In this guide, we are going to tell a story of a startup, Pinklay which managed to sell over 200 quilts last month from an order, within 10 days, and the brand crosses over 4000 orders overall.
Daisy Tanwani, along with a few friends and her husband, went to a restaurant in May 2015 for having dinner. The conversion moved to starting up a new business and they started discussing a startup covered here. The group started talking about their entrepreneurial dreams. After having dinner, they walked to the parking lot. Daisy told her husband, “We don’t do anything, we just talk.”
Aspired to get out of comfort zone, the couple decided to take a break from their work the next day and took their impromptu trip to Kutch, Rajasthan. They just wanted to find out if there is a way to start up in her favorite subject – handicrafts.
They were impressed by the versatility and beauty of arts and craft in India on their tour but noticed how these talented craftsmen were working in silos, without any national recognition giving a fair deal to them. Hence, Pinklay was born that month unofficially, and officially launched on December 2015. The business is running and bootstrapped by her efficient and small team and the brand is on its way to rise.
When asked about inspiration behind the name Pinklay, she replied with a laugh, “No matter which field I would have picked, even though it was a consultancy, Pink Clay would have been the first choice. Since I didn’t get the name in .com domain, I had to combine these two words up.” According to her, the perception that pink is a girly color is wrong. It is a unique visual appeal and clay has magical ability to easily mould into any shape. It is also the symbol of Jaipur, the Pink City, where she was born and raised.
Daisy was born and brought up in a city that has rich artifact culture and has always been an art aficionado. Though she was working with companies like Danone Nutricia and Kantar TNS, she would pick up some of the amazing trinkets across India and overseas on her tour.
When Pinklay was started, she had to teach herself on everything, from styles and design to the logistics and manufacturing process. She added, “Luckily, I tied up with a very genuine manufacturer who taught me several things. I still have developed a big learning curve.”
Currently, Mumbai-based startup, Pinklay is a leading kids’ wear, home décor, and accessories brand. According to the 31 years old entrepreneur, their design philosophy is based on tasteful and unapologetic usage of color. She is interested in transforming the way color is looked upon, from kitschy to classy.
For the accessories and home décor part of business, Daisy just gets engaged with units which work on ethical business practices. When team looks for supplies, they look for commitment and quality, but also check the environment.
They never use child laborers to manufacture their products, nor do they have factories with harmful conditions for laborers to work on, where wages are not according to market standard.
In Pinklay’s portfolio, plush toys are the well known set of products. Spearheaded by her mother Neelam, the toys are designed and handmade by underprivileged women who were being employed and trained in their own workshop located in Mumbai. Many women were either employed or unemployed in strict manual labor. According to Daisy, “It is to help them to earn with dignity and live with respect. I am proud of this small, but revolutionary aspect of business.”
Recently, she exhibited at NY Now, a trade show in New York. A colorful unicorn is one of their exclusive toys which are made to the spotlight for the whole new content at the show.
The styling factor on Pinklay is not limited to any one location. Her suppliers come from different regions like Kolkata, Jaipur, UP, and Gujarat. Actually, she is into international art and she has added Scandinavian folk art in design of quilts.
Pinklay sells their products through curated marketplaces like Unnati, Jaypore, and BabyChakra and through Facebook, with bulk of sales coming from and in their site.
They had to wait for longer to see upsurge in online sales. Initially, they didn’t see the orders for days. But whenever they took part in exhibitions, stocks were being sold. Last year, during the Lil Flea event took place in Bandra, the brand sold up to Rs. 4 Lakh of products in 3 days. They sold 600 toys in Kala Ghoda arts event, which built her faith in the product.
Finally, sales started growing up by October 2016. From one order, Pinklay has started selling 200 quilts within 10 days from one order. The brand has finally crossed the record of 4000 orders. On average, their basket range is Rs. 1200 to Rs. 1500. Bangalore and Mumbai are the large markets. But they have witnessed traction in the past 3 to 4 months in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities. From storing her products in a room in her apartment, Pinklay has now reached in a position to have an exclusive warehouse of 2500 sq. ft.
In operations department, Pinklay has a handful of people. In kids’ toys department, the brand has 6 women. Her in-house team consists of graphic designers, photographers, and illustrations on contract basis. Their team is deliberately lean to keep their expenses low and focus on improving their product market.
She believes in consistent growth and doesn’t like to stress her team with great scaling. According to her, the handmade team has been dedicated. Around 70% of their work is accomplished by hand. For example, shibori prints and quilts need an artisan to stamp the paint for around 4 hours on the material in uniform patterns. Then, the cloth needs to be hand-quilted. So, this process is very time consuming.