Launching about 500 new styles daily, Hopscotch is now India’s fastest growing kids fashion brand
Till some time ago, kids’ fashion meant a pinafore dress, preferably in pink, for girls and grey-blue-black for boys. Things have clearly changed. And that realisation stuck 40-year-old Rahul Anand, an MBA from Harvard Business School, who was living in New York City back in 2012 when he saw his friends in Mumbai who had become parents travel all the way to NYC just to shop for their little ones. They would say it wasn’t an extravagance, the difference in price and sheer accessibility of brands justified the cost of a flight to NYC! That’s when it struck Rahul that providing access to unique and trendy clothes for children could be a viable business idea. Thus, Hopscotch was conceived.
Naturally, the next big step was funding. Rahul was working as director of product management at Diapers.com that had emerged as the number one online baby retailer in the US and was later acquired by Amazon for $545MM. Rahul convinced his ex-boss and the leadership team at Diapers.com to invest before he moved back home to give shape to Hopscotch.
Hopscotch is now India’s fastest growing kids fashion brand, a one-stop-destination for all kids needs and is available across 1,300 cities.
Hopscotch provides an unbeatable value proposition by offering parents the latest global fashion trends in clothing, shoes, and accessories for their kids at unbeatable price-points. The company now launches about 500 new styles daily, a feat made possible only through a team that consists of international designers across China, Thailand, India, and the US who track fashion weeks and couture trends to source and curate the best of global kids fashion trends in real time. Ensuring a strong digital presence coupled with a seamless customer interface, Hopscotch products are also available across marketplaces like Amazon, Paytm & Myntra amongst others.
Headquartered in Mumbai and ShenZhen, Hopscotch, which is in the process of expanding into Bangalore, has crossed the 500 crore valuation mark in terms of sale in India. Moreover, the brand has crossed some noteworthy milestones in the process. According to Rahul, the brand has had strong organic growth from the early days itself.
We were fortunate to achieve strong product-market fit pretty much from day one. We’ve had to constantly find PMF as the business has scaled and reached new customers but on the whole, we’ve enjoyed strong organic growth from the early days.
Other milestones, says Rahul, include a strong set of investors to support the ambitions, non-linear growth as the technology platform and data engine hit an inflexion point in 2017 allowing them to cater to customers across the country with diverse style preferences and crossing 1M moms as customers and seeing half of the business being generated from top 20 metros.
These milestones are incredible considering the market is growing at an impressive 30% YOY and is expected to reach $14B by 2022. Rahul says that they don’t, however, believe these studies truly capture the market potential. “We’re seeing our average customer visit us 52 times a year - Zara, the largest in fast-fashion is at 17 times - and purchasing 9-12 times a year so the behavioural patterns we’re seeing are very different than what these studies show. By leveraging data and technology as our core capabilities, we’re able to introduce unique, fashionable merchandise every few days to customers with varying taste preferences, and that’s driving phenomenal repeat purchases,” he adds.
According to Barclay’s, the kids’ fashion market experienced a staggering 29.2% growth rate to reach $5.5B in 2018 and it is expected to reach $14B by 2022. Rahul says, “At Hopscotch, we aim to provide an unbeatable value proposition by offering moms the latest global head-to-toe fashion trends at unbeatable price-points. We launch 300x more styles than traditional retailers, which is 120,000 styles per year – offering our consumers abundant variety coupled with the latest trends in kids fashion.”
Hopscotch has had its own hurdles to reach where it is now. The biggest challenege he faced, says Rahul, is accessing great talent. “I see many founders and leadership teams obsess over fundraising. Fundraising is important but only so that we can continue to attract the best engineers, product managers and data-scientists,” he says.
He, however, has been managing critical areas of the business quite effortlessly by hiring the best hands. “We have phenomenal teams on the finance and sourcing parts of the business. We have two sets of customers—vendors and end consumers. Our sourcing team, in collaboration with finance, partners with our vendors to help optimise working capital by turning inventory fast, making timely payments, and returning slow moving items as fast as possible,” he says.
Hopscotch works with over 200 factories that run lean operations. He says, “As partners, it’s critical, we help them by reducing uncertainty in their businesses. This naturally extends to providing rich sales visibility as well so that our vendors can get smarter about our end customers’ tastes and in turn drive better product innovation.”
Rahul Anand’s success with Hopscotch is truly inspirational. Rahul says every entrepreneur, regardless of the industry, should strive to combine personal passion with a burning customer need for something special to happen. That’s an advice that could come in handy any day.