customers have posted on these platforms. Our online sales contribute a major chunk of our overall sales.

Umang Srivastava