“Why not create an aggregator platform for all the players?” he questioned his son. Kidswear is one sector that has 15–20 product categories. Plus, we are the only sector in the industry with 16 age groups, and a short shelf life of each, and not every brand deals with all the categories.
“To create a robust application which fits everyone’s requirements was a challenging task. Plus, Kolkata self-invites hurdles. And in such a scenario stitching up a tech team was another daunting task. From August to December, we kept looking for the right tech resources. It did not help that I have no tech background and so I knew I needed a core team I could trust. With help from a seasoned IT professional, I got connected to some more techs from his industry and we built an inhouse 6-member team. From December 2020 to January 2022, we worked on the app and it was in February 22 that we finally launched it. It took about 17 months from ideation to application, concept, prototype, where we began our initial POC in January 2022.”
February 2022 saw Mayank travel “to 24 cities in 38 days. Every 24 hours I was heading to a new city to meet retailers. I met about 160–170 retailers and was pleasantly surprised to learn that there were many young, second generation retailers, in the 23–26 age group, in towns like Amravati, Latur, Akola (Maharashtra), Hoshiarpur (Punjab), and many of them did not want to carry on with their father’s business.
“When I met these retailers in these small towns, their excitement was astonishing”. They wanted a platform like KidCity. They were excited to know that they could do a small order purchase, where a minimum order value is as small as ₹5,000. This was unlike what they had seen their fathers do—seasonal buying for ₹15–20 lakh. This meant that they would come to Kolkata in January every year and place an order for the next 5–6 months. Having stocked up, there were always chances that anything could go wrong—from recession, to local political issues to weather that could keep the shoppers at bay and the stock thus gets stuck with the retailer. And when that happens it is demoralising for the young entrepreneur who would have just joined the family business.
“So, when I told them that they can purchase for as less as ₹5,000—one brand, one design, one box—this is what they wanted, a change in the way they could purchase.” In KidCity, the buying pattern changes which frees up capital to further expand their business. Plus, with this direct selling KidCity is passing on the middleman’s margin of 15–25% to the retailer. Again, it does away with the entire business of sales execs travelling with a suitcase full of clothes from showing to selling and buying in a two-month cycle.
Within the first four months, the KidCity app onboarded around 3,000 retailers with about 42% repeat orders and an average order value of ₹17,800. The process to onboard brands from Delhi has also begun. It is evident that brands need tech-enabled platforms to get access to the farthest market in every corner of the country. Seamless connectivity will boost prosperity for both the primary stakeholders.