Maya Hari, Founder, www.stylkist.com

By Team YS|26th Jun 2009
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Most people, when shopping for home have a certain amount of difficulty finding one of a kind products. Let’s be frank, if you can find something in the market, chances are that at least one person you know will have the same product. For the discerning shopper looking for exclusivity and great taste, Maya Hari has a range that would spoil you for choice. Maya Hari started up Stylkist.com an e-commerce and retail company stirred by the brands she saw while living abroad. She says

 “During my time living abroad, I have had a chance to experience several retail and e-commerce brands focused around modern decor and lifestyle products - Eg: Crate & Barrel, Pottery Barn, Francfranc etc. I kept thinking about how there aren’t several options in organized retail and e-commerce in India in this category. While at Business school in INSEAD, I teamed up with 4 others to kick around the details of what it would take to launch something like that in India and some years later Stylkist.com was born.”


“Stylkist was launched in Aug 2008. We have been growing steadily in our online and retail business since then. We now retail our products in 6 stores around the country and our online business is healthy. We currently have a small team of folks hired from the media and entertainment industry focused on operations, corporate and hospitality sales and marketing. They all have an educational background related to business education.”


They are focusing on men and women who are on average between 25 to 38 yrs old. Their products will appeal to people who appreciate creativity, aesthetics and quality. However their chosen medium of online shopping is not one that is very well known in India, Maya admits


“It certainly is challenging. Admittedly, e-commerce is very nascent in India. There are advantages and dis-advantages to this. We have a first mover’s advantage with genuine e-commerce. This means that we are learning and can have mastered what to do and what not to do to make e-commerce work in India.”


“The downside of course is that while people appreciate the products and the site, they don’t feel comfortable shopping online. Being cognizant of this challenge, right from day 1 we have focussed our efforts to both online practiced offline shopping. We retail in boutiques and stores in order to be able to get our products out in the market through traditional retail so people can start to recognize and develop a trusting bond with the brand 'Stylkist'. In the long run, this trust combined with practical measures such as high quality photography, alternate views of a product and the option to return the product within 7 days of receiving it might help consumers feel that much more comfortable shopping online.”


Stylkist designs and also sources products from India and abroad. They warehouse the products in Mumbai and recruit product designers to showcase their products. Maya says “We choose the designers and designs in such a case as to enhance our existing offering and while keeping in mind that these designers work should fit with the Stylkist brand look and feel.”


“We promote our e-commerce offering through online advertising and also have a dedicated sales team for corporate and hospitality sales. We also work one on one with our partner boutiques to make sure they have a representative collection of our brand”


Their products are available across six stores as well as online. We enquired whether it was the stores that also drove buyers online or the other way around. She answered “It’s actually a bit of both. We retail products in boutiques with our brand on it. We would like users to know our brand and certainly try and experience the brand online as well. The site does generate interest / leads from retailers but also, we see a number of end consumers discovering our products on our site and then asking us where in their city are our products available....so in a sense we fuel the flow of customers and interest in multiple ways which work as a win-win for our partners and us.”


“Some of the stores that stock Stylkist products include: Design Store Bangalore & Coimbatore, Vanilla in Ahmedabad, DCube in Hyderabad, Enchante in Mumbai etc. In the medium term, we would like to start an own brand retail store for Stylkist.”


There is great news too for the styling, profiling, and jet flying among us as Stylkist plans an imminent expansion. Maya says “There are always plans for expansion - Since, the look of our products are modern, some contemporary, they are palatable to a global audience. We are currently looking at expanding our retail partner base internationally as well. We are finalizing talks with some boutiques in Los Angeles and San Francisco for this. Other cities of interest would be NY, London,


SGP, etc.”


For those with a taste for artistic and stylish products have a gander at www.Stylkist.com, and you will agree that Maya Hari certainly has style. Yourstory thanks her for taking time out of her busy schedule and wishes Stylkist flourishes with style and elegance.

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