Unsure of what to do next, this 20-year-old, third-year student from IIT-B set out by train to explore India in 2010 to gather new ideas, the way Gandhiji did a hundred years ago. He borrowed money from friends, and opened a cafe outside the IIT-B campus, selling naturally-flavoured, ice cream-laced Punjabi lassi . Soon, he opened another kiosk. Together, these outlets sold some 80-100 lassis a day.
Then the climate in Maximum City changed, and he could sell only four-five lassis daily. The first ‘start-up’ bombed and he had to close the shop within eight months.
Unfazed by his first entrepreneurial failure, the Mumbaikar Sikh youth, Prabhkiran Singh, set up a social media platform, Bewakoof, as a medium to share fun-loving youthful stuff with his networked friends. And then he set up a real start-up, Bewakoof.com, in February 2012. “Our turnover is expected to grow from Rs 30 crore in 2015-16 to Rs 100 crore in FY17,” Singh, now 25, co-founder and director, told BusinessLine , adding he plans to make his firm India’s largest online fashion and lifestyle portal.
“I always wanted to do something different and be an unconventional entrepreneur. So, I zeroed in on this title, Bewakoof (Idiot), which immediately attracted attention and brand-recall,” he remarks, as he prepares to launch new categories on the portal this year.
Thus, fun became a serious business proposition, when Singh and his friend Siddharth Munot co-founded this affordable, online-only, fashion-and-lifestyle brand. No wonder it received angel investment from Snapdeal founder Kunal Bahl. From designing to merchandising to warehousing, Bewakoof takes care of end-to-end production in-house and marketing online.
But, unlike other typical e-commerce companies, which just market multiple brands, the Mumbai-based Bewakoof is a single-brand firm, making and marketing its own stuff targeting the youth. The portal, with over 3,000 style trends, two million followers on social media platforms, and merchandise from 10 Bollywood movies, recently started its digital arm, Utter Bewakoof, similar to scoop woop, a contact-cum-marketing initiative.
The company primarily focuses on tier-II and III cities which, generally, do not have access to the latest fashion trends, and ships merchandise to over 19,000 PIN codes across India.
Realising that women are more fashion-friendly and big shoppers, Bewakoof recently launched an affordable, trendy, and stylish category for them. Indian women are expected to spend $3 billion in online shopping over the next three years, with nearly 90 per cent of the total on fashion and trends. Bewakoof.com’s latest product category is specifically tailored to cater to this particular consumer base, which the company hopes would help it increase its total sales revenue by up to 40 per cent. This could also make the company demonstrate the online shopping behaviour of up-and-coming Indian consumers, Singh said.