This Woman Entrepreneur Launched an Online Marketplace for Home-Based Entrepreneurs and Home-Based Businesses
After the birth of her second daughter, Sakshi Aggarwal decided to take a sabbatical. A successful finance professional having worked at Citibank, Kotak Mahindra Bank, IndusInd Bank and ICICI Securities, entrepreneurship was not a planned decision.
However, an entrepreneurial idea sprouted for Sakshi during the pandemic. She began Gharobaara #MakeinIndia #VocalforLocal initiative, which is an exclusive platform for home-based entrepreneurs and home-based businesses to display and sell their products online
“I have observed that there are several small home-based entrepreneurs involved in various activities like cooking, knitting, painting, etc., but they cannot afford to run the business by themselves or not. don’t have business acumen. They’re experts at what they do, but they don’t know how to make a business out of it,” she says.
Sakshi also noticed that from the buyer’s point of view, with changing trends, there is an increasing emphasis on organic, handmade, local, trustworthy and high quality products that can be made available in one place at reasonable prices.
With the support of her family, she integrates Gharobaar in December 2020 and launched its full operations in October 2021. The name is a portmanteau of ghar (house and carobar (Business).
To seize this opportunity, Sakshi and her co-founder Aditya Gupta, her husband’s childhood friend, created both supplier and buyer personas – suppliers were categorized according to product categories and buyers according to their shopping needs and preferences.
She explains, “We thought about the offer and tried to come up with answers as to why a seller should sell with us and why a buyer should buy from us. After that, we partnered with a tech company, shared our thoughts with them through business requirements documents, and worked together on launching the MVP (minimum viable product).
At the same time, they started acquiring suppliers and working on awareness. They also hired a marketing agency to work with us on brand building and to start raising awareness of the offer.
“Our mission is to create an ever-growing family of buyers and sellers, trading quality products and services, delivered to their homes at affordable prices, and providing exceptional service to all family members. Our vision is to ‘to be India’s most preferred market, known for contributing effectively to society, facilitating the entrepreneurial journey of aspiring local talent and staying connected to our roots,’ she says.
While Gharobaar’s suppliers are based in 23 states, its head office is in Delhi. Most of the marketing testing is also done in Delhi, where apart from being online, the founders also deploy some offline engagement techniques by hosting exhibitions and attending fairs.
Several categories, several products
Gharobaar offers vendors on its platform that meet all the daily needs of an average household, from food, groceries, personal care, home decor, art, stationery , gifts, etc.
“Our strategy is that if a buyer starts transacting for a particular category, we should be able to sell multiple categories due to product quality and exceptional customer service. Ours is an organized platform where we personally choose suppliers and in almost 70 to 80% of cases, we test their products on our premises before integrating them,” she adds.
Most of these products, Sakshi says, are handmade, mostly made in a small house, with an order’s processing time clearly defined on the platform for a buyer to make an informed decision. There are also made-to-stock products that move quickly with faster delivery time, but with limited inventory.
The founders have also offered a stake in the business to their IT partners – Austere Services, who help them manage the website and other activities, including our offline events.
They are looking for a co-founder with marketing expertise to drive the platform’s next cycle of growth.
The target audience is the middle-class segment of the population whose daily needs can be met through the platform, with more emphasis in the first phase on working couples, students and single seniors.
“We treat our suppliers as our distribution partners and just as important as the buyers. Our aim is to have as many suppliers as possible on board from all over India, listing high quality products on our platform. For our few categories, we have specific buyer personas in mind and will begin targeting marketing with them in the coming months. In the next phases, we plan to enter Tier II and Tier III markets from the perspective of buyers and sellers,” says Sakshi.
Gharboaar’s revenue model, to begin with, is based on a nominal commission, but the founders have also identified many other monetization avenues such as subscription models, advertisements, service fees (packaging, photography, design , etc.), which they plan to implement once they gain more traction.
Currently, they support vendors by covering shipping costs and offering event-specific discounts on the platform.
A client- and supplier-centric approach
Sakshi points out that the online market in India is under-penetrated compared to developed countries like China, and in the space they operate in, they may face competition from biggies like Amazon (with their Karigar program) and other organized platforms. .
“Our strategy is to take a customer and supplier centric approach in all that we do, with exceptional service provided for anything a household needs. We plan to reach all of those potential suppliers/talents who might be reluctant to partner with a bigger player or who might need a lot of support before they can start their online business.
Likewise, through a combination of online and offline traction techniques, we want to reach our target buyers,” she adds.
A startup started with an initial investment from the founders and family, Gharobaar plans to approach the fund market after testing a few user cases.
Sakshi claims that in six months, the platform has seen a growth rate of 15-20% per month and website visitors have increased by 25-30% per month.
In terms of actual sales, while the growth has been encouraging, 60-70% of that has come through offline channels and the balance through online, which she believes needs to be reversed.
Sakshi says the support of his family has been a huge factor in his journey as an entrepreneur.
“My family strongly encouraged me to embark on the adventure of entrepreneurship when they realized my passion for the cause that we are trying to address through Gharobaar. I received technical, financial, psychological and spiritual support from my family on this journey. Not a single day have I felt out of place, and I truly believe that I belong here.
I recognize that I have been lucky and that we need to do much more to provide equal support, hone skills, realize true potential, dream big and enable the growth that women desire,” she says, as she signs.