Mumbai: CuroCarte.com, the luxury e-commerce venture that will source and curate rare, hand-made lifestyle products, will start operations on 11 September, said founder and chief executive officer (CEO) Ananya Birla, the 22-year-old daughter of industrialist Kumar Mangalam Birla, at an event in Mumbai on Thursday. The website was introduced through an immersive virtual reality presentation.
The global e-commerce platform will showcase curated lifestyle products from nine countries, including India, France, Spain, Portugal, Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia, among others, in 70 categories. For these products, the design team works with craftsmen, intervening at the production stage. “Through the brand, we aim to revolutionize the e-commerce space by bringing inaccessible, aesthetically appealing products from all around the world to the people in India and also to a global audience. The charm of CuroCarte lies in the fact that we curate these products directly from the makers themselves from all around the world,” said Birla, who is the founder and CEO, Svatantra Online Services Pvt. Ltd.
CuroCarte will also ensure quality by ensuring that each of the products on its site has been through a rigorous test in a renowned international lab. “Each of the products has been tested in the lab. This way, we ensure that the highest quality is maintained. To verify that there are no harmful chemicals or lead-based materials, as well as ensure that we can best advise our client on to how maintain their artefacts,” Birla said at the event.
The website will offer products that are priced at between Rs.2,500 and Rs.3 lakh.
The e-commerce site will be promoted on new media and the account will be handled by Ogilvy One, a customer engagement agency.
Eventually, Curocarte.com may consider moving to a model which may include exhibitions through pop-up shows, and a brick-and-mortar store to complement its online offering, said Kanupriya Verma, chief operating officer, CuroCarte.com. “But all of that will come at a later stage, in a phased manner. As of now, we are focusing on getting the website up and running,” she said.
The site will run on an inventory-based model creating a space for itself in the premium sector, said a statement from the company.
While the website will be serviced by a strong logistics partner to ensure delivery of products, which are in stock, within three to four working days, a bulk of the products will take over a month or two to show up, considering that it takes approximately 45-90 days to create these products. While Verma admits that the turnaround time may pose a bit of a challenge, she is confident that there will be discerning customers who will be willing to wait for their unique pieces.
Curocarte.com has been set up with an initial investment of Rs.6 crore. Birla said that the firm may look to raise more funds in about a year.
This is Birla’s second venture. Her first venture was a micro-finance company Svatantra Microfin Pvt. Ltd. The two-and-half year-old micro-finance company is on its way to profitability. “Svatantra will break even next month,” said Birla in an earlier interview.
Svatantra will close financial year 2017 with revenue of Rs.500 crore, more than doubling from about Rs.235 crore in financial year 2016, said Birla. She did not disclose the estimated profit of the privately held company.