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Chumbak was started with an initial amount of Rs 45 lakh, which its

founders raised by selling their house in 2010.

Name lifestyle products - bags, phone covers, key chains, wallets, etc - that are
colourful and attractive and chances are you will find these at Chumbak, the Bangalore-
based lifestyle products start-up.
The start-up has strong visibility, both online and offline - at its exclusive stores and
multi-brand outlets.
Founder and Chief Executive Vivek Prabhakar and co-founder Shubhra Chadda have
built a strong business around extraordinarily designed and crafted products, including
apparel and footwear, bags and wallets, souvenirs, key chains and jewellery. Its range
includes phone covers and a unique whistle charm, a funky bracelet.
Chumbak was started with an initial amount of Rs 45 lakh, which its founders raised by
selling their house in 2010. Funded by Seedfund in 2012, the start-up was recently in
the news after raising funds from Matrix Partners.
A total of 38 categories, with 400-500 products, make Chumbak an unparalleled
venture. The venture operates out of a spacious studio that houses its office and
Prabhakar and Chadda realised affordable, well-designed and crafted products that
could be used as accessories and gift items were in demand. While a variety of such
products were available abroad, in India, buying a memento was restricted to options
such as Pashmina shawls, marble miniatures of the Taj Mahal or brass elephants.
Weve always wanted to do something different. Something that was fun, something we
loved. Well, Hello Chumbak, is how one is introduced to Chumbaks philosophy on the
companys website.
Between 2010 and 2013, Chumbak sold products online and through distribution. In
July 2013, it set up its first store in Bangalore. Seeing the idea of having its own stores
working, the company set up about 20 through the next seven months.

Spotting trends and developing products along those lines is a continuous process. As
new products are introduced, old ones, for which demand dips, are removed. The entire
planning, designing and production is in-house.
When we started Chumbak, we wanted to grow distribution, both online and through
multi-branded outlets. We did this in the first two years and grew the business. When
we started speaking to venture capital funds, one of the things we spoke about was
setting up our own kiosks and stores that would drive growth, says Prabhakar.

Expensive real estate can be a worry for start-ups. Chumbak has strategised here, too. It
looks at smaller stores - 150-200 sq ft, instead of commercial spaces of 1,000 sq ft. The
company has about 20 stores and kiosks across five cities, along with presence in about
60 multi-brand outlets. Currently, online sales account for about 15 per cent of total
sales. Mumbai, New Delhi and Bangalore contribute 60 per cent to Chumbaks total

As the brand was established, there was acknowledgement from various quarters. We
closed series-A funding with Seedfund in 2012. This year, we recorded series-B funding
with Matrix Partners, says Prabhakar.
Rishi Navani, co-founder and managing director, Matrix India, says, The
entrepreneurs, Prabhakar and Chadda, have a unique mix of design sensibilities and
strong business acumen. We believe there is an opportunity to create a design-led India-
inspired brand.
What makes Chumbak successful? Its a volume game. We have loads of items to
choose from, in the range of Rs 95-1,495. We recorded breakeven within the first three
years of business. In the lifestyle products segment, the most important thing is to know
your customer. Once you get your customer segment right, you move, says Prabhakar.

Chumbak says it is registering about 300 per cent year-on-year growth. The hybrid
model - online, as well as offline presence - has aided the company. Now, it wants to
increase the contribution of its online sales to its overall earnings to at least 30 per cent
and is, therefore, focusing on various technological platforms.
What about competition from e-commerce sites? I dont see a lot of people doing (what
we do) at such a scale, says Prabhakar. But there are challenges. Keeping abreast of
customer tastes and choices, amid a lot of international brands in the 18-25-year
segment, we need to evolve. Second, its important to be aware of what kind of
distribution will be the norm in the days to come offline or more online, he adds.
Navani says, Like all businesses, there are challenges design, supply chain
management, distribution, retail and online storefront building.

From a two-member team, Chumbak now has a 70-member staff. Its stores have 80
additional members.
The company now also sells its products in Japan and West Asia.
The brand has grown considerably in the past two-three years. We have been very
active on social media; we did a lot to build our brand there. In fact, we were one of the
first brands in India to get a global Facebook case study. Also, we were one of the three
global companies featured as part of Googles global The web is what you make of it
campaign, says Prabhakar.
With gross margins varying across categories, Chumbak is eyeing annual revenue of Rs
400 crore in the next three to four years.
Co-founder Chadda says, One of the most fun things at Chumbak is working on new
designs. Though a lot of our designs are India-inspired, they do well in an international
environment. At the end of the day, the thing that makes me most happy is seeing
people using our products.

Chumbak has had a great run so far. I believe in a market such as India, it is a good
strategy to pursue a hybrid model - selling both in the online and offline
space. Chumbak has done that well. The gifting and souvenir sector is going to hot up,
and we can expect a lot of action here in the next couple of years. The key challenge for
the company will be to gain acceptability in emerging metros and smaller towns, as it
expands. It also needs to be wary of competition. Companies such as IndiaCircus are
already making inroads and have similar design aesthetics.
Rajat Tuli is co-founder,

I want Na Bundle Mein Bidi Hai Na Machis Main Tili
Hai written on a Blue color Tobacco Pipe.
I want Na Pine Hai Na Apple Phir Bhi Pineapple
written on Yellow color Mini Bottle.