We all love to present gifts and surprise our dear ones on special occasions…Isn’t it? But how many times do we think of pampering ourselves and indulging in different experiences every time? Quite occasionally maybe!
But now, there’s no need to wait for someone to pamper you. People are now waking up to the importance of self love and wellness, and a sea change could be seen in consumers’ behavior – both young and grow-ups. Here’s an inspiring story of a 25-year old young lady from Kolkata, who brings to you an exciting and novel concept of little sweet boxes filled with wonders of joy and happiness.
Holding its genesis from a casual discussion over a cup of coffee with her spouse sparked the entrepreneurial spirit in her. The perpetual love for shopping, emerging fashion trends and her knowledge of economics led Niharika Jhunjhunwala to kickstart Sugarbox in 2014 – a curated box full of exclusive goodies handpicked by a team of in-house stylists and experts offering unique experience nothing less than the best of fashion, beauty, lifestyle and gourmet products at your doorstep every month.
In a tete-a-tete with Entrepreneur, Jhunjhunwala unfolds her rewarding entrepreneurial journey:
What made you take a shift from the realms of family business and nesting something on your own?
Right after my graduation from LSR and LSE, I have been brimming with new ideas for businesses and how to improve my family business. In India, family businesses are run in the “if it is not broken, why fix it” mode. Hence, to keep the peace, I decided to fly out of the family nest and experiment with a few ideas of my own. Sugarbox is one of these ideas. Ever since its inception, I have been completely overtaken by it. It has tapped into my sixth sense of shopping and carefully crafted ‘mardwadi’ skill of making money.
What was the family’s reaction towards your new venture?
My husband has been the one pushing me to start something of my own. He had loved the idea from day one and helped me visualise it. The rest of the family was very apprehensive regarding the viability and feasibility of this idea. It took them some time to understand it. But once the idea turned into something tangible, everyone has been extremely supportive.
What led to your interest in the field of gifting?
Traditionally, gifting has always been about giving to someone else. In today’s hectic lifestyle, there are a lot of convenient options to gift others. I decided to look at things a little differently. I asked myself - why one shouldn’t gift them a little something every month. This was the key ingredient of the eventual experience Sugarbox endeavours to achieve – a nicely packaged surprise gift to you at the end of the month of full sized products across multiple categories. It carries the sheer happiness of coming back home after a long day of work and receiving a box full of wonderful and valued goodies.
How did you fund your business? Which areas of business your husband takes care of?
My husband made the initial investment of Rs 10 lakh and now the business funds itself. It’s a profitable venture and the present turnover is more than Rs 25 lakh. My husband helps me with business strategy, marketing and operations.
How did you crack your first order?
Before the public launch of Sugarbox, we started building intrigue around various social media platforms. Even before the first box was rolled out, we started getting a lot of questions about the service. People were extremely excited to know what’s in store for them, since the service is extremely different from the existing peers.
We launched our first set of boxes in November, which were only given to a select few people. These boxes were not for sale. Once these people started sharing their experience, both online and offline, our strategy of building intrigue and being selective paid off. We started getting orders pretty much immediately.
What’s the amount of revenue generation from metro, tier II and III cities?
Metros have the maximum contribution – around 65 per cent sales come through them. We also have orders coming from Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities like Indore, Surat, Ludhiana, Chandigarh, and Jammu, etc. These comprise the rest 35 per cent of the sales.
With government supporting eCommerce industry, what positive impact it has on the business?
I am not sure about any direct impacts. But, indirectly, the growth of the eCommerce industry has created benefits for us – it raises awareness and faith among people for buying online. On the logistic side – there has been an influx of many providers in the recent past. Growth of eCommerce pushes them to work more competently and efficiently. Various secure payment services have cropped up and different modes of payment have been made it easier for our customers.
What are your future expansion plans?
We aim to grow our subscriber base organically. We are looking to reach out to more and more consumers through brand promotions, on ground marketing activities and social media engagements.
What’s your opinion about other start-ups coming up in this space?
The more the merrier. This is a huge market that can sustain many more of us. However, we have to continue to innovate and stay a few steps ahead of the rest. We have found our niche, which is different from the existing players. We will continue finding these opportunities of growth.
(With Inputs from Swadha Mishra)