From earning Rs 6000 a month to building a multi-crore footwear business on Flipkart, an Agra-based online seller’s phenomenal story
Harish Dharamdasani, a 30-year-old second-generation entrepreneur, runs a successful footwear business on Flipkart. His brand Layasa clocks a monthly revenue of Rs. 3 crore on the e-commerce platform. Unlike many businesses that are facing uncertainties as a result of the pandemic, Harish says he is positive about good sales prospects during this festive season. “Ever since the lockdown, we have seen an increase in our customer base. So we are expecting good business this festive season too.” His preparations to meet the rise in festive demand began six months ago.
“Apart from stocking up products, we have curated a special product catalogue for this year’s festive season which will be going live in a few days. This was curated based on recent market trends and customer demand. We are also looking to hire more employees to meet the rising demand.”
The reason they began preparing for this year’s festive season early, even amidst the pandemic, is because last year they hadn’t anticipated the steep rise in demand and ran out of stock. “This year we have already stocked up in the Flipkart warehouses.” This is not the first time he is leveraging Flipkart’s fulfillment centres. During the nationwide lockdown, he sent over 70 percent of his stock to the Flipkart fulfillment centres. “I was working with just minimum manpower. But, I did not want this to impact my sales. In hindsight, this was a good decision. Not only was I able to run the business, but also do so with ease, especially given the fact that Flipkart also managed the returns.” Harish maintains that while online businesses were seeing an increase in customer footfall over the last few years in India, the pandemic has been an additional ‘push’ factor that converted a lot of offline customers online. “But now, the other reason why customers have begun to prefer buying online is because offline stores are finding it challenging to introduce new stock as they still have old inventory that is yet to be sold.”
Unearthing the potential of online selling
Harish’s business has been growing steadily over the years. But, it took him five years and a leap of faith to get here. Harish’s father owned and managed a footwear business in Rajasthan, However, his sudden demise impacted the family and business alike. “After my father passed away, I wanted to continue his legacy. But, the store wasn’t doing well. So, we shut the offline store and I started working for a wholesale business in Agra.” When Harish began his first job, he was earning Rs 6000 a month. The next few years saw him working hard and putting his best at work. “I earned 30,000 a month. But, I was never happy because I really wanted to start something on my own.” It was 2014, around this time online selling was beginning to emerge as a viable option for businesses. “When I first heard about online selling. I dismissed it. I remember thinking to myself, how can people sell and make profits online. I had innumerable apprehensions and questions. But, when I came across sellers getting 3000-4000 orders by selling online, I decided to give it a chance.”
Harish started Layasa retailing men’s footwear and registered as a seller on Flipkart in 2015. “After registering, I was assigned an Account Manager who took me through the process because I was fairly new to the mechanics of online selling. I was given guidance to the last detail of how to manage listing and orders.” Orders started pouring from on Day 1. It was a slow start but the months to come saw a steady surge in orders. ”When I started selling online in 2015, I just had my wife to help and we worked out of a 1000 sq ft space. In five years, I now have a 30-member strong team and three large warehouses – one in Bengaluru and two in Agra”.
Harish has now expanded his product portfolio to include kids’ footwear and has plans to expand into women’s footwear. A common pitfall for fast-growing businesses is that at times quality takes a backseat, opines Harish. That’s why he continues to keep a close watch on customer reviews.
“My aim has always been to bring the best quality products at a reasonable price to the customers. I have always given extra importance to customer reviews – their feedback has helped me improve the quality of products and set the right kind of price over the years.” Harish says, “I had to work very hard to be where I am today.”
Even today, the entrepreneur spends over 12 hours at work. But, he adds that Flipkart has also played an equal role in his growth. “Flipkart provides the handholding support you need in your journey to grow – right from the initial days as a first-time entrepreneur to becoming a multi-crore business later in the journey.” He adds, “Looking back, I couldn’t be more glad that I chose to start my journey as an entrepreneur on Flipkart. There is a sense of belonging and trust I have developed with Flipkart over the last few years.” Becoming a brand Harish says that the decision to start an online business on Flipkart has been a significant milestone that changed his life’s trajectory. “Today, I am happy and satisfied with the business I have built. I take pride in having won the Top Seller Award from Flipkart in Agra. But, my biggest milestone is that Layasa is a well-known brand. People may not know me, but they recognise the brand. Sometimes it takes decades for businesses to become a brand, and with Flipkart, I was able to do this in just five years. And, this is phenomenal according to me”
They do sell on Amazon, Shopclues etc..
Read more at: https://yourstory.com/2020/10/multi-crore-footwear-business-flipkart-agra