Raghav Kohli's journey from house parties to ecommerce business - the Barmonkey story
Barmonkey is a bar furniture and accessory etailer. Started four months back by Raghav Kohli, an economics grad from Delhi, the idea came from the numerous house parties that he used to have, during his college life. He says, "It was the end of college and I wasn't getting a job that I was really interested in. In the time, me and my designer friend had this idea of building custom bars. In fact we had built one for my home."
Furniture in ecommerce is a niche in itself, and furniture and accessories for bars is a niche within that. When asked about this, Raghav says that there's a demand for it in the metros. He says, "I know this is like a niche in a niche, but at least in Delhi, there are a lot of people who don't want to use mass produced stuff. They want custom made furniture, especially for bars." Barmonkey also builds custom bars. Raghav says, "When you have larger spaces, designing a bar isn't that difficult, but when it comes to flats, it becomes a challenge. That's where our designs come into play." Barmonkey has sold about 4 bars in the past four months.
Raghav is a sole entrepreneur, because of which, he's taking things slow. He says, "We're right now delivering only in Delhi. We're a small team and if there's problem with the client, it is easy for us to address it. In fact, that was quite a challenge for me - I am the sole entrepreneur and until the launch of the website, I had to all the running around. I knew it was going to be a lot of hard work, but didn't in the slightest think that it would be so much work." Currently, the Barmonkey team has added on a full time designer and operations executive. Apart from this, Raghav also works with freelance designers and carpenters.
Barmonkey is currently self funded and Raghav shared that they wouldn't need any funding in the next 12 - 18 months, which is refreshing to hear, especially from an ecommerce startup. He says, "The initial funding came from my savings from all the internships that I did. The rest was pitched in by my parents. They were really supportive of my decision, despite my professional inexperience." From their ecommerce site, Barmonkey sells anywhere between 40 to 50 orders on their bar accessories and about 10 to 20 pieces of furniture a month.
Raghav believes that the key to success in this business lies in the variety of their product assortment. He says, "There is a website that does party related furniture and accessories, but there isn't anyone doing exactly what we're doing. Of course, there are your more established players like UrbanLadder and PepperFry, but their product assortment is not very varied."
In the coming months, Raghav shared that expanding their operations to other cities is their immediate priority. Once this is done, the focus will be to make most of Barmonkey's operations automatic - "The aim is to work on many more ventures and I'm already working on an interesting idea with my friends," concluded Raghav.