Beauty tech startups are popping up everywhere and they are making life a lot easier for beauty shoppers. Many offer one-stop shop solutions and product recommendation features that take the guess work out of finding the right products. One such beauty startup is BeautyKafe, an online store front serving shoppers all over India.
BeautyKafe was launched in December 2012 by Ajay Jain alongside primary investor Rohit Jain. The website currently boasts over 10,000 products from more than 300 brands, more than 9,000 happy customers nationwide and a content directory of over 200 article in various categories.
Current CEO, Ajay Jain has plans to grow the website to become India’s largest social content commerce platform in the beauty field. We sit down with Ajay to learn a bit about his background and gain some insight into the success of the business.
Ajay Jain, founder of Beauty Startup, BeautyKafe
Can you briefly describe your website and what makes it unique.
Ajay: Beautykafe.com is one stop solution to all beauty essential for everyone in India with a large product catalog and strong fullfillment network.
Tell us a bit about the educational background and experience of yourself and Rohit
Ajay: I am a computer science graduate with over five years of experience in web and mobile technologies. I have been working in startups since the start of my career.
Rohit is a serial entrepreneur who graduated from the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology in Bombay in 2004. He sold his first startup in 2007 and then co-founded Mexus Education in 2008, which is now the leading k-12 education company in India.
How did you come up with the idea for BeautyKafe and what attracted two tech guys like yourselves into the world of beauty?
Ajay: Both of us wanted to get in online shopping and Idea started with the grocery store but in initial research we figured out a lot of sustainability issues as Margins in grocery were very small. In the same research we figured out beauty products got huge potential as Margins are good enough to sustain as online shopping business.
From start to launch, how long did it take to get everything up and running?
Ajay: It took us about 6 months to complete the groundwork and launch ourselves which included initial research, Idea consolidation, Technology Development, Catalog acquisition, delivery network and Marketing plan.
There’s recently being a huge spike of beauty tech startups,why has the beauty field become so attractive for technology enthusiasts like yourself?
Ajay: Beauty industry is huge, it’s a continuous need to everyone and everyone out there wants to use best available products. As per recent market reports, Indian beauty industry size is about $1.5 billion and most ofit is unorganized. That’s the kind of opportunity people like us keep looking for.
What regions does your website serve and how does your website fulfill their unique needs?
Ajay: Currently our services are limited to Indian consumers. India got growth rate of about 20% for beauty Industry and major part of it comes from unorganized market as most of the international brands doesn’t have their distribution channels in place in India. With online shopping we can become great sales and marketing channels to them.
We also offer cash on delivery options because many Indian shoppers are reluctant to do their shopping online for reasons such as lack of debit or credit cards to make payments and fear of fraud.
What means did you utilize to acquire funding for the website?
Ajay: So far we are self funded.
What is the main source of revenue for your website?
Ajay: Currently our main and only source of revenue is product sales which itself is phenomenal.
In such a short period, you have managed to build a large user base so quickly, what would you say is the reason behind your quick success?
Ajay: In India most of the population resides in mid sized cities where people do not have easy access brands and products they love, We are just filling the gap there.
How do you leverage social media and other forms of digital marketing to attract visitors to your website?
Ajay: In India, buyers do not have enough knowledge to judge a beauty product and take buying decision, so we are building and publishing a-lot of educational contact for our blog and social media like Product recommendations, Product reviews, inspiring looks and also coming up an expert solution where buyer can have one to one conversation with our experts. Currently, 60% percent of our sales happens from organic traffic.
The internet is a highly competitive space, and especially with sites like Amazon building presence in the global scene, how do you plan to differentiate yourself from competitors?
Ajay: Beautykafe being specific to beauty products has far more beauty products then these giants as they do not have focus in specifically any one category, secondly this industry requires a-lot of content to educate buyer and take better decision so we are evolving ourselves as a content commerce company for all beauty essentials.
What is your ultimate vision or end goal with your website?
Ajay: We see Beautykafe.com as one stop solution to anything related to beauty, which could be suggestion from an expert, product reviews, product recommendations or purchase products.
What are your thoughts on this beauty startup? please share in the comment box below.