How Rakesh Dang spun off his conventional import business to rake in Rs 4 lakh/dayAparajita Choudhury
It is a no-brainer that Rakesh Dang, who heads his Rs 250-crore family business, is blessed with plenty of business acumen. Apart from the entertainment conglomerate, Sita's Films and TV Productions, the Dang family has also dipped their feet into the imports/exports business.
The Dang family has been in the business of facilitating imports from Malaysia, Singapore, China, Europe, Turkey etc., and had their offices in China and Hong Kong for last 14 years. They had been the major exporters of all imported goods for leading e-commerce websites.
And they successfully met the huge demand for imported goods (from multiple countries) for friends and relatives. After the order is placed, the products usually took 25-30 days to reach the end users. This was when Rakesh started nurturing the idea of starting a website to sell their products.
Founded in 2015, OnlyImported.com offers a unique catalogue of products from 14 countries. One can avail imported products from different categories-fashion, furniture, home and kitchen and the price ranges from Rs 199 to 4,999.
“Our products are sourced directly from factories and not from showrooms and bought at very reasonable rates. Hence, we are making profit out of it. The product selection is curated keeping the needs of Indian customers in mind and lets users own luxury imported goods at highly affordable prices,” says Rakesh.
OnlyImported is catering to orders worth Rs 4 lakh a day, which Rakesh predicts would be doubled in 3-4 months. Since its inception in 2015, OnlyImported has been growing at a very fast pace and gets 60,000-70,000 daily unique visitors. With 4,000 SKUs, it offers 200 hot deals that can be delivered in 2-3 days.
Rakesh, who is also a professional chartered accountant, understands the business laws related to importing customs. He has done his graduation in BSc in 1975 from a government college in Gurgaon.
Getting into e-commerce
OnlyImported makes high-quality imported products available to the buyers at significant discounts through its e-commerce portal. The products typically reach the customers in 3-4 days.
The company was started with the personal savings and a small amount borrowed from banks and NBFs. However, it is looking for bigger funds to exploit the full potential of this business.
“Initially, our big challenge was to search for unique products and getting those products in India by importing very small quantities. It took a long time to settle this in Indian customs as it is unprecedented and no other site is working on same model,” says Rakesh.
Today, OnlyImport does almost 500 orders per day and delivers products across India through third-party logistics by Delhivery. According to Rakesh, Delhi, NCR Mumbai, Pune and certain parts of South India have shown tremendous response to OnlyImported's advertisements. Customer age group ranges between 20 and 45 and almost half of them are repeat customers.
By sharing the product images on social media, the startup managed to attract lots of customers. Moreover, digital marketing on Facebook and customer recommendations also helped spread awareness.
Does import/export market pose opportunity?
Seeing the growth of import and export of goods and services in India, many jump into the business without knowing the pros and cons. A few things are important to be sorted out to start an import/export business: solo proprietorship by taking a Service Tax registration or a VAT registration, PAN card for business, issuance of Import Export Code (IEC) and obtaining the Registration cum Membership Certificate.
However, the imports of India had witnessed a decline of 14.1 percent year-on-year to $29.2 billion in August 2016, as reported by Ministry of Commerce and Industry. The average imports in India from 1957 until 2016 is valued at $6,808.65 million. The key import partners of India are China, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland and the United States.
Headquartered in Delhi, OnlyImported has a team of 50 people with offices in China and Hong Kong. By the next year, the startup plans to achieve approximately 4,00,000 orders and wishes to triple it to 12,00,000 orders by end of fiscal year 2019.
“We will make our catalogue as intensive as 40 lakh products. Presently, we are advertising on Facebook and we plan to advertise on Google, public media like TV, newspaper etc.,” says Rakesh.