This Pune-based startup offers modern and artistic sarees with a mix of craftsmanship
With the aim of promoting Indian art and culture, the husband-wife duo Pushkar shukla and Akanksha Kanwal Shukla spear Bliss in June 2015 as a luxury destination for hand woven, handcrafted and designer sarees.
“Handcrafted Indian sarees reflect the true spirit and warmth of Indian culture, and its promotion provides livelihoods for Indian artisans,” Co-Founder Pushkar told YourStory.
Along with hand-woven and hand-woven sarees, Beatitude also sells dupattas, custom designer blouses, high-end stoles, ethnic clothing, and handmade jewelry. It sells primarily through its portal and offers a 30 day return / exchange policy as well as free shipping on prepaid orders.
Beatitude works with a GLOCAL approach, where he manufactures locally in India while being in tune with all the new global trends in vogue. He does this with the help of an in-house team of textile and fashion designers.
She sells online through her website, as well as through Instagram, Facebook, and advertisements.
“About 33.6% of our revenue comes from selling on social media, while 66.4% from the website. Over 51% of the customers who buy our products come back to us, ”Pushkar says.
Beatitude began when Pushkar and Akanksha realized that many modern women yearned for exclusive pieces, affordable designer clothes and wanted a modern touch in their sarees.
“Then most of the saree market was inundated with traditional patterns and false descriptions of fabrics, regardless of the price. Thanks to Beatitude, we have tried to fill this gap, ”says Akanksha, co-founder of Beatitude.
“We don’t want modern women to overlook traditional clothing just because the variety available doesn’t suit their personality, or get ripped off by bogus local brands selling products in the name of the loom. We make sure that the products we sell are the best in terms of quality parameters, double checked for quality and described in a transparent way, ”she adds.
At one end was the demand that the co-founders saw and at the other end was the plight of the weavers.
“The weavers were poorly paid and their art did not reach a wider audience. So we launched Beatitude in 2015 to promote weavers, help their families and make sure they get what they deserve, ”Akanksha adds.
Promote artisans and weavers
Beatitude aims to create a niche in a specific segment by offering modern and artistic designs.
“We make sure that the barrier is crossed and that the weavers receive the income directly. By giving their art a platform, we empower over 215 weavers and over 692 artisans in Maharashtra, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and from Uttar Pradesh. In addition, over 61 percent of our team members are women. We believe in empowering women and encouraging more women to be empowered, ”Pushkar said.
The startup has more than 1,591 craft weavers associated with it and are paid up front based on the project. The co-founders say the Beatitude team meets with them and their families frequently to update their skills and ensure their well-being.
Currently, Beatitude is a team of over 21 people at the head office in Pune, and 12 logistics managers in different areas in India.
Pushkar and Akanksha are co-owners of the Beatitude brand. Pushkar takes care of strategic business and product development, financial, legal and logistical aspects, while Akansha takes care of product selection, quality management, customer relationship, digital and social marketing. They jointly lead the creative conceptualization and the innovation team.
After studying electronics engineering, Pushkar worked in the IT sector for over three years and worked with clients such as Adidas, SwissRe, etc. across Europe and Germany. Subsequently, he pursued an MBA in Marketing and worked with top multinationals like British Telecom in Europe.
Pushkar remained in Europe and the UK for over eight years, after which he returned to India. Upon his return he joined a real estate company in Pune as vice president of marketing, where the president was a serial entrepreneur, philanthropist and had a lot to learn.
“I met Akanksha during one of the entrepreneurship programs run by the president,” Pushkar says.
The target group
About 98.2% of Béatitude’s clientele are women aged 25 to 58.
“Beatitude products cannot be purchased by all income segments; we have a selective clientele with a minimum monthly income of Rs 80,000. The main cities of our clientele are – Pune, Mumbai, New Delhi, Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata etc. Akanksha said.
Beatitude has over 3.17 lakh of users, with a dominant presence in over 87 countries including India, USA, UK, Australia, Belgium, Canada, France and the United Arab Emirates.
“In terms of revenue, we were at Rs 33.01 lakh in fiscal year 2016-17, in 2019 we achieved revenue of Rs 13.3 crore and currently we are already at Rs 25.1 crore at during the 2021-22 fiscal year, ”Pushkar said.
“Over the past six years, we have experienced an average growth of 1523% per year. In terms of annual turnover, we have achieved a growth factor of 40.2x in two and a half years. Currently, we are already at a growth factor of 76.8, reaching a CAGR of 141.7%. Beatitude has ambitious growth plans for 2022-2023. With the developments of recently introduced proprietary and strategic patented skin care products, we expect revenue growth of 318% in fiscal 2022, ”he adds.
Akansha says there were two main challenges.
The first challenge for the startup was to make the public understand that hand-woven / craft products take longer than looms or machine-made products, to make and deliver to their doorstep.
“To meet this challenge, we have adopted one of the pillars of the brand, namely total transparency with our customers. The team used to educate buyers on the details of the work involved in making their masterpiece and therefore how long it takes to ship the product to their doorstep. Additionally, we were very clear that only a specific segment could afford and understand the concept. After receiving the products, 96.2% of customers were more than happy to have waited, ”she said.
The second big challenge was to manage the cash flow.
“We adopted two strategies: the first was to give discounts on prepaid orders and the second was to ask the raw material suppliers to give us a period of credit,” Akansha adds.
Market size and opportunities
In the market for women’s clothing, sarees are the most popular outfit in India. According to a recent report by Liva fluid fashion, the retail value of the women’s clothing market in India is estimated at around Rs 122,600 crore ($ 19.2 billion), of which sarees alone have contributed nearly 33 %. This segment has grown at a 5-6% CAGR between 2018 and 2023, due to increased demand from various segments.
However, the Indian sari market is dominated by the rural market which accounts for almost 60 percent of overall sari consumption. The revenue contribution of this segment is expected to remain much lower due to the price of sarees consumed in the segment.
Beatitude has positioned itself quite dominant in the 40 percent segment of the urban saree market.
“Beatitude currently has over 3.2% of the handcrafted saree market share, with a wide horizon to explore. She has strategically adopted an in-demand model by introducing unique designs and modern style models that appeal to modern urban women. To aggressively capture the market, the brand is relying on the strength of its fabric design to capture growing demand even more, ”Akansha said.
Beatitude counts FabIndia and Jaypore among its main competitors.
The startup’s average number of orders per month is 3,390, or 40,680 orders per year.
“We have over 900 SKUs and most of them are unique designs. Over 70 percent of products are designed by in-house fashion and textile designers who continue to innovate and create unique concepts. Akanksha and I spend around 20% of our time with the design team, ”Pushkar explains.
As the company plans to grow revenues exponentially across various verticals, it plans to seek funding in the near future.
“Various funding institutes have recently contacted us to specifically seek opportunities after COVID-19. However, we look forward to working only with an institute that has a good balance between strong fiscal and social credibility. At the time of creation six years ago, we injected around Rs 2.7 million of our savings, ”Pushkar reveals.
Recently, Beatitude launched the “Utsava” collection, where it has over 15 copyrighted designs on hand-woven Kosa silk fabric.
“With the recent product and vertical developments of ‘Beatitude’, we are aiming for further international expansion. Various resellers and stores have contacted us in the recent past but before exploring this opportunity we want the supply chain, legal aspects, technological improvements and all processes to be structured, ”he adds.
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