Are you a trend watcher? Does the world of fashion attract you? If the answer is yes, then you are among those who either know everything about the space or look at it in awe, but are not completely sure of your style quotient. You should check out Voonik.com, a site that tells you what will look good on you, what you should wear, which accessories can you match with and so on. Voonik is a kind of online personal stylist that handpicks the best clothes for you, based on your body type and style preferences. It provides instant recommendations from stylists on what kind of clothes will suit the buyer, how to wear them, and what to pair them with. It also provides daily recommendations on what to wear from the customer’s personal wardrobe.
Voonik is started by Sujayath Ali, CEO & co-founder and Navaneetha Krishnan CTO & co-founder. Sujayath is an ISB Alumni and has worked with Visa and Amazon in the past. While Navaneeth has been involved with startups for more than 12 years now. Some of his earlier stints have been with Zoho, Aryaka and Fresh Desk. Both of them are classmates and came together to start the venture.
Besides the co-founders, the Voonik team has two more developers and two stylists on the team. On average, every team member brings more than 10 years of experience, says Sujayath.
Sujayath says Voonik is primarily a data company that happens to be in the eCommerce domain. “It was a personal pain point that my wife never approved of my dressing and honestly I did not know which clothes would suit me. I moved to premium brands, tried trendy clothes, followed celebrities’ styles, but nothing worked. Thus came the idea for Voonik where we can learn from the user’s data to recommend clothing based on their body type and style preferences,” he explains.
The site is targeting the Indian online apparel & lifestyle market, which is pegged at $500 million, growing at 50% CAGR.
Visitors who come to the site can check out the products on site and based on the recommendations by the professional stylists they can also purchase the products from the site at the lowest price. Sujayath says they are the first of their kind in the market currently.
While they do recommend styles and clothes, there is no need for the user to upload his picture or video, because the Voonik team relies on data analysis to come up with answers. While registering, the user has to provide inputs such as body type, skin tone, relevant occasions etc which is then analysed at the backend to give a suitable recommendation to the user. The Voonik team also learns through the customer behaviour while he is online – what are the items they click, where do they spend more time – such metrics are useful in predicting the user’s style preferences. “After they make a purchase, we learn much more including their fit, how it looked when they wore it etc. Some users also upload their pictures and ask for specific recommendations,” explains Sujayath.
Sheetal and Bhavya are the two stylists who work with the site. Between them, the duo bring in more than 20 years experience in personal styling and help in making the right recommendations for users.
The site mostly attracts females, aged between 18 to 30 from North India. And though they also cater to men, women have been at the forefront of adopting the service. Sujayath says they have sold more than 250 items in June and are on track to sell 500 items in July.
Sujayath says they are quite enthused about the response they have received since starting up in March this year. Voonik he claims has already got more than 1 lakh visits and has 10,000 registered users. The site currently relies on Facebook to get its traffic and Sujayath says, the platform has proven to be a good marketing channel for them.
“We are happy that our registered users spend more than 19 minutes per visit which is the highest in the industry. Our sales and revenue are growing 100% month-over-month. And our next milestone is to achieve 100,000 users and Rs 10 Crores in sales in the next 6-8 months,” says Sujayath ambitiously. The venture makes money from the purchases of different products done through the site. Entropy, Sangria, Anouk, Aurelia and ALMA are among the popular brands sold on site.
Sujayath and Navaneeth have bootstrapped the venture, but are now on the look out for their first round of funding to scale up the venture. One major hurdle they have faced in the progress so far is the negative perception about eCommerce in India. However Sujayath says they have managed to break through the barrier because of the rich data they have about the site and user behavior, which he considers to be a definite edge they have. “Scaling orders without spending has become difficult as eCommerce firms are burning a lot of cash. It requires a lot of patience and a different way of thinking and it was difficult in the beginning to get to this mind set,” says Sujayath.