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Image: Madhu Kapparath
Co-founder, and head of curation and retail, Jaypore
On one end of the spectrum, you have mass market brands that form about 80 percent of the apparel market. On the other, you have luxury brands that form 20 percent. There is a vast void in the middle that Jaypore fills,” says Shilpa Sharma, 51, co-founder, and head of curation and retail, at Jaypore, which has distinguished itself in the online fashion and home accents segment by providing a superior shopping experience, and a wide range of high-quality handcrafted products.
Although handcrafted is a bit of a buzzword, with several brands claiming it, Sharma says many of them offer a small range of products, or don’t have the wherewithal to increase their geographical footprint. “The Jaypore customer is older than those shopping on Jabong or Myntra, and is not wooed by online sales. Our average ticket size is upwards of ₹4,000 as compared to ecommerce industry standards in the region of ₹900-₹1,200,” she adds. “When we started Jaypore, we were clear that it has to be a sticky, and differentiated product proposition in order to be successful, else we would be deemed an ‘also ran’.” And sticky it is, with more than 60 percent of customers being repeat buyers.
Started in 2012 along with co-founder Puneet Chawla, with ₹2 crore in seed funding from Haresh Chawla, partner at True North (formerly India Value Fund Advisors), Jaypore received $5 million in investments from social venture capital firm Aavishkaar in February 2016, and another $2 million (including convertibles) in 2017. “We have seen that although artisanal crafts is a big job creator, there are challenges in selling them, since they are sold through retail formats that are capital intensive,” says Vineet Rai, founder and CEO Aavishkaar-Intellecap Group. “The extent of Jaypore’s reach through ecommerce and technology addresses these challenges. Also, Shilpa has a rare combination of understanding very well the backend sector of artisanal crafts, as well as the tastes and preferences of upper middle class Indians.”
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Rai expects the company to grow by 100 percent in the next 12 months—it has grown more than 2.5 times since Aavishkaar’s first tranche of investment—with revenues between ₹120 crore and ₹150 crore.
After having launched its eponymous in-house private brand of clothing three years ago, Jaypore launched its second brand, Anan, targeted at a younger clientele, six months ago.
Last year, Jaypore also began its Open House events—pop-up exhibitions—to showcase its products in different cities. “They enable customers to get a tactile feel of the products and the Jaypore aesthetic and help us understand the preferences of our audiences,” says Sharma. There have been seven Open Houses so far, and plans are afoot to host one every month in 2018.
The company also plans to eventually open its own stores.