This B2B yarn marketplace is digitising and streamlining the highly fragmented yarn industry
Among many things, India is known for its textiles. The beautiful fabrics that India weaves are popular in many parts of the world providing a uniqueness to India’s culture and heritage.
(L-R) The Yarn Bazaar Founder Pratik Gadia and Co-founders Vishal Darak, Akshat Doshi, and Steven Enamakel.
However, the reality behind the industry is grim. The yarn, which is the basic raw material for fabrics, is sourced from mills across the country. The market is highly unorganised and fragmented. In addition, the presence of several middlemen in the value chain also makes it difficult for the buyer to get a fair price.
Today, ‘Vocal for Local’ campaign and digitisation are being hailed as the need of the hour in order to revive businesses from the COVID-19 impact. The same holds true for the yarn and textiles industry.
Digitising the yarn industry
Mumbai-based Theis one company that is digitising the yarn industry. In just a year, the company has closed a GMV of Rs 58 crore.
Pratik Gadia’s family is in the textile industry. The business entailed manufacturing and wholesaling of textile fabrics. After working in the family business for almost five years, Pratik realised that the industry was in dire need of change. He says, “I saw that procurement of yarn was a big challenge and it also impacted our production plans.”
The industry works on credit which means a lot is at stake and if there is a delay in delivering the yarn, then the entire production process is disrupted.
This is when the idea to start an online B2B marketplace for yarn which is a one-stop solution for all yarn needs for a buyer occurred to Pratik. But convincing the family was a big challenge for him.
The idea of changing an industry which has been running in a certain direction for so many years didn’t seem to convince his family. He says, “As youngsters it sounds logical but if you talk to someone who is 50 plus then it is difficult to convince them because they don’t relate to digitisation.”
Soon after, Vishal Darak, also hailing from a textile business family joined the team. After trying his hand at several startups, when things didn’t work out, Vishal came back to his family business. Three months later, he realised that running traditional businesses was not his cup of tea. “The way people function in the textile industry is very discouraging,” he adds.
How it works
The Yarn Bazaar was launched in July 2019. The business model functions through a website and Android and IOS mobile applications. It is a holistic one-stop platform for discovering good quality yarn, getting the best price, and also vendors.
Pratik says in the offline industry, it is very difficult to find a good price and also communicating with manufacturers and traders is a big hassle. When both the trader and buyer register themselves on the platform, it smoothens a lot of creases in communication as well. Moreover, there is no room for credit on the platform as everything works on an advance payment basis.
Both buyers and sellers have to create their profiles on the platform. The buyer can post his requirements, compare prices from a list of sellers and place orders accordingly. The buyer can also request for a sample of the yarn and order for a test report to keep track of the quality of the yarn. When both the parties are satisfied, the transaction happens through the platform. The Yarn Bazaar charges a convenience fee from the transactions.
So far, more than 1,300 sellers have registered on the platform.
Bringing the industry closer
The Yarn Bazaar is bringing the yarn industry closer while at the same time increasing trust within the stakeholders and also reducing the chances of fraud.
Pratik says his vision is to take the business model to other industries such as polymers, coal, and chemicals. But currently he wants to focus on scaling.
The platform has some well-known mills registered such as Grasim (Aditya Birla), Trident, Pallavaa, Sintex etc.
Pratik says the business has several competitors in the offline space. However, due to lack of development in the online space, the company is adopting several trial and error methods.
COVID-19 has also proved to be a learning period for the business. “When the pandemic broke out and the lockdown was announced, we thought we are gone,” says Pratik.
With migrant workers ready to go back to their villages and mills shut, the co-founders were extremely worried about how the next few months will look like.
However, the founders used this time to launch their YouTube channel and conduct a lot of webinars and podcasts with industry players in the market.
“This increased our credibility in the market and we started getting a lot of queries,” says Vishal.
The world has changed in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. For The Yarn Bazaar, demand for yarn has seen some significant changes over the last four months. For instance, the demand for Hemp yarn has increased.
As the Indian economy gradually starts opening, The Yarn Bazaar plans to enter into the export market soon while coming up with ways to implement technology such as enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions in yarn mills in India.