Opportunity seldom knocks the door directly. For Darshan Patodi, the break in his career journey due to a surgery turned out to be a blessing in disguise. A bedside conversation with his wife Pallavi, post the surgery paved way for the profitable online fashion store for ethnic apparels – yellowfashion.in
Pooling funds from personal savings, the duo had a quick blueprint ready and in less than a month was set to take on the ecommerce bandwagon. The domain expertise coupled with analytical thinking, Darshan was clear that there was a never-ending demand for traditional attire, especially the sarees.
Armed with Masters in Advertising & Public Relations and with over 14 years of exposure to various functions like product development, sales, marketing & operations, online & mobile marketing, pricing and monetization in the Indian Internet, Darshan had the finesse to be a successful online entrepreneur. The seamless journey was further accentuated by the combined experience of having worked with brands like Jeevansathi.com, Naukri.Com, Rediff, Hoonur, Bigadda, Baazee (now eBay) and the experience of having worked with start-ups in the consumer internet business.
Indulging on games on Xbox with kids is a stress buster for Darshan, who also takes to reading during leisure time. Books authored by new age entrepreneurs are his choice, like Tony Hsieh (of Zappos), Peter Thiel (of PayPal) among others.
In conversation with Dominic Rebello, this brilliant young entrepreneur unravels the path ahead for himself and his business. His views…
What drives you?
As an entrepreneur, the fuel which drives me is the belief that I have in the potential of Yellowfashion.in.
We as team get super excited and more convinced with every time we receive a new order from the remotest parts of country (as most of these orders are placed using mobile phone).Mainly order which we get from Tier III cities, though being part of remote area women are so dedicated for buying a saree, 90 % of them prefer giving COD.
Apart from this it is my wife Pallavi, Co-founder of yellowfashion, she is an passionate women. Her dedication towards every work which she does motivates me.She incurs zeal in me to move forward.
How big is the potential for a business like yours? What kind of numbers do you expect from a business like yours? Any statistics to compare with international standards?
Women ethnic apparel market is over Rs 50,000 crores annually. The current online market share is still in single digit percentage compared to Offline Sales. Women customers in Tier III & IV are still on the side-lines and in very early stage of exploring online shopping. And so we see a very large head-room left for all Ecommerce businesses to grow.
We are focused on Sarees, and currently 99% of our orders come from India. Apart from tier I and II, we are receiving orders from the remotest parts of the country where only Indian Post delivers. We get more than 12% Orders from these remotest corners of India and that trend is growing. A large percentage of our customers are also Doctors, Teachers, Professors, Working professionals who wear Sarees as part of their lifestyle.
For Current year (FY15-16), we are on a Net Sales Revenue run-rate of 15 Crores. We have profitably grown close to 100% year on year and we expect the similar growth to remain for next couple of years.
How do you plan to scale up; raise funds through seed or venture capital or simply grow the old fashioned way through rising turnovers?
4 years back, we boot-strapped with personal savings and since then we have grown the business through rising turnover. However, we are now better placed to raise funds and grow much faster than the usual 100% we have been doing. We are in early discussion with Investors and offline Brands.
For Growth, we are opening more sourcing locations, going aggressive on Mobile Marketing and working on our private label.
Who would primarily be your consumer audience?
I believe anyone who wear sarees is my consumer audience but our primary customers are Women in age group of 32-55 years. From housewife, teacher, doctors and other professionals. We also want to spread in major part of Tier III cities. As per to our data women from the interior of India are more willing to buy saree and what they prefer is COD,12 % of our product is delivered I the remotest part where of women from the interior region we cater every month.
Where do you see yourself five years down the road?
We want to build Yellowfashion.in - as a large and trusted destination for Women Ethnic Apparel - where every Indian Women can find a Apparel for her needs and occasion.We will continue to bring an adornment of beauty, elegance and grace woven in everyevery piece of product which we deliver. Women's wear market is dominated by ethnic. The modern Indian traditional women are increasingly opting for modern retail, tech-friendly format in ethnic and contemporary wear, owing to an increase in disposable incomes and more women joining the workforce. Trends have led to a sea change in the wardrobe of the modern Indian traditional women. With this yellowfashion will soon become premiere destination for Indian Ethnic wear.