A one-stop shop for kids, Toonz Retail records Rs 100 Cr turnover with 100 stores across India in nine years

With 100 stores in nine years, Toonz Retail has got its franchise model right. Its in-house clothing brands are now being exported as well. Read on to find out more about this Bengaluru-based kids retail business.
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Shopping for a child is often tedious, especially if it means carting your children from one shop to another. At the end of the shopping spree, nerves are frayed, and the entire family is left in a bad mood.

Though ecommerce marketplaces and malls have brought about more convenience, there is nothing like visiting one store and finding everything your child needs right there.

Understanding this gap, Sharad Venkta and Ankur Agarwal founded Toonz Retail in the year 2010 in Bengaluru, to help parents find everything they need for their children under one roof.

How it started

Sharad recalls the time when he and his wife were spending their weekends running from shop to another collecting essentials for their child. This was when the idea to open a one-stop shop destination for parents sprang up.

He discussed the plan with Ankur, who was into pesticides business at that time. Finding a sound business case in the idea, the two teamed up and formed Toonz Retail.

On discussing business opportunities at the time, there was a clear indication that kids’ retail business was on the rise. We both saw a lot of scope and untapped market in kids’ retail and that is how we decided to go ahead,” Sharad explains.

Toonz Retail operates multi-brand kids’ outlets for all needs and occasions for children aged 0-12 years. The stores today carry anywhere between 1,000 and 3,000 SKUs, including infant fashion, kids fashion, baby essentials, toys, accessories, baby care, and hard goods.

Toonz Retail opened its first store in Bengaluru in 2010, and now there are around 100 stores across India.

The company was founded with an initial investment of Rs 10 crore by Ankur Agarwal. The company now records an annual turnover of Rs 100 crore.

Getting kid couture right

On the initial days, Sharad says that they started out with licensed merchandising with Disney, Dora, and Ben 10 characters in a 1,000 sqft store. However, as they wanted to create a one-stop shop for children’s needs, they had to expand further when it came to their product range.

Kids change clothing five times in a day, starting from their school uniform, to their pajamas at night. We wanted to cater to their needs,” Sharad says.

Toonz started two in-house brands- ‘WOWMOM’--for newborns and toddlers--and ‘Superyoung’-a fashion line for kids between three and 12 years.

These brands are not only available in the Toonz Retail stores but also sold at 300+ counters across the country.

Toonz has a team of designers that style and launches around 400 styles every season. Sharad says, “Our team of designers give the designs to the factories which take orders from us on a contract basis.”

Toonz does not own any manufacturing units. Sharad explains why: “The clothes and designs for each season vary, requiring different applications and machinery. It makes no sense for us to own a factory and have machines idling between seasons.”

The company imports toys, accessories, and hard goods from China.

No child’s play

Running a company on Toonz Retail’s scale comes with its own set of challenges.

“It is more of a franchise-driven business and getting the right set of partners for the

franchisees is always a challenge,” says Sharad, adding that the rent for the brick-and-mortar store pose a challenge too according to various markets and locations.

The brands WOWMOM and Superyoung are listed on ecommerce platforms like Amazon, and Flipkart. While they also sell on their own website, Sharad notes that they don’t focus much on online efforts as much as they do offline.

Currently, Toonz brand exports its clothing lines to countries like Fiji, Mauritius, Saudi Arabia, Nepal, and Papua New Guinea besides having stores across 60 cities including Kanpur, Lucknow, Patiala, Chennai, Jodhpur, and Solapur

Future prospects

For the future, Toonz is planning to expand its presence to ‘large format stores’, with a special focus on Tier II and III markets. It is also looking at increasing its presence in existing cities as well as expanding in more markets. Beefing up the online presence and expanding product categories are on the cards as well.

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