It’s creative for sure, but does it make money? That’s what 23-year old Anurag Srivastava was routinely asked when he started Mad Over Print, a pop culture merchandise company that offered customised, affordable, and quirky products.
The Delhi-based startup, which started as a B2B business in 2016, is now looking to stand out in the market with its ecommerce website that offers quirky lifestyle products to consumers across India.
How the story started
After finishing his post-graduation in PR and Marketing in 2014, Anurag did a marketing job but it did not channeled his creative sense. Not long after, he decided to put in his savings of Rs 50,000 as seed capital and start up on his own.
Initially, Anurag worked from home and catered only to corporate customers in Delhi. He later moved to Noida for an office. In one year of operations, Anurag managed to get 40 corporate clients across Delhi NCR.
“I worked on a shoestring budget from my own home in Delhi for the first few months,” says the founder, now 26 years old. He adds that he did everything alone --from designing, to printing and delivering.
Anurag recalls that he was at the receiving end of a lot of “doubtful looks” when he decided to let go of a good job to chase his passion. “During the final leg of my MBA degree, I had the idea of starting my own venture that could provide a diverse range of pop culture merchandise under one roof. But I was, after all, just a 23-year-old with only bookish knowledge to back up my plan,” he says.
He then decided to work for a year and get hands-on experience of the corporate sector before embarking on his entrepreneurial journey.
From B2B to B2C
The growth in corporate business emboldened Anurag; he decided to offer the products to consumers across India. “With a firm foot in the offline market, we planned to spread our roots and reach out to consumers with an ecommerce website,” he says.
To begin ecommerce operations, Anurag roped in his cousin, Hemant Verma, as a co-founder.They launched an ecommerce website last year and offer merchandise such as diaries, T-shirts, sippers, notepads, and mugs in cool and quirky designs.
A year on, Mad Over Print is showing tremendous consistency in growth. Anurag says the ecommerce business is registering a monthly growth rate of 30 percent, creating a customer base of around 4,000-5,000. “Of the total user base, 80 percent customers are female and between the ages of 25 and 34; they are majorly from Pune, Mumbai, Bengaluru, New Delhi, and Chennai.”
Focus on design and quality
Anurag says Mad Over Print has developed a user-friendly website to capture its young target audience and make it easier for people to shop.
Speaking about the competition, he says they are currently competing with their “own set targets” and looking up to names like “Chumbak, Souled Store, Bewakoof etc”.
“We are working towards the day when we will be in a healthy competition with them,” Anurag says.
Even though there is tough competition, Anurag says their unusual designs and pocket-friendly prices give him the confidence to aim big. A Mad Over Print T-shirt costs around Rs 250, and other products such as mugs and notepads also fall within a similar price range.
Agreeing that the many choices in the market make it tough to stand out in a consumer’s mind, Anurag says the team is focusing on top quality and affordable pricing. All designs are done in-house, from scratch, and are eye-catching. “Of our 4,000-5,000 customer base, we have got not more than 10 complaints on quality so far,” Anurag says.
But the founder admits it was difficult to convince people to trust the brand during the initial phase. “It was challenging to convince potential clients to trust a young man, who they thought was on his own trip,” he says. “What counts above all is the courage to take on the odds and the will to grow. It’s important that when opportunity comes knocking, we unlatch the door,” he adds.
The future is bright
Mad Over Print is recognised under the Startup India Act of the Indian government. It reported a turnover of Rs 1.3 crore from its offline business in the last fiscal year.
Anurag says the corporate business will continue to run separately, even as they focus on the ecommerce business pan-India.
A report by consultancy firm Deloitte India, along with the Retailers Association of India (RAI), estimates that the India's ecommerce segment is poised to grow to $1.2 trillion by 2021 from the current market of $200 billion. This growth is attributed to the factors such as increasing internet penetration, and use of mobile wallets, which has increased from Rs 20,000 crore in FY16 to Rs 3 lakh crore in FY18.
And millennials are one of the major reasons for the growth of ecommerce. According to the report, 28 percent millennials purchase products due to social media recommendations, and 63 percent millennials stay updated on brands through social media.
The bootstrapped startup is now in talks with investors for external funding to fuel its plan of scaling the business and team. The founders estimate that the ecommerce company will be profitable in the next one year, with a turnover of Rs 2 crore with growth rate of 50 percent. It also plans to double the employee base to 50 people from 20 people at present.
And the next is line is apparel. “Two years down the line, we want Mad Over Print to be a prominent brand for men and women, providing style, comfort, variety, quality, and affordability,” Anurag says.