KOCHI: Giving up their high-paying MNC jobs and stepping into the entrepreneual world was not a common phenomenon in 2015 when Indian Beautiful Art was started by Nitin Kapoor, the CEO and cofounder of the textile tech company. However, with strategic planning and some smart moves, it has surfed past the challenges. Here, we have a chat with the CEO to know more about the functioning of the company.
When was IBA (and later JIT) started and what was the idea behind it?
IBA was found to bridge the gap of global trade in the Indian industry for platforms with a concept of e-commerce exports of Indian products internationally. We started selling of embellishments of garments like trims and appliqués which ultimately lead to selling of full readymade clothes in more than ten international markets. IBA has shipped over 1 million products to over 136 countries, crossing the revenues of 5 million USD. The company proudly boasts a steady base of 5,00,000 customers around the world.
JITGM (Just In Time Garments Manufacturing) process was implemented in 2015, and it took us 24 months to make trial errors before we could have implemented it into our business production process.
Today, we have got the process copyrighted with the Government of India, and the whole idea behind implementing this process into our business is to eliminate warehousing, overstocking and mass production of garments we are creating an on-demand garments with the help of technology via which we have developed real-life AR images on the front-end.
What was your market research for the company, and how did you penetrate it initially?
The initial challenge we faced was that we were not able to create the high demand garment again, either due to certain prints or fabrics being out of stock and has resulted in piling of unsold inventory and outdated designs. Another challenge we faced was holding the inventory, i.e., safekeeping and diluting it at throwaway prices.
To convert these problems into opportunities, the management has launched the Just In Time (JIT) system for garment manufacturing. After a lot of changes and improvisations on the technology and manufacturing front, the company has decided to call it Textech - Textile Technology. The objective is to produce what is demanded by the market and control utilisation of natural resources along with no dumping of waste fabric or garment.
What were the challenges you faced as a startup?
The challenge was in the market that the vendors, compliance, government policies did not understand e-commerce as a business, so we had to face a lot of problems to complete our transactions as per the law.
When we began, the startup was not a buzz word at all and leaving an MNC job at that time was still a taboo as compared to today's time wherein people and parents are more educated.
How much did you invest in the company, and did you seek funding later?
We started in a small 10X10 square feet room with `10,000 invested in the company, and we have over 200 crores of GMV done till today. So that is the amount which we have got into the country from exports.
At this stage, we are at $5 million run rate. With JIT implemented in our business process, we have virtual inventory worth 1000 crore which can be developed within 48 hours after receiving the order, and via this, we are foreseeing `100 crore revenue run rate within 12 – 18 months.
All the profits have plowed back into the business as it is not a venture capital funded company but, we do plan to raise funds shortly through which we can have first movers advantage with JIT.
What is the scope of expansion and what are the plans for the same?
O2O stands for either Online to Offline or Offline to Online and the strategy is about getting the offline customer online and vice versa.O2O is an Important Component in Omni Channel Strategy which is about creating an experience for our customers from physical stores and via different marketplaces.
We plan to start O2O (Online to Offline) model in garments where the customer would be able to check the physical sample of the product from the store and then buy the color or print by looking at the model image. By this, there is a great sense of satisfaction for material and size as this has already been tried by the customer. Also, with our vast catalog of colors and prints, we would attract more and repeat customers for new designs which we would be able to create.
Today, as a fashion tech firm, Indian Beautiful Art has developed a Just In Time (JIT) garments manufacturing process which helps to eliminate the need for warehousing the apparels and garments that can be manufactured from scratch within 48 hours of receiving the order which the customer can place via real-life AR images. We will change the way people shop for garments in the coming future and hope to be the next company to be in unicorn status.