I love a good story, be it through advertisements, movies or an entrepreneur who dared to think differently. I believe in bringing in fresh perspectives -- to a corporate profile or a Facebook post -- like new wine in an even newer bottle. I graduated with a journalism degree from the Xavier Institute of Communications. My weekend rituals involve watching Bollywood movies and reading up on style trends.
Ananya Birla, the third-generation scion of the Birla family, on Thursday announced the launch of her second venture CuroCarte, an inventory-based global luxury ecommerce platform, which will go live on Sunday, September 11. The website will curate and sell over 1,500 decorative and utility-based products like wall décor, crockery, jewellery boxes sourced from nine countries currently, including India, Spain, Portugal, Vietnam, Thailand, Morocco and France. The products will be priced in the range of Rs 7,000 to Rs 12,000. The initial investment for the venture is Rs 6 crore.
“We curate these products directly from the makers and are trying to organise the unorganised market through technology. The target age group, according to research, is 28 onwards, as it is a premium platform and requires high disposable income. But I feel that it will be pulled down to 25 onwards,” says Birla, 22, founder and CEO, CuroCarte, which has currently employed around 50 people. She adds that they will buy the products outright from the makers and give them the best remuneration based on their skill-set and quality.
While not all products are exclusive to CuroCarte, Birla says they have an in-house design team which works with the makers to create products exclusive to the startup. The brand will be marketed largely through digital and outdoor campaigns. “We have also tied up with last mile delivery partners in the industry. It will take anywhere between 45 and 90 days for the products to be made. For products that we are in stock, delivery time will be 3-7 days,” says Kanupriya Verma, COO, CuroCarte.
Entrepreneurship is not new for Birla. Her first venture, Svatantra Microfin Pvt Ltd, a Mumbai-based startup microfinance institution (MFI), was launched in 2013 with the aim of empowering women in rural areas of Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh and will break-even this year.
“This venture is very different from Svatantra. But one thing I realised stays common is that a team is what makes everything. Values and ethics are integral for any business and that is something my parents have inculcated in me. Also, it is very important to not lose sight of your vision and have a sound business model and revenue model,” says Birla. She makes it clear that CuroCarte will never go down the discounts route to acquire customers.
The website launch will be followed by an app launch “after people know what we are all about,” says Birla. In the next one year, CuroCarte plans to start catering to international demand and also raise funds going forward.