25 July 2017

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Carving a Niche Out of Selling Luxury Goods Online

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Karl Pereira of Karmic Sanchita eCommerce is quite confident that selling luxury good online is the way forward. Pereira runs an online shopping site called Luxxuri.com, which is involved in selling luxury items such as women’s apparel, women’s accessories, children’s apparel, men’s apparel and accessories, limited edition books, luxury household items and more. He spoke to SmallEnterpriseIndia.com regarding his passion about ecommerce and how he plans to take Luxxuri.com to new heights.

 

Hitting Upon an Idea
Pereira holds a Bachelors degree in Engineering specializing in Construction and his initial schooling days were in schools run by Irish Christian Brothers in Mount Abu and Shillong. Though he holds a Six Sigma green belt, and his profession involved a “9 to 5 job” job, a business trip to Pune changed his perception about entrepreneurship and more importantly, selling luxury goods online.

“Back in June 2010, I was on the way to Pune for a consultancy appointment. Travelling with me was a person who is a supplier of luxury products” explained Pereira. “We got talking about his business and I was advising him on how to go online, in addition to his brick and mortar setup. As we got deeper into the discussion, I realised that ecommerce was just starting off in India and this was the right place to be. At the time I was the Country Manager for a MNC that was responsible for turning around stranded US companies from red to black. I had set up the India operations from the Chairman’s vision to full-fledged operations and decided that it was time that I start something on my own. And as they say, the rest is history.”

Starting Off
Though the idea of entrepreneurship might sound too good to start off immediately, the initial days, according to Pereira are hard. This is because, as a one man company, Pereira had to do everything single-handed, due to limited resources and funds. “I play the role of janitor to CEO, building the entire structure brick-by-brick. Since I decided to outsource everything, the need to find the right partner at the right cost with the right services was important. The next was to understand your service partner’s processes and align outputs to that,” added Pereira.

He also setup a home office in order to reduce costs such as office rents. He also met up with lawyers, chartered accounts, logistics companies, banks, and so on to convert his dreams into reality. The initial investment for setting up his dream business came from his personal savings and through assistance of close family members to get him off the ground. Currently, Pereira is in discussions with a few VC funding companies and angel investors for seed funding.

To keep initial costs low, Pereira has a very lean team which constitutes of himself as the CEO, Everything else has been outsourced – this Pereira claims is because doing that not only is more cost effective, but the service that you get is much better than having it in-house. Hence, jobs such as logistics, legal, graphic designer, web development, marketing, printing, customs agent, and so on have been outsourced.

“Apart from my own investments, I have three other partners who have invested in this project. However, they do not play a role in day to day operations of the business. As we grow as a business, I am sure we will have the place and resources to get on smarter and more educated people than me to run the business and add value,” said Pereira modestly.

Changing Perceptions
So will products sold by Luxxuri.com and the services it offers, change the way people look at buying luxury products online? “I think it’s not the way people look at premium or luxury products, but having access to such products,” quickly added Pereira. “Today the ecommerce industry in India ensures that people who do not have access to such products can purchase on the internet. And with an evolving logistics backbone, it is possible have such products delivered in the shortest amount of time, keeping in mind the convenience of the customer.”

According to Pereira, the real education is not to change the view, but understand the product and why it is a luxury product. With every product sold, Luxxuri.com reiterates the various factors that accompany any luxury or premium product such as the quality, craftsmanship, materials used, originality, authenticity, and so on.

“Just to expand a little bit more from a business perspective, we want to be a non-complicated business by not over-whelming and confusing customers with offers, sales, discounts, promotions and so on. Instead, we allow people to take their time to go through the site and base their decisions on what they see,” said Pereira. “Doing business in India is not easy. There were many times I told my wife that going back to a 9 to 5 job was the best thing to do, as you could have meetings whole day, delegate work to people and then review their performance while spending the rest of the time playing or being part of office politics.”

Though it has been only a few months since he launched Luxxuri.com, it might be too early to talk about revenues and break-evens. Having said that however, Pereira expects the breakeven to be much sooner because of the low cost versus revenue ratio. “An online business needs to be made aware online. So, we have in place the requisite technical infrastructure to get online visibility. Depending on budgets, capital required and ability to further raise money, we will get into paid marketing,” explained Pereira.

Gathering Momentum
According to Pereira, the current focus is on the Indian market, though he would expand his reach to other markets soon.  Apart from being involved in Luxxuri.com, Pereira is also indulging himself in a few small consultancy projects and also simultaneously building another ecommerce business that will be focusing on low and mid-range products. Pereira for now would like to build Luxxuri.com as a brand, under which he would also like to manufacture and sell around 5 to 10 products, apart from other brands he already sells online.

According to Pereira, it is important to be focused on what is at hand as some ideas are long term execution plans. “I would want first Luxxuri.com to be out there and be in steady state operations before moving my attention anywhere else. But, once we have done that I want to make a difference with the next idea that I decide to execute, the objectivity being to add value to people and their lives. There are really no short cuts or easy path in entrepreneurship. There will be many instances where you want to give up, this is what will separate the boys from the men,” added Pereira.

Last Updated ( Saturday, 17 March 2012 12:25 )  

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