When Sunil Mande made a brief presentation about Sarga last week at The Morpheus Demo Day event (check out http://yourstory.in/news/5291-plethora-of-promise-at-the-morpheus-demo-day), he impressed the audience with his no-nonsense approach and calm demeanour. In this exclusive chat with YourStory, Sunil speaks about the market for eco-friendly textiles, the business idea of Sarga and how concern for the environment and commercial success can co-exist.Sunil, if someone asked you to describe Sarga in about 50 words, what would say?
At Sarga, we create eco-friendly textiles made from organically developed or naturally available fibers. Our processes are certified and free from harmful chemicals, making our products 100% bio-degradable.
Tell us about your background and also how the business idea for Sarga came about.
I worked in IT and ITES domains for more than six years. I was creating utility cases for corporates and I wanted to move further. So, I went out and did some research on natural and organic fibers. Based on the research, fibers got benchmarked and processes evolved. The textiles were the outcome. Today, we create eco-textiles using various fibers such as organic cotton, bamboo, modal, tencel, jute, hemp, sisal, etc. These textiles can be used in apparels and furnishings. Some of them even have industrial applications.
What is Sarga's revenue model?
Currently, we have two models. One is the B2B platform where we sell only the fabric. Our customers include exporters, garment manufacturers, fashion labels, design studios and certain industries. The other is the B2C model where we sell apparel and home furnishing under the Sarga label to end consumers.
How has the response been so far?
To be honest, it's all been very overwhelming. The market is growing exponentially. In fact, we are able to service only 0.5% of the inquiries received due to various constraints. However, we are gearing up and our conversion rate will be up soon.
As an entrepreneur, what are your joys? What are the challenges?
It's very exciting to hear of a new fiber. We immediately try to test it, benchmark it and figure out how to sell it. As an entrepreneur, nothing is more satisfying than a happy customer. When a customer appreciates the look or design of a product and pays the quoted price willingly, we're overjoyed. Our biggest challenge is meeting deadlines. it's not easy to get things done on time. But we're learning.
How big is the Sarga team?
It's a three-member team. That's one textile engineer (me), one production manager and one person to deal with the administration.
So, what's next for Sarga?
From the beginning, we've wanted to sell our products worldwide. Five years from now, we want Sarga to be available across the world, with the widest range of eco-textiles globally. We want to introduce new fibers and processes. Currently, most of our inquiries are from Europe, USA and Canada. And we're planning to set up sales and marketing offices in UK and Singapore. In the last three months, our turnover was around Rs.6 lakhs. Five months from now, we should be looking at more than Rs.75 lakhs.
We at YourStory wish Sunil and Sarga all the very best. To know more, check out http://sarga.in/. Also, do let us know your thoughts about this story. You can also write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sriram Mohan | YourStory | 8th February 2011 | Bangalore