Having done well with traditional handcrafted and handmade products, Craffts.com was conceptualized in the month of August 2011 and was soft launched in December 2011. However, with the increase in customers visiting their portal, they started enquiring about a few other products that the customers needed. For instance, customer buying jewellery also enquired about branded watches; a customer buying phulkari duppatta also enquired about branded perfumes. Thus, with their live experience and on customers’ demands, they evolved over a period of time to come up with the idea of showcasing Indo-western lifestyle products.Launching today, Craffts.com, based out of Noida, combines trendy and contemporary products. Co-founder, Meenakshi Khurana, tells us more as she launches her portal today.
Meenakshi, before we talk about the exciting launch, can you introduce Craffts.com and the founders to the readers of YS?
I am the Founder & Managing Partner at Craffts.com, the first Indo-Western Lifestyle portal with a unique selection of branded and handmade products.
With over 10 years of rich Internet experience in various International e-business projects with reputed clients like Vodafone, AT&T, Northern Rock Finance, Orange Network UK, Barclays UK, Mars Chocolates, etc., I have now decided to launch my own venture.
My Internet experience in verticals like Online Retail, Price Comparison, Education, Finance, Telecom, Media and Entertainment is sure to give an extra edge to my new venture. I have also organized and participated in promotional events at International levels like Ad Tech-London, Internet World, G-Tech Dubai, G-Tech Manchester and CommunicAsia, Singapore.
Apart from me, Kartikey Priyardarshi is the Co-Founder and is also heading technology at Craffts.com. He has combined work experience of over 14 years, including more than 10 years in the online industry. He has developed high-end applications like Social Communities with features like Voice, Video and Text Chat, CRM and ERP for an Online Retail Portal, Solutions for e-Commerce portals and Web Based Loan Processing Software. He has also successfully implemented PCI – DSS compliance.
Now, our passion lies in making Craffts.com, a multi-billion dollar company with a unique selection of “Trendy and Traditional” products. Craffts.com showcases reputed Indian as well as International Brands in a wide range of categories like Fashion, Jewellery, Spiritual, Health & Beauty, Home & Furnishing, Food & Beverages and Gifts & Hampers.
So, when our curious readers go to your website, what exactly will greet them?
Craffts.com is the first Indo-Western Lifestyle portal to bring a unique selection of over 30,000 trendy and traditional products on one platform. We target to scale this number to 100,000 by the end 2012.
Craffts.com covers over 11 primary categories and more than 350 sub-categories. It showcases both contemporary and handmade products across all categories like Jewellery, Spiritual, Fashion, Health & Beauty, Home décor, Gifting, etc.
We identified this space. There is no other retail brand in India that has positioned itself for an Indo-Western Lifestyle. It allows us to have unlimited options for adding to our selection. For customers, it gives them the flair of modern culture and the flavour of Indian tradition. We cater to all ages. Ninety percent of our sales are from India.
Where are the manufacturers based? What are the typical margins they work on?
For sourcing products like Home Furnishing, Decor and Jewellery, we handpick sellers from different states. Our largest merchandise comes from cities like Delhi, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Mumbai, Ahmedabad and Surat. In case of Apparels, Accessories, Health & Beauty, we have joined hands with well known Indian as well as International brands. The average gross margin which we work on with the sellers is over thirty percent.
What is your Business model?
We blend the best of both marketplace and inventory based models. We choose to have our own stock for the unique selection of products that are fast moving and in high demand. Our own unique selection has a great recall value, ensures spread of good word of mouth, repeated sales, returning customers and further ensures a higher premium. Our extensive gallery and unique selection are instrumental in scaling up profitability. Due to the unique selection of handpicked products, we get an overwhelming response from end-users. We plan to continue to have our own selection of products promoted under the brand-name Craffts.com.
In the marketplace model, we maintain virtual inventory of sellers. Therefore, this model turns out to be cost-effective and ensures high profitability. The marketplace model helps us to optimise our profits and to keep minimum stocks at our end.
Could you tell us a little about your tie-ups?
We have over 350 sellers on board which we target to scale up to 1200 by the end of the year. We are also working towards having over 500 brands available online.
We have an alliance with leading logistics companies like Bluedart, Quantium, Gati, Fedex, Aramex, and DHL India Post who cater to our services. Apart from that, we are in talking terms with known Online Marketing companies and have a tech process on board for Payment Gateway Solutions.
What is your market size? Can you share with us some interesting trends about the market that you are trying to capture?
The current market size for the wide variety of categories we deal in, is estimated to be over a 100 billion dollars.
We are into an online business which gives local and global end-users, including those residing in remote areas, access to the extensive range of products. For instance, Phulkari is readily available in northern parts of the country, however, the same may not be easily available in the rest of India and globally. Therefore, through our online store we can have an easy reach to distant locations and the end-users can easily purchase the desired products from the wide range of product categories we showcase.
How many people visit your site everyday for online purchases?
We are about to touch more than 100,000 page views this month, with minimal marketing activities. The credit goes to our unique selection and positioning. This uniqueness, not only reciprocated compliments from our customers and spread of good word of mouth, but also ensures a lot of referral traffic, repeat customers and multiple items in one cart. Therefore, looking at the current trends, we should touch 350,000 page views by May’12.
How big is your team?
We started with a team of 7, with over 70 man-years of e-business experience in Technology, Business Strategy & Procurement, Supply Chain Management, Finance and Compliance. Prior to this venture, we have worked together on various Internet projects for over 5 years in verticals like Education, Finance, Telecom, Online Retail and Entertainment. We will ramp up the team to around 120 people within the next 12 months.
Did you fund-raise to start up?
We started with family funding and are now positive and looking forward at getting funded. The funds will be utilized in expanding the team size, initiating marketing activities, upgrading technology and stocking selected inventory.
Where and how do you see yourself going about this? What are your expansion plans?
There is a large scope for expansion locally and globally and we have a potential to become a multi-billion dollar business over a decade. With 350,000 page views in a month, by May’12, we are expecting 60 sales per day.
We are targeting 750 sales per day by March’13 and by 2017, we have set a target for 30,000 sales per day. Our current average ticket size is Rs.1400-1600, which is expected to grow to Rs.3000 in the next 12 to 18 months.
Since our business model, is a blend of marketplace and inventory base, our system will be automated and seamlessly integrated with supply chain, so as to optimise our profits and keep minimum stocks at our end for highly profitable and high in demand products. We also intend to have our own stock for our internally designed and handpicked products.
Moreover, we shall have a dedicated customer support team providing excellent customer support, which shall ensure repeated customers along with a spread of word of mouth.
We have witnessed a huge growth in the online business. Currently, we at Craffts, envision scaling up profitability in the e-tailing sector. At the same time, we are also open to making an entry into the offline retail market.