Online store for men and women, Veirdo, an Ahmedabad-based start-up in the e-retail world, has its own state-of-the-art manufacturing also. Going to complete five years in September, 2021, this venture of 3 friends – Dhaval Ahir, Piyush Ganatra and Amardeep Jadeja – is currently having a turnover of Rs. 31 crore. The trio are confident of five times growth by 2023 by doubling customer base and aim to reach a turnover of Rs. 150 crore. In an interview with Apparel Resources, Dhaval Ahir shared that the company is focusing to place a huge emphasis on constantly churning out products that are in high demand and meet customer requirements. In the medium-term, it has plans to explore the kidswear domain in order to promote all in-demand products in these categories. Additionally, Veirdo’s strides in the fashion domain in just a few years have opened up investors’ interest and they plan to raise funds to further grow its business, and reach this desired turnover.
How do you see your journey of the last six years?
Veirdo’s journey has been full of remarkable lessons in entrepreneurship, which have translated to immense growth for our brand. With our strategic expansion and innovation, we have been able to move forward with a loyal customer base and build two extremely profitable brands today – Veirdo for menswear and Juneberry for womenswear. While we started out with Rs. 5 lakh, our 2020 revenues were almost Rs. 31 crore. So there has been a steady upward curve. We began our start-up journey with only four employees, outsourcing the prints we wanted to sell, but today we are premium manufacturer with a completely self- reliant working mechanism and a well-recognised fashion favourite amongst the youth of today. In five years, we have had the privilege to service over 2.5 million customers, 30 per cent of whom place orders every 2 to 3 months, so it has been a very eventful journey.
As your initial investment amount was Rs. 5 lakh and you had no experience in fashion or retail, how did you develop the know-how of apparel manufacturing?
Since our inception, we had a very strong vision and a well mapped out strategy to become one of the leading start-ups in the e-retail world. With our initial investment, we were able to maintain a steady flow of orders through our feisty prints and hit offerings, bridging the demand and supply gap for affordable fashion amongst online consumers. With time, we were quick to adapt to the future and once we discovered how to manage an inflow of orders, we ventured into the e-retail manufacturing domain. As our profits grew, and with the implementation of our apparel manufacturing process, we expanded further and set up our own state-of-the-art digital warehouse and factory. Through the Veirdo core team’s tech expertise, we were able to cut back on additional costs and regenerate our revenues into more business, slowly creating a highly unique and successful venture, with our own trade mark apparel.
Let us know in detail about your infrastructure/manufacturing set-up…
Our manufacturing set up consists of our 25,000-square-feet central warehousing and factory facility in Ahmedabad. All our functions, from sourcing fabric and manufacturing to demand forecasting and supply, are augmented with in-house technology, which automates the process to a huge extent. We also have about 50-odd contractual workers and 100 employees to help streamline the process, to ensure we can fulfil the usual demand of about 1 lakh garments per month.
Having your own manufacturing setup, what are the advantages you have over others?
We have a very cost-effective mechanism in place, and our warehouse (factory) is completely equipped with the latest in-built technology, to help us regulate our orders and ensure the highest quality fabrics to all our loyal customers.
We have deployed our own advanced softwares in our state-of-the-art warehouse to streamline operations. These include RADIANT to manage all our in-house operations and LIVANTRO, which is an indispensible tool in our manufacturing unit. We also use the Warehouse Management System to further enhance our efficiency and reduce manual error. These help us to regulate our entire in-built mechanisms and churn quality garments on a regular basis. Our streamlined supply chain and self-reliance also eliminates any dependency on external factors, making our product delivery very timely with the necessary quality checks in place, while also ensuring we do not overcharge our customers.
As you are geared up for higher growth, is there any plan to increase manufacturing capacity also?
We are gearing up for more deliveries than ever before, and our product site is well equipped to handle the upcoming inventories. Our growth is directly in line with our capacity expansion, and we do so every six months, and ramp up our manufacturing capacity and widen the designer network to meet growing demand. Our digitalised warehouse completely regulates and ensures our demand and supply is proportionate.
What are the order quantities you produce normally?
We usually produce about 1 lakh garments in a month, which are completely manufactured at our in-house warehouse (factory). Veirdo’s entire manufacturing process is specially equipped with the best in-class R&D to reduce any dependency on manual labour and regulation. We are expecting the numbers to increase further in the coming months, as we grow and expand our loyal customer base, and we are training our entire team to streamline our processes accordingly to continue to ensure timely delivery.
Are you inventory-based only or produce on demand also?
While we do have an inventory, which comprises of a very wide range of products and options, as a start-up, we are also highly adaptable in nature. To stay ahead of the curve, we often ensure we routinely add the latest fashion trends and the hottest prints in town to our groovy collection. Additionally, we have a keen eye for high demand products, and amidst the lockdown, we went on to manufacture and deliver 6 lakh PPE kits and 2 lakh masks in a span of three months, which was highly profitable for us. Similarly, we have an open outlook towards the future and plan to bring the freshest fashion to customers and are actively planning to venture into the kidswear domain.
Who are your competitors and how do you see competition for a brand like you?
At Veirdo, we have always strived to be a unique brand, providing a dynamic platform for the youth of today, with the latest fashion. While we actively look to reinvent ourselves and bring something different, which the customer today can choose from a huge array of online start-ups, we have always preferred to bring our fresh perspective and offerings to the table, and don’t’ really eye other thriving e-commerce ventures as competition. Veirdo is confident of what it offers and its perfect blend of glamour, accessibility and reasonable prices is what make it a highly lucrative and preferred e-destination for shoppers everywhere.
‘All Over Print’ T-shirts in cotton fabric is the strength of Veirdo. How is the demand for this product? Since you sell it maximum in Maharashtra, can you please specify the reason for the same?
Customers are always at the forefront of every decision we take, and we offer the best and most affordable fashion to young India. Our ‘All Over Print’ T-shirts are quirky, cool and budget-friendly, making them an instant hit with e-shoppers everywhere. Our demand is very high in Maharashtra, as the biggest cities in Maharashtra prefer our funky approach to fast fashion, which is also inexpensive!
By 2023, you aim to double your customer base, reach a turnover of Rs. 150 crore and create 700-800 new jobs. Can you share your strategy for the same in detail?
Our start-up journey so far has been very encouraging, and in our first year itself, we hit sales of Rs. 1.5 crore and growth figures of 150 per cent. While we broke even in 2018, we have had a steady increase in terms of sales and revenue, year-on-year. The pandemic further increased our profits, as we quickly adapted to the need of the hour, generating our highest annual income yet in 2020. Through our strategic expansion and systemic growth, we have been able to strengthen our presence even amidst the heavy competition in e-commerce. Veirdo has quickly emerged as a preferred choice for customers owing to our quick adoption of trends, and collection of the hottest prints of the season and we are taking all steps to ensure the growth streak continues for us.
Our focus is always on growth and expansion, which has cemented our position as one of India’s thriving e-retail destinations, in a short span of time. This benchmark figure for 2023 is what we aim for, by venturing into the most promising segments of tomorrow. We also place a huge emphasis on constantly churning out products that are in high demand and meet customer requirements. In the medium-term, we plan to explore the kidswear domain in order to promote all our in-demand products in these categories. Additionally, Veirdo’s strides in the fashion domain in just a few years have opened up investors’ interest and we plan on raising funds to further grow our business, and reach this desired turnover in the coming years.
What are the overall major challenges for a start-up like you, be it in manufacturing, retail etc., and how do you plan to overcome these challenges?
Owning a start-up involves having a keen business sense, to overcome a series of challenges that are common to all new ventures, such as recruiting highly skilled employees and the necessary cash flow. Having quality infrastructure space and solving space issues is another hassle in big cities. Furthermore, arranging funds to manage demand and supply is intrinsic to growth and is often the reason why most start-ups fail.
We have constantly innovated to stay ahead of the curve and through our automated processes and systematic functioning, we have eliminated human error, reducing our dependency on external factors and placing our trust in our unique in-built technology. Furthermore, we have been extremely cautious in all our investments, and have taken time to understand the pulse of the shoppers, using our profits to turn them into future investments for the right products. In the end, we believe a successful start-up depends on not just a brilliant idea, but also brilliant execution.