Online craft marketplace Tjori recently raised $700,000 in a Pre-Series A funding round from investors including senior McKinsey partners and HNIs from India and abroad. With the latest round of funding, it crossed $1 million in total investment from investors in India and the Middle East.The company was started with savings of Rs 10 lakh and now clocks an annual turnover of Rs 50 crore. The company began on a small whiteboard with a huge foresight for the brand, an opportunity which was explored due to the lack of knowledge about the traditional and heritage handicrafts of India on a global platform. The inspiration was Zara, which started from a small boutique in Spain and now has taken over the world of fashion. In an exclusive conversation Mansi Gupta, Co- founder of Tjori talks about growth plans of the company.
What is your assessment about e-commerce market in India? According to you, what are the factors propelling growth in this segment?
I believe the e-commerce market has reached its full potential and the customers know what they want. The growth in this sector is not only limited to tier 1 city but there has been growing acceptance in tier 2 markets as well.
One of the major factors propelling growth in this segment would be greater internet connectivity followed by the easy and affordable access to smartphones, which further increases the online presence of consumers on social media and other relevant sites that have become shopping platforms, the easy return policies, the trust of people and the coming up secured payment gateways, all in all a noticeable increase in data consumption has in turn led to a growing e-commerce market.
Tell us about Tjori.com, how did it start and journey so far? Also tell us about your business model.
Tjori is a multi-category, online-first artisanal ethnic brand that includes apparel, wellness, home for both men and women, & mother and child products. The brand focuses on handmade products or product inspired from the exciting art and crafts culture of India and the goodness of traditional Indian ingredients.
Tjori began on a small whiteboard with a huge foresight for the brand, an opportunity which was explored due to the lack of knowledge about the traditional and heritage handicrafts of India on a global platform. The inspiration was Zara, which started from a small boutique in Spain and now has taken over the world of fashion.
The Journey so far has been amazing. Tjori presently caters to 195 countries across the globe through digital marketing and our e-commerce website.
Business model: It’s a lifestyle brand that stands for the goodness of the ingredients used in products and raw material used in manufacturing with an aspiration to bring handicraft products to a greater height not only within India but outside India.
As of now, how many product categories are operational at Tjori. Going forward, what are the plans to expand the category range? Tell us about your focus category?
We have both fashion and non-fashion categories. Within the fashion category, we have apparel, accessories, footwear for both men and women &within non-fashion, we have, home decor and personal care. Category range more or less will be the same i.e. always be fashion and non-fashion.
Focused category: Fashion apparel, accessories, and personal care.
Have you raised any sorts of funds so far or plan to?
Funding is the most essential part to any start up, although we started the company with a mere 10lakhs,but yes, we have raised funds from different individual and angel investors through the years, while we are already in conversations for our next round.
Who do you see as your biggest competition?
We don’t believe in competition but rather inspirations so if I have to name someone, Fab India is a close one. We are more about modernizing the traditional goodness of India but you can consider Fab India our competition in terms of our product categories, as we are quite similar.
Do you also operate in cross border retail? What kind of opportunities do you see in cross border e-commerce? Do you think policies are in favour as far as cross border retail is concerned?
We are not operating cross-border at the moment, yet the opportunities remain immense.As far as cross border retail is concerned, I think not knowing the nitty gritty of the domain I have zero opinions on their policies, but looking at a few peers who have done it, I believe it won’t be that challenging.
What is your data protection policies to protect sensitive information generating from consumer’s side?
Customer privacy is our priority. All the order related customer information is extensively secured within the database and is not accessible anywhere outside Tjori.
Social media is emerging as a very important part of digital commerce. How are you leveraging the same?
We agree that social media is the new trend, rather a diversification to the field of marketing because that’s where your customers are these days, and hence we extensively market our products through them. Our entire performance marketing runs on social media platforms like Google, Facebook, Instagram,Twitter, Snapchat, WhatsApp etc. and this also remains the primary source of advertising for us.
What is your vision for 2020?
The foresight for the beginning of this new decade of 2020 is to perform well at our e-commerce segment, try and raise a good round of funding and expand into physical retail stores with the help of Central and project eve etc. as a SIS (store in store) model, all ofwhich helps us take the company one step closer to its final goals.