Manoj Gupta, a principal at the Mumbai-based Nexus Venture Partners, is all set to leave the company and kickstart his own venture Craftsvilla.com. At Nexus, Gupta is on the board of directors of Shop Online Trading Pvt Ltd (which owns Yebhi.com, an online fashion store), Deccan Healthcare and Sohanlal Commodity Management. He was also the board observer of Snapdeal.com. Prior to joining Nexus, he had co-founded WIT, a US-based semiconductor technology company, which was later acquired by Chrontel.
Gupta has already incepted Craftsvilla.com, a handicraft store targeting a plethora of products such as apparel, home furnishing, home dÃ©cor, jewellery, bags and eco-friendly items.
"I am building an online private label luxury brand in the handicrafts space with the largest collection of handcrafted products that can be sold globally," said Gupta. "I have closely observed this space over the past one year. And it seems to be one of the best categories across the e-commerce space, given the margins, market size and the opportunity to build a private-label brand. It is estimated to be a $7 billion category in India and $100 billion globally. Also, it is one of the fastest growing categories in the country as India happens to be a big handicrafts hub," he added.
For this new venture, Gupta is using multiple business models. The direct-to-consumer model will enable him to offer Craftsvilla products through the web store www.craftsvilla.com and also through other third-party portals. Then, there will be the online wholesale model where products will be sold in bulk and at retail discounts. In terms of scaling up the business, Gupta has the corporate gifts business model in mind, since handicraft is an interesting category for corporate gifting. He is also planning to sell unstitched garments and fabrics, targeted at designers and retailers.
"The target customers are the middle-class and above. But I believe that at least 80 per cent of them will be women, as is apparent from the current trend. The brand positioning may be termed as 'luxe' but that does not mean I will only keep high-priced products. However, I will only offer high quality products," concluded Gupta.