E-commerce has followed a cyclical wave form over the last few years. The boom of 2011 followed by a sudden slump and now some strong consolidation. There are a lot of eCommerce stores across sectors operating on different philosophies! For Dipankar Mukherjee and Nitin Gupta, they long for an alternate e-commerce environment for affordable, high quality and original design. Brainstorming over the years, they, along with Nitya Gupta, decided to come up with DaFlokk, a democratic design retailer offering a global showcase of avant-garde design and art at affordable prices. It is a culmination of ideas and thoughts over four years of coffee and lager.
“We believe that everyone deserves to own and use well-designed, high quality, original products without having to pay through the nose for it. And we achieve that by giving a platform to the finest emerging talent in the world and allowing them to work at their own pace,” explains Dipankar. The upcoming designers are empowered as they get the freedom to maintain low inventories or manufacture on order. DaFlokk also mentors them to get their processes right and go to market quickly.
“Our approach is quite different from the prevalent fast food culture in e-commerce. We don’t want to get into the price wars,” says Dipankar. He mentions three key aspects of DaFlokk:
a. Shoppers get access to contemporary design and art in the world.
b. DaFlokk.com is a store and a journal at the same time. The journal takes shoppers behind the scenes to know the designers and experience the process of their creation through features, photo-essays, interviews and videos. It also provides a commentary on the global design and art scene, keeping shoppers abreast of the latest products.
c. Only original work gets showcased on DaFlokk.
Based out of twin offices in Goa and Delhi, DaFlokk has 20 designers and artists live on the website, with 15 more to be launched over the next few weeks. “Being in Goa helps us stay connected with the four design hubs of India — Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Pune and Bangalore. Goa is also an easy destination to convince international designers to travel to,” says Dipankar. DaFlokk works on a transaction-based commission model. This is supplemented by their portfolio representation services, where they bag design projects, large custom orders and private commissions for the talent showcased on the website.
DaFlokk.com is looking to become the go-to destination for luxury hoteliers, premium real estate developers, collectors and HNIs for seeking the best design and art talent in the world. Besides these, a subscription-based concierge service is also on the cards. This will give members access to private DaFlokk design events and auctions, offer free personalisation on purchases, enable early preview of new collections, and many more unique features.
There have been a few startups which we covered recently like Glitstreet and Qreoh which give a platform to upcoming designers. For the trio at DeFlokk, design is very personal. “The three of us have have been blessed with great mentors when we needed them the most. DaFlokk is our way of giving back to the design & art community what we received in abundance,” says Dipankar. A strong belief in the power of democratic design and in the need to make art accessible to more people is one of the core values behind DaFlokk as well. DaFlokk intends to work very closely with designers, and in the days to come talent mentoring is also likely to become a dedicated function of DaFlokk.