As a fashion and lifestyle e-commerce player, Tjori has been hit hard by the lockdown
More than 70% of our revenue comes from apparel, says Mansi Gupta, co-founder and CEO, Tjori. “When the lockdown was announced, we had to close all operations. We needed to stay relevant in the market and decided that we needed to start manufacturing items which were needed in such times."
While Tjori had some soaps and bodywash in their product range, they launched disinfectant soaps, handwash and sanitizers and started supplying to B2B clients. They managed to get passes to help suppliers manufacture the products for them.
“It sounds simple, but there were challenges in this pivot too. For the sanitizers, we needed alcohol. Due to the increased demand, there was a black market operating with prices shooting up. We had to step in to make sure we got the raw materials, even if it meant paying a bit extra at first," says Gupta, 36.
There were many other steps Gupta and her husband, also Tijori’s co-founder, Ankit Wadhwa had to take to ensure the brand would be operational through the pandemic. The duo understands that many craftsmen and karigars are dependent on the money they pay them after each sale to make ends meet. “We had already procured material and were ready to ship out some products when the lockdown was announced. There were a lot of products just waiting in our warehouses," explains Gupta. They decided to make all their products prepaid, and discontinued cash on delivery options. Besides this, a lockdown sale was announced, selling the season’s freshest collection at 70% less to get some cashflow. While the products for the sale would only be delivered post lockdown, this helped them pay the karigars and craftsmen. “They aren’t making anything right now. But we cannot let them down, even if it means paying from our pockets."
Gupta and Wadhwa have a nine-month-old son. While the lockdown means they can spend more time with him, they do realize that they have put all their eggs in one basket. “Had either of us been working somewhere else, we would have some amount of cash coming in. Right now, we are both dependent on how the market turns out even after the lockdown is lifted. And cashflow in a startup is critical," she adds. Gupta explains that since the production units are not allowed to operate at the moment they will continue to have a backlog of orders that need to get made and shipped. “If we get relaxation on that front, that would be wonderful. However everyone will have to be equally responsible in ensuring safety by practising right sanitation protocols, be it at our own facility or at the production units."
On The Brink documents how different industries/sectors are coping with the nationwide lockdown. Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org