[The Turning Point] What led these two brothers to launch children’s brand Rabitat

The Turning Point is a series of short articles that focuses on the moment when an entrepreneur hit upon their winning idea. Today, we look at brothers Sumit and Siddharth Suneja, and find out why they decided to start a children’s brand.
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Serial entrepreneurs Sumit and Siddharth Suneja embarked on their entrepreneurial journey in 2010 with Reado, an audiobook platform. However, the duo was not able to sustain the business and decided to shut it on the night of demonetisation.

But their mind was always looking for ideas. They soon realised that each trip abroad meant being inundated with requests for baby products from friends and family. Most parents wanted better quality products for their kids and were getting them from out of India.

Sumit and Siddharth realised that Indian parents lacked a good, trustworthy brand and saw the need for a homegrown, premium Indian option for children.

And that thought sowed the seeds for Rabitat, a children’s brand that offers products for children up to the age of six years.

Sumit says Rabitat aims to fill the gap for a homegrown, safe, and premium quality brand.

The products, internationally certified by the European Commission, The Global Organic Textile Standard, are BPA-free and safe for children.  

Started in May 2019, Delhi-based Rabitat has grown from strength to strength despite pandemic. In last two years, it has sold more than 100,000 units with Rs 55-60 lakh revenue each month, and revenue of more than Rs 15 crore for FY21.

“If you look at children’s brands today in India, they are either mass market brands that are not necessarily the best quality, international brands that are very expensive and not easily accessible, or smaller boutique brands that are again very niche, expensive, and not readily available,” Siddharth says.

Getting started

The founding duo did proper research to get a good understanding of the market and launched Merlin Brands Private Limited in 2016, with the purpose of reselling international baby brands in India.

“We became the official distributors for some of the best international brands for young children like Skip Hop, Comotomo, 3 Sprouts, and Pearhead. As time went by, we realised products were not always up to the mark despite the costing,” Sumit says.

In 2019, they launched Rabitat  with just two products: a hooded towel and a snap-lock sipper bottle.

“With our experience in distribution, we were able to hit the ground running, retailing on all major online and offline platforms and our own ecommerce website very quickly,” Siddharth says. 

Today, the startup has more than 20 product lines, including , towels, organic bedding, quilts, feeding pillows, baby loungers, and other products like bags, insulated steel food jars, steel sippers, bottles, and more. 

Revenue model

The startup has an online as well as offline distribution network. While a significant percentage of sales come from its own website, it has partnered with ecommerce websites like Amazon, Myntra, Flipkart, Firstcry, and Nykaa for online distribution. It has an offline presence through collaborations with Mothercare, Hamley’s, Iconic Kids, and a huge network of mom-and-pop stores.

“We have also recently expanded into international markets like Australia, New Zealand, and Dubai, and aim to continue tapping new markets,” Sumit says.

Rabitat, which has a team of 30 people, plans to add new categories in the feeding, bath, toddler, and diapering categories.

It is also working on creating a Rabitat community with a separate website called ‘Meet the Mom’, for podcasts with experts, interesting posts on relevant topics, and a forum for mothers to connect with each other. 

“We want to become the one-stop platform for all parents with our premium products, relevant content, and trustworthy community,” Sumit says. 

Edited by Teja Lele Desai

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