“When Bewakoof started, India hadn’t even heard of the concept of a D2C brand”
While the global pandemic has bought economies to a halt and massively disrupted businesses, it has also fuelled start-up dreams and we are seeing several Indian start-ups achieving Unicorn status during the pandemic period. The times have never been better for the budding entrepreneurs to give wings to their start-up dreams.
The Government, too, has come up with various schemes to support its ‘Vocal for Local’ drive. A case in point is the Rs 1,000 crore Start-up India Seed Fund announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the Start-up India International Summit 2021 held earlier this year.
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Adgully has been putting the spotlight on the entrepreneurs who fought against all odds to bring their dreams to fruition in our special series – START-UP STARS. We at Adgully wholeheartedly support the ‘Vocal for Local’ movement and over the next few months will be featuring all local/ homegrown businesses, brands and Apps.
Prabhkiran Singh not just studied at IIT Bombay, but also had his first taste of entrepreneurship starting a flavoured lassi store, called Khadki Lassi, on campus.
Singh was always clear about building out a tech-enabled consumer brand as a founder. Bewakoof.com was born in 2012 as a digital-first fashion and e-commerce brand. It was launched at a time when India hadn’t even heard of the concept of D2C brand. Today, the D2C fashion brand has built a strong base on social media, with content marketing as a key growth strategy.
The brand philosophy is to add light-heartedness to life through its self-expressive products and fun shopping experiences. The expressions that the brand enables on products are relatable and Indian in nature, including prints in regional languages (Hindi, Marathi, Bengali, Telugu, Gujarati, etc). As the smaller towns of India have shifted online in the last 3 years, the USP of Indian inspiration and regional languages have helped the brand grow. Bewakoof is popular for its offerings in casual-wear and has recently launched Indo-fusion ethnic and sleepwear along with a range of collaborations with Marvel, DC Comics, Looney Tunes, Star Wars, F.R.I.E.N.D.S, and Disney and Pride collections.
Bewakoof secured funding of Rs 30 crore in March 2021, which it is utilising for strengthening its brand, growing its team as well as increasing its investment in good content. The brand recently on-boarded actors Rajkummar Rao and Sanya Malhotra as its brand ambassadors for building a more intimate connect with its core audience base. Bewakoof, which has largely been using digital for its marketing strategy is now gearing up for its first TV campaign, which is expected to be rolled out soon.
In conversation with Adgully, Prabhkiran Singh, Co-founder-CEO, Bewakoof, speaks about the growth story of the start-up and his learnings from the pandemic.
What need gap did you want to fulfil with your start-up? What is the core business proposition?
India hasn’t had a local brand which the youth of today can identify with. MTV and Pepsi were the last who occupied this space. To that extent our only real competitor is Instagram for the love, time and affection of the Indian youth.
How did you identify your TG? Did you carry out any feasibility study prior to starting your business?
Our TG belongs to the 18-32 age group, who are expressive, have a point of view and want hatke products. Great products at sharp pricing. The founders themselves live the life of this TG.
What were the challenges that you faced in your start-up journey and how did you overcome them?
Zindagi Har Kadam Ek Nai Jung Hai! Design to sourcing to hiring to fund raise to brand creation – everything has to be built from scratch and when we started, India hadn’t even heard of the concept of D2C brand.
What were the clearances that you required for your venture from various authorities?
GST, ESI, EPF, PAN, shop & establishment.
Funds/ finance is the prime issue of almost all start-ups. What can the industry and the Government do to address this issue and ease the capital requirements of start-ups?
Low interest working capital without collateral.
Earlier this year, Prime Minister Modi announced a Start-up India Seed Fund. How do you see start-ups benefiting from it?
The Start-up India Seed Fund is a good scheme for start-ups to get to proof of concept, prototyping and product trials. It gets them into a semi-matured state where private institutional capital could step in to help scale.
How is digital helping you further your business?
Our entire business is built on digital only. And as all industries transition to digital accelerated by COVID-19, Bewakoof intends to turn from challenger to market leader in the next few years.
What were your key learnings from 2020? How do you see the start-up ecosystem progressing in 2021?
The biggest learning from the pandemic was that everything is possible and that too at speed. We overestimate the time required to bring in transformative change.
What would be your message for the budding entrepreneurs?
Himmat ae Marda, madad e khuda. Grit!