QUEEN'S ROAD: An umbrella is not something you would associate a downpour of profit with. But Pratik Doshi saw an opportunity where most of us see nothing and built an entire business around it. He also generated a revenue of more than `30 lakh in a couple of months by selling umbrellas across online websites such as Flipkart, Amazon and Snapdeal. He also owns a website called www.cheekychunk.com.
Doshi says, “I focus on being unique and different. That’s the idea behind my business too. I do not want to make t-shirts and mugs like so many other brands. I want to use my creativity in a different way.”
A lot of thought goes into the designs he creates and he channels his love for rain, for seasons, for little and big things he observes, in his doodles.
“My doodles express my impressions about the world and get translated into the unique umbrellas,’’ says Doshi who completed his post-graduation at HR College Mumbai. As he was not willing to work under anyone and wished to be a design entrepreneur, he started to explore business ideas and saw a market saturated with shoes, bags, clothes etc.
Finally he realised that in every season and for every reason, people need umbrellas to protect themselves, and he began to think of ideas that could lend a punch to what is afterall just a utility item.
He says, “All kinds of people can associate with these designs. The music lovers can enjoy the music doodles, the rain lovers can flaunt their rain doodles, there is vada pav and chai design for food lovers and even the cynics can flaunt the,’it happens in India,’ umbrella. The designs make our umbrellas unique.
"They are available in the range of around `500-600. We provide a ‘one-fold,’ sturdy and long umbrella as well as a ‘three-fold’ umbrella that can fit in hand bags.”
The targeted customer is anyone with a quirky sense of humour and anyone who likes being different.
“An umbrella is something that one buys once in two or three years ,so one should go for quality and design smarts that would make you feel like going out into the rains and flaunting it.”
And yes, the umbrellas can be customised but only if the order is big enough. And what is with the name,'Cheeky Chunk?'
“Cheeky, means typically amusing, as per the Oxford Dictionary. We wanted to add a bit of cheekiness to our brand, hence the name. We are also planning to expand the product range and not just stick with umbrellas,” explains Doshi and adds, “I have not spent a single penny on marketing. All our growth has been organic through recommendations and word of mouth.
Also, photography has played a key role in our marketing. I believe in not telling our customers to buy our product. Instead, I focus on displaying the best product. "
He continues, "Currently, we have the first mover advantage as there is no other company that makes designer umbrellas at affordable prices. However, we are competing with the mentality of the people who think that holding an umbrella is a chore. Our focus is on turning the umbrella into a fashion statement!”