“We look at the passion to succeed at Chumbak,” says a proud Vivek Prabhakar, who sits at the Chumbak Bengaluru office, to announce the launch of Chumbak’s apparel range ‘Collection One’.
Most of us were aware of the 80 per cent clearance sales doing the round at Chumbak stores, secretly splurging our just earned salaries on their accessories. Focussing on these aspirations of consumers, Chumbak’s ‘Collection One’ will now represent the firm's maiden Fall-Winter range which will comprise of close to 350 styles, calling out to the new-age, fashion- conscious global consumer.
When the world is going gungho about crowdsourcing designs, Vivek believes that ‘Design is not democratic’. It is subjective to the tastes of individuals. Commenting on the unveiling, the co-founder says, “We thought if design comes naturally to us, how can we push the envelope for apparel. One of the key categories online today is apparel. We now wanted to cater to a larger lifestyle segment with apparel and home collection, taking a great leap in our offerings. Moreover, we looked at the women’s western market and tried to understand how Chumbak could stand out. This has led us to pay attention to minute details of the designs put in the apparels and accessories.”
The range will include dresses, skirts, tops, scarves, T-shirts, jackets, trousers, jeggings, as well as sweaters. The design is in accordance to Chumbak’s motto of ‘Happy. Design. Wake Up. Change’.
“Collection One is our effort to create happy experiences for our customers,” says Vivek.
Seventy per cent of the range will concentrate on women while 30 per cent will be focussed on men’s apparels. They are also tying up with fashion discovery platforms like Wooplr as well as talking to marketplaces like Jabong, Myntra, and Kooves for selling their products. The average price range of these apparels go anywhere from Rs 395 to Rs 2995.
Vivek believes that in the next few months, 80 per cent of the sales will be driven from marketplaces. Last year, their online sales were 15 per cent which rose up to 30 per cent this year.
Change in dynamics
Currently, home products account for 60 per cent of their revenue, while accessories account for 40 per cent of the venture’s revenue. Moving forward, these dynamics will change for Chumbak with home and accessories accounting for 65 per cent of the business revenue followed up by apparel revenues stocking up to 35 per cent.
Recently, Chumbak tied up with Virgin Megastore to retail their select range of products internationally. Vivek doesn’t deny this, saying that the firm is all geared to go international by the end of next year. However, when we asked whether the design philosophy will change to cater to western audiences, Vivek says that it is highly unlikely of the same.
The firm also refreshes its style every two weeks, bringing newer designs to the rack. However, with the apparel section it is looking at a slower rate with newer designs hitting the rack once a month.
Offline stores and technology
The firm has plugged in a couple of crores in technology investments for warehousing and inventory management. However, the next new place where Chumbak is investing is Store Analytics.
“So what we essentially have is a data and analytics from a store. We know exactly which part of the store has maximum footprints or which part of the store is not attracting consumers much. We also know on an average which stores are used for browsing and which ones are for conversions. For example, we know the person who stays in the store for an average time of five minutes is just browsing and not a converting customer," says Vivek.
As of today, Chumbak has 11 stores (in Bengaluru, Delhi, Gurgaon, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Jaipur, and Kochi) and is growing at the rate of two stores per month. They are planning to open 25 more stores over the next year. For Chumbak, setting up each store costs approximately Rs 65-70 lakhs, without counting the merchandise. Thus, it is a no-brainer that with 25 new stores in line and international expansion, the firm is looking at raising Series C by the next quarter. (January 2015)
With the new products coming aboard, the average price size for Chumbak goes up from Rs 800 to Rs 1500 on an average. Rose Ann Francis, a Social Media Manager from Bengaluru, says,
“I was a big fan of the unique and kitsch designs of Chumbak products. However, my loyalty towards Chumbak has wavered over the past years when their prices shot through the roof which I think coincided with the openings of the retail store. It also doesn’t help that similar designs of decent quality are available online on different avenues.”
With the general dipstick believing the same, this is something Chumbak may do well to take heed from the customers.
Tarush is driven towards delivering unbiased and accurate reportage while engaging with as many mediums as possible to narrate a fresh perspective. Working for the past few years in the digital space with YourStory, he has covered the Indian technology ecosystem extensively, focusing on new age Fintech companies, while building strong connects within the industry.