Enakshi, an online apparel brand for women has closed their first round of seed fund of 80 Lakhs from a private investor. The brand is also in talks with a clutch of other investors to secure a total funding of $1 million over the next two years to build on its distribution network.

Image Source – Funding

Founded in March 2018, by young founders in their early 20s, Maharsh Shah & Namya Patel, launched Enakshi, a virtual boutique for modern women that offers only exclusive pieces of garments with no two pieces alike. The brand plans to utilize the funding amount to increase the brand’s visibility, improve their existing logistics & technology and to empanel more designers from across the nation. Enakshi also plans to expand their business into brick and mortar stores as a next step to giving its customers a first-hand experience of their favorite Enakshi garments.

Enakshi was launched to address two primary concerns of modern women

  • Their everyday worry of ‘what to wear tomorrow’
  • Their need for exclusivity and novelty in their wardrobe

The virtual boutique helps women explore and discover fashion that is as unique as their individuality. With efficient logistics in place, the brand promises a quick turnaround time by ensuring dispatch on the very same day so that the customers get the garment of their choice sooner than anticipated.

Enakshi ensures novelty by launching a new collection every 21 days, where each collection is designed by a different pool of designers, empaneled by the brand from across the nation. Through this unique approach, the brand also aims at disrupting the fashion industry by providing a platform to many talented yet underappreciated designers from across the nation, to collaboratively showcase their creativity befitting the theme of the collection.

Enakshi Founders – Maharsh Shah [R], Namya Patel [L]

Maharsh Shah, Co-founder Enakshi, said

With the largest social media savvy youth population in the world, India as a market is becoming increasingly fashion conscious. With decades of experience in the women apparel industry through our parent brand Deepkala in Ahmedabad, we noticed that increasing number of women have now started seeking novelty in their every buy and aspire to create a wardrobe that showcases their own individuality. This catapulted the launch of brand Enakshi.

Namya Patel, Co-founder, Enakshi further added

At Enakshi, we brief our empaneled designers to create designs to suit the modern women’s preferences. Our primary target audience is women in the age group of 18-48 yr, that don many hats in their daily lives and pride over their individuality. Our designs, therefore, are fluid, to adorn the multiple roles of these women and our philosophy of ‘One Woman, One Design, One Garment’ ensures that there is only one distinctive piece per design. Our tech ensure that every design ordered is altered in the requested size and dispatched for delivery the same day to keep up with the paced life of a modern woman.

About Enakshi

Enakshi is an apparel brand catering to the modern women. The brand offers a virtual boutique for women to explore and discover fashion that is as unique as them.The designs on order have been created by a hand-picked pool of designers shortlisted by Enakshi and then further curated to suit the brand’s style and vision. Enakshi offers only fresh designs and no two designs are alike, which means only one distinctive piece per design. The company was launched in March, 2018 and is headquartered in Ahmedabad. Enakshi was conceptualized and created by Nilay Shah, Maharsh Shah, and Namya Patel. The early twenties Founders chose to launch from Ahmedabad since it is the hub for fashion designing and also their hometown.

Subscription box services are a huge trend in e-commerce. Whether the contents are carefully selected by the customer [Blue Apron, Dollar Shave Club] or come in the form of a mystery box [Ipsy, Bark Box], people love this business model.

Image Source – Subscription Box Business

Buyers love the personalized surprise every month, while sellers love the predictable income due to recurring fees. It’s also satisfying to source specialty items and cater to a specific niche of discerning customers.

Why It’s a Blockbuster Idea to Start a Subscription Service

The subscription e-commerce market has jumped 100 percent annually for the past five years. According to a recent Forbes article, e-commerce subscribers are in the sweet 25 to 44-year-old demographic and bring home $50,000 to $100,000 a year. Although many current subscribers live in urban environments of the northeastern U.S., the market is growing exponentially. In fact, about 15 percent of online shoppers have one or more subscriptions to get products via monthly box services.

Women make up 60 percent of subscribers, but men are the ones most likely to have at least three active subscriptions to avoid trips to the store. Let’s look at the types of box services currently available in the market.

Three Types of Subscription Box Services

The different box types appeal to the core reasons people love getting them. Some subscribers want a monthly surprise, while others want to pick out each item for an uber-customized package.

  1. Build-A-Box – Customers choose each item from a list. Food and meal plan businesses often work off this model to provide variety and flexibility to clients.
  2. Mystery Box – Subscribers don’t know what they’ll get each month. The box includes regularly available merchandise as well as limited edition products. It provides a rewarding customer experience that increases profits and moves inventory quickly.
  3. Membership Model – This subscription resembles a Costco membership for a monthly fee. It grants access and purchase ability at the store. Membership models build customer loyalty and up-sell capabilities.

How to Build a Subscription Box Business in Eight Steps

Let’s look at each stage of building a subscription box business.

  1. Start with a great idea – Think of products and services that would appeal to a specific market. Common themes are makeup, fitness, or food. When figuring out your niche, get as specific as you can. For example, the categories above can be segmented further into glamour makeup, martial arts equipment, and workout snacks.
  2. Research potential customers – The more honed-in each box is, the easier it is to sell to a specific group of customers. This lets you optimize retention and customer experience.
  3. Develop a prototype box – Try out prototypes in sample markets to get feedback on each component. The idea is to develop a product your target customer will be delighted to receive every month.
  4. Pre-launch by building a community that can get the word out – Use online content, contests, and other strategies to generate buzz and collect email addresses.
  5. Pre-sales phase – This is where you convert test markets and leads to your first paying subscribers.
  6. Show me the money – Presales revenue lets you build and ship the first month’s boxes.
  7. Build – Grow your target demographic to achieve predictable monthly revenue. Use smart tools to manage your inventory and figure out the right quantities to buy. There are free economic order quantity [EOQ] calculators online that can help.
  8. Encourage word of mouth, shares and referrals. If your product is great, people will come back, but it’s equally important to get new customers in the early stages.

Two Manufacturing and Supplier Tips

The production of items for your boxes is a major consideration. Will you outsource this or handle it in-house?

  1. Negotiate – One of the most difficult things to negotiate is what percentage of the subscriber fee the supplier gets. Consider a per unit, per click, or per minute model that’s appropriate for your industry.
  2. Do it yourself – In the subscription business model, the more you can do yourself, the better. In-house sourcing is streamlined and gives an entrepreneur more control over quality and productivity. It comes down to cost and efficiency, but if you have the wherewithal to do so, this is the preferred sourcing.

Two Important Lessons from Successful Subscription Businesses

  1. Price it right – Establishing a price point involves how much you offer and how often, which lets you predict costs. it takes some research to stay competitive and set a realistic margin expectation based on the local market.
  2. Focus on both growth and retention – Customer retention is vital once you establish a steady subscriber base. Business owners must watch competitors and gather feedback from current subscribers. Product development and services should embrace new technology to enhances both the brand image and bottom line. Take Netflix for example. The subscription-based business constantly adapts to ensure growth.

Conclusion

Ultimately, you need to convince your customers that your products or services are worth paying a monthly charge. The way to do this involves maintaining the speed, quality and customer service your subscribers deserve. Then, it’s a no-brainer, and you’re on your way to becoming a sought-after brand with no problem turning a one-time interaction into a continuing relationship.

References1, 2, 3, 4 & 5

About the Author

Laura Gayle is a full-time blogger at BussinessWomanGuide. She regularly writes on business, entrepreneurship, & e-commerce. You can contact Laura here.

After months of small scale rollouts, WebEngage has been roped in by OTA major Goibibo to power the brand’s User & Partner engagement strategy and execution. The Mumbai based SaaS company is touted as one of the leading Marketing Automation platforms to come out of India, having over 40k businesses around the world under their belt. Esteemed brands such as Flipkart, Ebay, Avaya, Sendgrid, Pluralsight, Souq trust WebEngage with their user engagement.

Image Source – WebEngage

As India’s leading online travel brand, millions of Goibibo customers frequent their platform to book flights, train tickets, hotels and outstation cab rides every month. They identified the need for an engagement platform to enhance the overall user experience and increase the number of bookings using Personalization and Contextual cross-channel Communication.

Goibibo CTO, Vikalp Sahni, furthered this view saying

We at Goibibo are strong believers in the power of creating an unparalleled user experience. Giving users a brand experience that helps them solve a problem and creates value for them is the end goal. For that reason, we identified WebEngage as the right platform that will help us get to the goal. Their Journey Designer tool has been a revelation, helping us create lifecycle marketing campaigns at scale while maintaining contextual relevance with hyper-personalization capabilities.

Avlesh Singh, CEO of WebEngage, said

Partnering with one of the leaders of the OTA industry is a huge positive validation of our platform, and its capabilities. We are happy to learn that Indian marketers have advanced in the maturity scale, and are embracing innovative tools like the Journey Designer to create beautiful and highly effective marketing strategies that resonate directly with the end user. This partnership recognizes the need for Marketing Automation in the industry, and how our positioning is perfectly poised to cater to that need diligently.

About WebEngage

WebEngage was founded by Avlesh Singh and Ankit Utreja in 2011. It is a full-stack marketing automation platform that helps B2C companies drive more revenue from their existing customers and anonymous users.

It is a cross-channel user engagement platform which intelligently automates communication across users’ life-cycle. It enables companies to enhance their brand experience with contextual, personalised user engagement via In-App Messages, Push Notifications, Emails and Text Messages and Web Messages [notification, survey and feedback].

METRO Cash & Carry, India’s largest organized wholesale and food specialist announced an exclusive partnership with the technology start-up Chqbook to offer a wide range of financial products and solutions to METRO’s above 3 million transacting customer base across its 25 wholesale stores in the country. In line with its commitment to be a ‘Champion for Independent Business’, METRO has partnered with Chqbook to provide inclusive financial solutions to all small and medium-sized enterprises [SMEs] within the METRO eco-system. The initiative will give SMEs access to best rates, lower fees, and more cashback on credit & debit cards with exceptional customer service.

Commenting on the strategic alliance, Arvind Mediratta, MD & CEO, METRO Cash & Carry India said

At METRO, we are committed to deliver tremendous value to our SME and Kirana value chain. The Indian Government has paved the way for a Digital India through its numerous initiatives and schemes for SMEs. Our partnership with Chqbook.com will provide a large financial marketplace to our 3 million customer base.

It has been our constant endeavor to deliver the best technological and financial support to SMEs to augment the efficiency of their business operations. This partnership is aligned with our mission statement of being a ‘Champion for Independent Business’ as we firmly believe that we are an integral part of their growth and success story in India.

Chqbook’s marketplace will provide financial services to METRO customers in the B2B sector exclusively. It brings competitive rates and fees from 40+ Banks, NBFC’s and Credit Card companies, allowing easier comparisons, instant eligibility checks and quick approvals. It also operates a network of 400+ experts across 15+ cities in the country to provide appointments within 4 hours for document pickups and same day or next day approval for loans & credit cards. Chqbook.com will work with banks and payment providers to bring cash-backs, zero EMI products and pay-later schemes, making purchasing at Metro seamless and helping SME’s and others save financing costs.

Chqbook.com will also offer pre–approved products for METRO customers across Home Loans, Business Loans, Personal Loans, Insurance, Credit Cards, and other Financial Services. It’s recommendation algorithm automatically suggests the right products between various categories, giving customers instant approval, paperless documentation and a digital on–boarding experience resulting in quick disbursals and issuance.

Speaking about the initiative, Vipul Sharma, MD & CEO of Chqbook.com, said

We found a synergy in METRO and Chqbook.com’s approach of unlocking customer value through marketplaces. Our technology, understanding of the financial services sector and our deep commitment to customer service are the cornerstone to create a world class financial service platform. With METRO, we have found a partner who champions the cause of independent businesses similar to our own mission.

This alliance will help both existing and new customers as they will benefit from the cashback programs, personal finance, insurance and a range of products & solutions that Chqbook.com is offering. We are very excited about this partnership and are enthused to work with METRO to bring more innovations and solutions to the evolving SME universe.

About Chqbook

Chqbook is India’s largest market place for AI based personalized financial services. It’s the winner of the SuperStartup Asia 2018 award and currently has over 35+ credit cards, 21 Home Loan providers and 17 Personal loan and Business loan providers listed on it’s platform. Chqbook.com uses it’s proprietary TARA AI journey which provides customers instant and personalized recommendations of products best suited to their credit score, profile and demographics.

It also pulls in data from card issuers, banks and credit bureaus to fine-tune recommendations in real time. Chqbook.com has built the next generation marketplace and provides comparisons, eligibility and a seamless application process across 40 banks and credit card companies. It’s rapidly expanding marketplace brings pre-approved loans, credit cards, insurance and mutual funds to the country’s gen next with a sharp focus on a magical customer experience each and every time. For further information, log on to Chqbook.com

CashKaro – India’s Largest Cashback & Coupons Website has launched the CashKaro App for Android devices. The app which is available for download on the Google Play Store clocked over 10,000 organic downloads within just a week of its launch. In line with CashKaro’s mobile first approach, it is loaded with benefits that make it more lucrative than the website.

Image Source – CashKaro

The CashKaro App promises to give users a smooth and unified Cashback experience. Users will now earn cashback and rewards at over 1500 sites like Amazon.in, Tata CliQ, Nykaa, Jabong among others. The power to shop at all of India’s most popular e-commerce sites from one simple app will likely attract many new users to CashKaro.

CashKaro App users will also get special access to App Exclusive deals of up to 100% Cashback on many retailers. This essentially translates into free shopping opportunities for App users every month. The App Exclusives section offers users nothing but the best cashback deals in the country. For example – The CashKaro App offers Flat Rs 425 Cashback on Rs 425 at Teafloor, Rs 150 Cashback on Rs 150 at MyVishal and a Flat Rs 100 Cashback over Rs 100 on Chumbak – all of which essentially allow users to shop for free!

Apart from these offers, CashKaro also have Cashback Deals for popular sites that already offer great discounts. For example: They offer 24% CashKaro Cashback on top of a Flat Rs 1500 Off Code at AJIO and Rs.300 CashKaro Cashback on top of a Flat 20% Off Code at Shoppers Stop. In a bid to simplify the Cashback journey the app will use push notifications to display important Cashback updates at a glance. This will be a huge convenience since users won’t have to rely on email & SMS updates alone.

The App also gives users a native experience even if they are on the retailer’s site. This is something no other Cashback site offers and will make shopping more intuitive than it has ever been. The app allows, users to check CashKaro powered coupon codes even when they are on the retailer’s site.

Commenting on the launch of the CashKaro App, Rohan Bhargava, Founder, CashKaro.com said

We are excited to share the CashKaro App with the world because it makes earning Cashback and using coupons super simple. It gives users the freedom to save money on everything they buy online from over 1500 of India’s top retailers. The CashKaro App therefore, adds great value to the lives of online shoppers.  Considering the 215% rise in Indian app downloads over the last two years, we expect a large number of users to adopt the CashKaro App. An added incentive for people to use the app is that the deals & cashback rates on our app are even better than the website many have grown to love.

We also plan to roll out the iOS version of our app in the next 3 months. Going forward, the CashKaro App will open up a path to tech innovations in the Cashback & Offers domains.

Everything is seamlessly integrated for ease of navigation- including a section for click tracking that is updated in real-time. Users can easily track their cashback purchases which is a huge factor in evoking trust among consumers. Users can download the App from here.

Arctic Fox has bought in a revolution in backpack industry by launching the colour changing bags, a phenomenon witnessed for the first time globally. After a year of rigorous research, the brand has come up with its range of bags ‘Chameil’- the next generation colour changing bags. These bags will surely add a lot of excitement in your daily routine and not to mention, making the bags and his owner a talk of the town. Designed with its heat-sensing technology fabric, this ultra-modern smart backpack starts changing to vibrant colour, the moment it is exposed to sun rays or for that matter to any source of heat.

Image Source – ArcticFox

Today every brand claims of launching high tech modern bags. So what makes Arctic Fox bags different ?  Arctic Fox has launched bags with built-in USB port. Considering the high charging demand of today’s smart phones, a separate compartment for your power bank is made to make sure that you charge your phone hassle free, on the go. These colour changing bags are available in 4 different colors and can accommodate upto 15 inch laptops in its dedicated premium padded compartment. Chameil also comes with easy access pockets on the top and the sides, specifically designed for shades & accessories.  So now carrying your backpack around with all your gadgets just got more convenient and cooler.

Considering that backpacks are supposed to be carried for longer duration, Arctic Fox design team has paid great attention to the user comfort with well-designed airflow system for comfortable back and Spandex padded shoulder straps for heavy-weight management that let you move around sleekly.

With additional rain cover, accessible pockets, roomy compartments, weather-resistant material, and the durable construction, the bag is a perfect for college students and is sure to capture the imagination of the vivid mind.

Arctic Fox Bags

Sridhar Thirunakara, Founder & CEO, Outshiny India [Parent Company of Arctic Fox], said

I’m very excited to introduce the brand Arctic Fox, primarily targeted at student segment and we have been working for more than a year on the product design with extensive research to understand the user behavior and their day to day problems faced with the present product available in the market. Our core belief is that with relentless optimism and creativity we could solve any problem and achieve our impossible dreams.

Arctic Fox backpacks are available online at Arctic Fox and at all major MBOs.

India’s youngest and fastest growing media brand, ScoopWhoop, has always stood up for the bold, free-spirited Indian woman, supporting her as she overcomes ‘log kya kahenge‘ and other societal drama, to reach her true potential. In keeping with that tradition, ScoopWhoop Shop’s new womens-wear collection is a well-deserved tribute to the ‘unsanskaari‘ Indian woman.

Image Source – ScoopWhoop

The collection features ScoopWhoop’s iconic ‘Kaafi Feminist‘ and ‘Kaafi Liberal‘ designs in a wider range of silhouettes.

Sriparna Tikekar, Co-Founder & COO, ScoopWhoop, said

Our womens-wear collection has been specially crafted for the bold, beautiful, and daring women of today. It’s for those who are not afraid to make a noise for the right reasons.

This collection truly resonates with everything the badass woman of today stands for. Here’s to the fighter, the oddball, the unsanskaari one, who dares to break the rules and makes her own sanskaars rather than following ones she’s not okay with. ScoopWhoop’s Unsanskaari collection is up for grabs at ScoopWhoop’s online Shop

About ScoopWhoop Shop

Browse through a collection of vibrant, quirky products that have zero fucks to give. Just like you. Whether you’re a 90s kid, a feminist, an animal lover, a people hater or just a lazy bugger, you will find something tailored just for you at the ScoopWhoop Shop.

Alibaba, or as the site is now known, AliExpress, is the largest e-commerce store in Asia and has been steadily taking on the shopping giant Amazon. The number of active shoppers using the site in 2017 was a whopping 470 million. Up from 198 million in 2013, this staggering growth is a testament to how popular AliExpress has become.

Image Source – Alibaba-Amazon

And, while the lion’s share of users is in China, India rates in the top three when it comes to the number of users with 6% overall. So, clearly, AliExpress has been making waves in India as well. Can the site take on the big guns? Amazon is a good option for those living in the United Kingdom or the United States for the most part. Those living outside these countries have a very significant disadvantage when it comes to Amazon, though – shipping costs are high.

Sometimes, the shipping costs vastly exceed the cost of the item itself. It is in situations like this that AliExpress usually has a significant advantage. With a lot of the sellers on the site being based in China, and having their shipping costs subsidized, shipping is very reasonable, if charged at all.

The average price of items tends to work out a lot better than on Amazon as well, as the sellers offer very competitive pricing. And they do offer a range of AliExpress coupons and deals. So, you get a massive range of products and some excellent savings at the same time. It is a great deal, but is there a catch?

There is one slight snag with this site. When you are paying a fraction of the cost of shipping or being offered free shipping, you cannot really expect your items to arrive in record time. Depending on where you are based globally, there might be substantial delays. So, you do have to factor that into the equation when considering what purchases you are making. Despite the potential for delays, the site is still very attractive for online shoppers.

The site is well designed and extremely user-friendly. You can tailor your search by category, by price, by how new the listing is, whether or not free shipping is offered, etc. This makes it extremely easy to find exactly what you are looking for.

Found an item and want to make sure that you get the very best price? Simply take a screenshot of the photo, and run an image search – the site will be able to search through and bring up any other similar products. From there you can filter the options to find the best price, if any sellers offer free shipping, etc. And I do recommend checking this out – sellers can offer goods at very different pricing. Some charge less for the item but add on a shipping charge, so do watch that carefully as well. Overall, though, if you want a good deal online, and you want to save on shipping, check out the site. Just be warned, you are going to see a lot of things that you will want.

Image Source – Alibaba Infographic