Keen to add fun and colour to your life? Colorpur may be the right choice

By Sindhu Kashyaap|4th Nov 2017
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Bengaluru-based online lifestyle brand Colorpur lets artists and designers from across the world sell their artworks and designs in the form of products like mobile cases, coasters, trays and boxes.

Online behemoths may hold sway in India, but there’s no denying the impact that non-conventional and quirky brands have made. Drawing customers with their unique products, attention to detail and focus on quality, these indie brands showcase character and style.

Say hello to Bengaluru-based Colorpur, a premium lifestyle brand offering genuine leather goods, designer products and customised offerings. Started in 2015 end, the bootstrapped Colorpur provides a platform to artists and designers across the globe to sell their artworks and designs in the form of various lifestyle products.

The products sold on the website include mobile cases, wooden coasters, ceramic mugs, wooden jewellery boxes, mouse pads and wooden serving trays. They are available through various sales channels and online marketplaces like Amazon.

Gaurav Garg, Co-founder and CEO, Colorpur, says: “We aim to make Colorpur a premium lifestyle brand by providing beautiful and best quality products to customers with great customer service.”

In 2015, there were several platforms for designers to upload their designs and sell different products, but Gaurav says none of these platforms were focusing on how to grow their sales using online marketplaces.

Gaurav and Abhinav

The background work

“Everyone was focusing on their own website only. A few companies were exploring the power of Amazon, but either they were not doing it the right way or their platform was not open for everyone,” Gaurav explains.

Colorpur, he says, provides designers with an open platform to sell their artworks in the form of different products on not just one website, but on big marketplaces as well.

The team has integrated the platform with Amazon’s API to provide complete transparency to the designers.

Gaurav, an IIM Kozhikode alumnus, had earlier founded Kloseby, a SaaS company. When the idea of Colorpur struck, Gaurav roped in Abhinav Singh, who was working at DoneThing, as co-founder.

“Abhinav and I started the business by investing Rs 5 lakh; we got some small investments from friends and family as well,” Gaurav recalls.

Working around the challenges

However, the business has its challenges. Designer products, especially mobile covers which constitute around 80 percent of the sales, are a crowded market.

Gaurav says there are thousands of sellers who sell millions of products on Amazon and on their own website.

The biggest challenge the team faced was to differentiate from other sellers and create a trustworthy brand that provides high quality products.

“We have kind of succeeded in differentiating ourselves by providing immense quality and customer service; this now speaks through our ratings and reviews on Amazon,” Gaurav says.

Working on different models

Colorpur provides a platform (marketplace) for artists, where they upload their artworks (or designs). The team at Colorpur does a quality check of all uploaded designs and either approves or rejects them, based on stipulated design guidelines.

“If approved, the design image is converted into multiple products by our design team and is then made available on different sales channels by our marketing team,” Gaurav says.

The platform is integrated using APIs with the sales channels, so that designers are notified via SMS and email each time a customer places an order. This helps the company maintain transparency on its platform, and provides designers with a real-time view of their earnings, listings and designs.

Currently, Colorpur follows three different lines of business: designer products, which involves putting artist’s designs on different products and getting commission on sales; customised products, where custom designs are made as per customers’ requests by the in-house team; and standalone leather and silk products.

Colorpur makes sure customers have a pleasant shopping experience through prompt customer service using WhatsApp.

Gaurav adds that the team also provides unmatched product quality, packaging and a hand-written note to each and every customer.

A growing marketplace

In a crowded marketplace, pricing was another challenge. Many competitors would end up selling similar products at a lower value. Initially, the team kept their pricing low to match the competition, but over time realised it is not about the price, it is about the quality.

“So, we increased our prices to attract only serious and quality buyers. We are now in our own league and no one is near us,” Gaurav says.

There are several niche e-commerce platforms that connect designers and artists to consumers these says. LoveThisStuff, Qtrove, Engrave, Kraftly and Tjori are multi-category marketplaces, but operate very differently from FlipkartAmazon and Snapdeal. And yet, most have raised only a few lakhs to a couple of crores in funding.

However, Etsy, a US-based online platform for handcrafted goods that is the inspiration behind Indian alternative marketplaces, is a listed entity, with a market cap of almost $1.5 billion.

However, the Colorpur team feels there are several factors that set them apart from the others.

Gaurav explains, “We enable all designers to sell their artworks on not just the website, but on Amazon as well. The company has done a deep integration with Amazon APIs, so that a real-time and transparent view of earnings is provided to the designers. Due to this, the company has managed to become the no.1 seller on Amazon in the category.”

Numbers and growth

The team currently claims to have over 300 designers from 10 different countries, 7,000 designs and one million SKUs. The team claims to make revenue of Rs 1 crore, of which Rs 2.65 lakh are disbursed in commissions.

“As of today, we are selling only online via our own website, Amazon and WhatsApp, but we plan to activate some more channels in the future,” adds Gaurav.

The team claims the average order size is Rs 650. The top-selling SKUs are iPhone 7 and 7 Plus phone cases, followed by Google Pixel, Vivo V5 and Oppo F3.

Battling the challenges and future plans

The team has partnered with Amazon Logistics, DTD and Pickr. However, it has to work around different struggles like increasing marketplace commissions.

Gaurav says Amazon, where they get 80 to 85 percent of their orders, has increased their commissions from 12 to 26 percent.

“This has affected our bottom line and we are figuring out a way. Also the tax rates on most of our products increased from 5.5 percent to either 18 percent or 28 percent. This has adversely affected our bottom line,” he says.

The team is now planning to add at least 10 new mobile phone cover models every month, add at least two new artefacts (other than mobile covers) every month, start an affiliate program to increase traction on Colorpur, launch new non-designer products like leather and silk products, and introduce more wooden products like toys for babies and decorative items.

They also are focusing on improving user experience on the website and giving impeccable customer service to increase repeat customers.

Apart from India, plans are afoot to go global by accepting international orders on Colorpur.com and selling on Amazon. They also plan to open a physical store in a premium mall in Bengaluru soon.

Gaurav adds that they are planning to set up a designer products studio for customers to order customised products just like they do with apparel. The vision is to become a premium lifestyle brand that offers high-quality designer and customised products.

Gaurav says: “Five years down the line, we would want Colorpur to be a Rs 1,000 crore-plus revenue company with a strong global presence and a variety of products, something on the lines of Society6 and RedBubble.”

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