The Bling Stores aims to make trendy fashion affordable for all womenAthira Nair
Started to address largely untapped opportunity in Tier II and III cities, The Bling Stores hopes to stand apart in the crowded online marketplace for women’s accessories.
While a good outfit is important, every women knows it is right set of accessories that complete the look.
With this mantra in mind, the four co-founders of The Bling Stores — Raj Khatri, Manisha Khatri, Moonmun Kanoi, and Amitabh Chandra — wanted to test the waters first. With their personal savings of about Rs 15 lakh, the brand was launched on the Instagram platform around two years ago.
The opportunity they wanted to explore was the accessories market, which is mostly a style-driven market where people are looking for unique and unmatched products with good quality. Even the customers in Tier II and III cities are willing to spend on fashion accessories which they did not have access to otherwise. To reach out to them through e-commerce was the obvious option.
The collection includes unique and elegant dailywear fashion accessories such as rings, earrings, pendants, necklaces, anklets, bracelets, bangles, hair accessories, sunglasses etc., with prices starting from Rs 200. The brand’s website was launched this July.
The founders, all in their thirties, come from various backgrounds. Raj, Chairman, is an alumnus of New York Film Academy and NIFT, who has worked in casting at Yash Raj Films, Vashu Bhagnani’s Puja Films, as well as for TV.
About his entrepreneurial venture, Raj says, “My aim was to bring accessories to every door in India, not just the fashion-centric people. The brand’s major target audience, Gen-Y, lives their life at the ease of everything being available at their fingertips. So online retail was the best option. Moreover, there is the advantage of retaining a regular customer base and promoting products through the evolving social media trends, which demands more creativity and less investment.”
Moonmun is a post-graduate in Science and after putting time into a few jobs, she took the leap of faith to turn her childhood dream of being her own boss into reality. Moonmun now takes care of the collection and Raj, finances. Amitabh holds an MBA in Marketing and has worked in companies like Reliance Industries, Zapak.com and others. He quit his job as Head - Business Planning and Strategy with a leading TV production house to become an entrepreneur.
Along with Manisha, Amitabh looks after the marketing and operations part of the business.
Jewellery plays an integral part of almost every woman's wardrobe. Hence, The Bling Stores encompass extended range of chic and trendy accessories for women of all ages in affordable prices. But their major target is college girls who love to dress up daily.
“This generation is quite fashion-savvy, I look forward to finding a piece for every accessory lover and their eclectic style needs,” says Raj.
Bracelets and pendants are their bestsellers, while statement necklaces and earrings are increasingly becoming popular. Raj adds that they have a growing customer base for personalised jewellery as well.
The brand is based out of Mumbai, the fashion hub of the country, with plenty of good manufacturers. The strong shipping connectivity from Mumbai helps in on-time delivery and henceforth building customer trust.
On an average day, The Bling Stores gets about 100 orders. During peak seasons like Diwali and Karwa Chauth, there have been up to 200 shipments a day.
Challenges and successes
Back when they started up, barring fashion horizontal marketplaces like Myntra, Jabong, and Craftsvilla, the market was untapped, and selling fashion jewellery over the internet was very new. Now, this trend has gained immense popularity and the internet is crowded with online accessory brands.
Yet, Raj says that the biggest challenge is to gain the trust of customers and inspire them to buy products online. “When we started, this concept was new and most were still used to physically checking any product before investing. So we partnered with Shiprocket for logistics and for providing CoD,” he adds.
Although e-commerce per se offers options, women’s accessories and jewellery market – offline and online – is an overcrowded market. So, since the beginning, The Bling Store put in efforts in branding through proper mediums and maintaining the quality of the product.
For the team of 20, the biggest achievement is its strong foundation that has led to its survival and growth in the years. “It’s also overwhelming when you introduce new things in the market and receive acceptance from your customer,” Raj says.
Currently, their GMV is Rs 4 lakh per month, with a monthly revenue growth of six percent. They have about 2,500 registered customers. By March 2018, they aim to reach total GMV of Rs 25 lakh, 150 orders a day, and 4,000 registered customers.
So far, Rs 18 lakh has been invested into The Bling Stores. They are in talks with investors now for more funding to scale.