There was a time when people from Tier II and III cities had very little access to the latest trends and fashion. In 2010, Delhi-based Atul Agarwal (33) noticed this dearth of availability and decided to fill this gap. He gave up his job to start Teesort.com the following year in 2011.
Teesort.com owns TSX.in, an online fashion apparel brand for men, based out of Delhi. It sells casual menswear both via its own portal and through 15 online marketplaces such as Flipkart, Amazon, Snapdeal and HomeShop 18.
We do not get more than 20 per cent revenue from any single source or marketplace. Therefore, we are not dependant on any one source for sales and revenue,” says Alok.
When Teesort crossed the Rs 1 crore sales mark in 2013, Atul’s brother Alok Agarwal (35) also quit his job to join Teesort. Born and brought up in Delhi, Alok is a commerce graduate from Delhi University and holds an MBA from IMT Ghaziabad. Before joining Teesort, Alok had worked with Vodafone, Bharti Teletech and MTS in multiple capacities. Atul is a BITS Pilani graduate in Computer Science & Engineering. He has worked with TCS in France before joining Teesort.
The journey to achieving the Rs 1 crore was not a smooth one. One of their biggest challenges was gaining the customer’s confidence in buying apparel online. At the time, customers were still wary of sharing their bank credentials and were not sure if they would get what they had paid for.
Apart from buying readymade casual menswear online, Teesort also allows customers to choose and print their favourite designs on T-shirts, jackets, track pants, and more. Currently, it works with more than 16 manufacturers across India. With 13 logistics partners, it delivers orders within 72 hours. Alok says that 10-12 per cent of their total revenue goes towards their logistics partners. They receive 3,000 orders on an average per day. On average, price points range from Rs. 350 -2,000.
We have proprietary software, which helps us forecast the kind of inventory we require. Once we give the manufacturers our requirement, they manufacture clothes, test them and then it reaches our warehouse for sale. The product's fit is designed according to available customer data analysis. At the same time, we have multiple designs in the same pattern available across all pin codes,” says Atul.
Teesort has so far delivered more than 2 million orders. Nearly 70 to 75 per cent of its business comes from Tier II and III cities, mostly from North and South India.
Teesort was started with a seed capital of Rs 50 lakhs (from friends and family) which has been used in its initial three years of operation. Till now, the growth of the company has been funded by its own gross margin of 40 per cent.
Currently, based out of Delhi, Teesort is planning to expand its footprint in Bengaluru and open a warehouse there in the next five to six months. The company has 40 employees and is likely to make an aggressive marketing push to promote its TSX brand in smaller cities across India. Going forward, the company will focus more on digital and print advertising in both national and regional publications. It has allocated Rs 10 crore for marketing initiatives for the next financial year.
Teesort.com is growing at a rate of 300 per cent year on year and is planning to cross the sales number from Rs. 100 crores to Rs. 500 crores in the next two to three years. It will expand the portfolio to two new categories - womenswear and kidswear, and is looking to establish its presence in the Middle East and South East Asia.
According to a report by Google, India’s fashion e-retail market is expected to touch $35 billion by 2020, and it is likely to constitute 35 per cent of the total online retail revenue. With marketplaces like Amazon, eBay, Flipkart and Snapdeal adding more and more sellers and improving delivery efficiency, buying fashionable and designer apparel is just one click away.
Apart from the big players like Yepme, Zovi and Jabong, startups like Fashionara, Bewakoof, Fashion and You, Koovs and Fashionove are striving to meet the demand and supply gap in both metros and small towns and cities. With the evolution of e-commerce, today people from Tier II and III cities have access to all the latest collections.
Other portals offering customised T-shirts include Socratees, customique, iLogo.in, 99tshirts.com, Campus Sutra and more. With the growing accessibility of the online apparel market, manufacturers and designers are flourishing across India.
Moreover, investors also seem to be very bullish on this market’s growth prospects. Gurgaon based fashion e-retailer Yepme raised $75 million from Malaysian state fund Khazanah Nasional Berhad. Zovi has raised $50 million to launch its “Little” app. Jabong has also raised $200 million.
However, Teesort being bootstrapped has achieved a revenue of Rs. 30 crores in the last fiscal year and is expecting to achieve a revenue of Rs. 100 crores in this fiscal year.
“We are perhaps the only bootstrapped yet profitable online private fashion brand!” says Atul.