November 30, 2023


Business&Finance Specialists

Seattle sisters direct rapidly-growing e-commerce startup advertising ethnic manner merchandise all over the world

4 min read
The Shobitam crew. Aparna Thyagarajan (much still left, second row) and her sister Ambika (significantly proper, second round) co-founded the company 3 several years back. (Shobitam Photograph)

It started out three many years back soon after a casual discussion about ethnic fashion among former technological innovation executives.

Now sisters Aparna and Ambika Thyagarajan are major a quick-increasing direct-to-purchaser on line system referred to as Shobitam to democratize ethnic style globally and make a variance for the weavers and artisans included. 

The entrepreneurs initially started marketing goods on Etsy as a proof of concept. Early results inspired them to launch the Seattle-based startup, developing upon their earlier working experience at Microsoft and Cisco.

A major obstacle was navigating by way of a really fragmented market that makes use of archaic solutions for on the net income of ethnic dress in, Aparna mentioned. The startup concentrated on creating an participating on the internet browsing knowledge for more than 1,200 goods by leveraging the most up-to-date software.

“Technology is the main pillar of what we are,” Aparna stated.

Aparna Thyagarajan. (Shobitam Photo)

Not like numerous enterprises that ended up compelled to shut down when the pandemic arrived, Shobitam observed massive progress in its customer foundation thanks to the influx of persons turning to on-line browsing.

With higher revenue, Shobitam observed extra options to progress its company social accountability system.

“It’s not just about generating persons look great as a result of our solutions, but we want to do excellent to our group of weavers and artisans, who we perform with directly,” Aparna mentioned.

The 2nd-greatest employment sector in India just after agriculture is the handloom business. Most of the traditional handloom weavers and artisans Shobitam works with struggle along the poverty line.

So the organization introduced a application termed “Shobitam Cares” that provides again fifty percent its gains to family members in India influenced by the pandemic lockdown.

Shobitam recently raised $1.5 million in a seed funding round from Fireside Ventures and angel traders. With $1.1 million in product sales in 2021, profits has tripled when compared to 2019.

The organization employs close to 30 folks and has designs to expand. It aims to expand the item catalog by adding Indo-Western styles to charm to the younger era. 

We caught up with Aparna Thyagarajan for this Startup Spotlight. Carry on looking at for her solutions to our questionnaire. 

We are distinctive from our rivals for the reason that: We cover the duration and breadth of India. We have the greatest hand-sewn embroidery to the tie dye artwork of Gujarati, to the wealthy gold and silver woven Kanjivaram sarees. I do not feel any person else genuinely delivers the size and breadth of India like we do. It’s also our engineering, our selection of 1,200-as well as goods, benefit, and five-star company.

What we price most in the structure of our merchandise is: When we get the job done with our weavers, the first thing that we care about is good quality. The 2nd thing is really exceptional patterns. We’re not just in the approach of purchasing and providing, but we want to make absolutely sure that our layouts are incredibly special. Whether or not it is the motifs, the fabrics, or the weave, we operate intently with them to deliver things that you would not locate somewhere else. That’s 1 point that helps make clients occur back again to us. 

Our buyer distribution is: 60% of our prospects are U.S.-dependent. Our subsequent best 5 marketplaces: Australia, Canada, U.K., Singapore, and New Zealand.

The most preferred material on our website is: Banarasi silk.

The way we guarantee honest trade practices for our weavers is: By functioning with them instantly and steering clear of center folks. What transpires in the process of center men and women is they make most of the income — the weavers and artisans never.

We list new sellers if: They are offering one thing that we at the moment don’t have, one thing new and substantial high-quality. Also, they should adhere to our standards. We have a couple of standards that we look for in phrases of supply timelines, weaves, etcetera., but most of them are high quality-primarily based.

The biggest point we appear for when using the services of is: Enthusiasm and a perception of possession is a little something innate that we seem for. It’s enthusiasm that can just take you as a result of the craziest working day. The 2nd detail is possession and duty. Each individual specific that is portion of our workforce is aware of specifically what they are intended to report on. Even if they’re not geared up with the correct capabilities, it’s okay for the reason that that is anything they master by means of the approach.

Performing as sisters: We have pretty complementary qualities. I aim on the layout element and she’s extremely very good at negotiating, so we deliver the very best of both of those. That is the energy. From time to time we can have our differences, but we are able to get previous that. At some point, it’s a sisterly bond that requires over and assists us get previous any hurdles that we may perhaps have. the globe/