dPod.in is a crowd funding marketplace for t-shirts; similar to a mix of Kickstarter and Threadless, where good design and crowd funding co-exit. Design geeks can use the platform to create and sells quirky t-shirts.
The new platform was started by Sandeep Dev an industrial designer from NID, Ahmadabad. Since 2009, he and his wife have been running a design studio called 17dnorth in Hyderabad. They have been working on the new venture idea called dPod.in for over a year now.
Sandeep says, “We have started this venture in a rather weird way. We had designed few t-shirts ourselves and started selling them on dPod. This was to test the waters before we fully launched our idea. Hyderabad is where we wanted to establish our base as a design firm. Dpod started taking shape along with other design projects that we execute at 17dnorth.”
One thing they realized early is that there are a lot of designers in India who are amazingly talented but do not have enough funds to launch their own products. dPod.in exists at the intersection to address that. Their main focus was to look at products which are easy to manufacture and something that is very light on pocket to invest. As the idea evolved, they have started focusing on t-shirts as a product range to begin with. For now, they are using shopify at the backend to test MVP (minimum viable product). But soon they want to build a full-fledged site where crowd funding can happen.
For the end user it is a t-shirt that they can connect with at an individual level. It also gives a good feeling that they have encouraged a designer by paying for the design upfront even before it is manufactured.
For designers, it’s a great platform to sell their designs with zero investment, because on the platform designers respond to the clear need of the market instead of shooting in the dark.
Sandeep likes his biryani hot and his domain name to be short! Pod means a container, and D stands for design. dPod is very apt, as it has a good brand recall potential to it. Hence, dPod is a place for good design.
dPod was born in a design studio and is still in its early stages.
Sandeep wears multiple hats along with his team, which is a wonderful bunch of youngsters who are willing to learn every bit of the business. They are planning to soon bring in a dedicated team to run operations as they are gearing up for a formal launch.
At present, dPod is providing a platform for young designers and is also taking up the logistics for printing and shipping the t-shirts. The revenue will be split 70/30. That is, 30% goes to the designers. They are still working on refining the business model so that it is profitable for both the parties.
Logistics issue was the biggest pain-point that had to be addressed. For now they have identified a good vendor. But their ambition is to be self sustained and have their own printing capability in the future.
When YourStory asked Sandeep, in hindsight, what would you have done better? He answered “I am a constant learner. One thing I would definitely do right is identify the right vendor in an efficient way, as a lot of time has gone by in getting a good vendor on board"
If their vision to collaborate with independent designers, artists and consumers is to become a reality, then the dPod.in team has to hustle to solve the classic marketplace chicken and egg problem. On one side, they have to solve getting designers on board, while on the other, dPod has to work on user acquisition techniques. If there are no interesting and unique t-shirts then users won’t come. If users won’t come designer won’t come either. In such cases winning the demand side is important because you only have a small window of time before the demand side loses interest and realizes that you have nothing for them on the platform. We will continue to track the progress of dPod.in.