This Flipkart seller started a dry fruits brand during the pandemic and is looking to clock Rs 10 Cr revenue this year
Chitra Vyas, a seller with Flipkart, is a techie-turned-entrepreneur. After completing her MTech in Electronics, she worked with Infosys for a while before starting up on her own. Hailing from Bikaner, she moved to Hyderabad after her wedding.
Her husband comes from a family of entrepreneurs and Chitra felt the itch to start her own business. In 2011, when ecommerce was starting off in India, she decided to sell jewellery, handicrafts, and a few electronics items, as her family owned an electronic store, through her own ecommerce website, ShoppingWhopping.
Chitra Vyas with her range of Soft Art products
But sales were not picking up as she had anticipated. Once she became a Flipkart seller in 2016, from 10-15 orders a day, sales jumped to around 100 orders a day within a week, and with support from Flipkart, Chitra became one of the highest performing sellers on Flipkart in just three months. Since then, there has been no looking back.
“Later, on the advice of a friend, I decided to try my hand in selling footwear, and onboarded popular brands like Relexo, Khadim, Lotto, Bata, Sparks, and Liberty, and started getting around 1,500 orders a day,” she says.
When COVID-19 hit India in 2020 and the country went into lockdown, Chitra correctly anticipated that sales in the fashion and footwear category would be low. She immediately decided to pivot to sales of dry fruits that would fall under the “essentials” category. Thus Soft Art, her brand of dry fruits, came into being.
Moving forward to Flipkart
Chitra Vyas with her team
Things did not go great in the beginning. “While we were happy, we had another category to cash in on, we got only around 20-30 orders in a day. But with the help of Flipkart, which always helped us with training, customer reviews, and feedback whenever we started a new category, sales started picking up,” says Chitra.
Since its inception last year, Chitra says Soft Art has grown by 5X and is now an established dry fruits brand. She also clocked over 1,000 orders during Big Billion Days.
“Initially, we sourced the products from local distributors, but when orders began pouring in, we began sourcing different products from all over India, places well-known for their production and included wholesalers from Mumbai and Delhi,” she adds.
The dry fruits are sorted at their warehouse and repacked in vacuum packs to retain freshness before they are ready for delivery. Chitra operates with a team of 25 out of a three-storey building encompassing 7,000 sq ft in Hyderabad.
“The season begins in July, and hopefully there will be an increase in the number of orders in all categories. We are focused on 5x growth with a revenue of Rs 10 crore in the coming year,” Chitra says. She declined to comment on operating expenses or net profit.
Apart from the challenges posed by the lockdown, Chitra says a lot of hard work goes into establishing one’s own brand, in her case, Soft Art.
“The footwear brands were already well-established. But getting people to trust in an online dry fruit brand was a challenge. We had to offer products of top-notch quality that were also affordable. Based on customer feedback and requirements, we have been able to meet these standards,” she says.
Her plans include expanding to other food categories, especially the wide variety available from her hometown, Bikaner.
“I am looking forward to visiting Bikaner and sourcing the best food items available there,” she says.