Neelima and Sushma Reddy are the co-founders of a startup named 'DCube', a lifestyle store with products and creations that go beyond the gifting concept. This entrepreneurial sister duo shunned careers in dentistry and software engineering to chase their dreams. YourStory caught up with Neelima to learn more about how DCube was founded and their entrepreneurial plans for online gifting.Describe the DCube business idea to our readers.
Dcube is a lifestyle store with ideas and products for all moods and lifestyles. It is a creative hub of fun, witty and smart products. DCube is the place for anyone who loves to think out-of-the -box or anyone who likes clean design.
How is DCube different from other online gifting platforms?
We don’t look at DCube as just another gifting store. It is a lifestyle store which is not limited to just offering the usual gifts. Each one of our products is unique and designed to get conversation build around it. We have products to suit all tastes and budgets, for consumers of all ages. We believe in creating and delivering products that speak for themselves.
How did you conceive the business idea of DCube?
We've always had an interest in products that were designed well. We used to look for an interesting element in anything that we bought and this was not limited to any category.
When we were living in US, it was very hard for us to shop in India for family and friends here or to take back gifts to friends over there, as it was all run-of-the-mill stuff. This was the scenario that made us think about the idea. After we moved to Hyderabad, it did not take long for us to follow our dream. DCube was founded in August 2006 and we opened our first outlet in November 2006.
Tell us about your background.
Sushma, my sister (and also the co-founder) and I are from completely diverse backgrounds. She’s a dentist and I’m a software engineer. But both of us are very similar with respect to our creative thought process. We were very clear that this was what we wanted to do and that's how it all started for us.
What experiences and feedback have you got from your tie-ups?We had/have tie-ups with some amazing individuals and companies in implementing our product concepts. We have received a very positive response and overwhelming acceptance for the creative products offered till date. This has resulted in us working towards getting more tie-ups in place with new partners and more vendors are looking forward to retail/associate with DCube.
We retail products from many cool designers and brands throughout the country. We’ve worked with Nikhil Acharya, a budding designer, for our d3 * ink10 t-shirt line. We worked
with Doodlewala to create a customized wedding card for a couple and we've also collaborated with quite a few designers/brands to create gifts for corporates or for weddings, parties, etc.
Where do you see online gifting and DCube five years from now?
With the pace at which society’s changing today and with friends/relatives spread all across the world, online gifting is the easiest and fastest way of sending gifts. We offer new avenues and discovery methods for consumers who are seeking innovative products to offer to their friends and loved ones.
With the e-commerce poised for growth in India, there is a good opportunity in the days ahead. Also, with the mobile being the medium of the masses and with mcommerce and 3G taking off in India now, we are planning to tap the mobile outlet soon as you can see explosive growth.
What is DCube's revenue model?
Bulk of our revenue comes from our retail outlets. The customized gifting orders also make a huge contribution towards our revenue. And we are now looking at the franchisee model to strengthen revenue flow.
What joys and challenges has entrepreneurship brought you?
The joy is in seeing that people find what we have created unique and beautiful. There’s also joy in being able to implement our creative ideas. The challenge is in building the right team with the passion and dedication to creativity, as we expand.
How big is the DCube team? Are you looking at hiring?
Currently, we have about 10 employees along with a few consultants who have tremendous experience in the creative, sales and marketing domains. We are looking at hiring some more people soon.
Tell us about your expansion plans.
We currently have three stores, including an eStore at www.dcube.in. We are working on a franchisee model and are looking at expanding the number of stores in other metros/tier 2 cities. We already have a few franchisee offers that we are considering.
How has the journey been so far?
We have thousands of customers who shop in our stores. And many of them are repeat customers who keep coming back month after month, to check out what new products we might have. The number of people looking out for interesting products is growing by the day and we look forward to bringing just that to the market.
We at YourStory wish Sushma and Neelima Reddy all the very best that entrepreneurship has to offer. To know more about DCube, check out www.dcube.in. Share with us your thoughts and comments about this venture and its products by writing to us firstname.lastname@example.org.
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