Creating an online kurta brand at the age of 21, he has built a Rs 30 crore turnover business
Vol 13 | Issue 9
Fitness and gym enthusiast Bhavya Mehta was just 21 when he launched ethnic clothing brand ‘Royal Kurta’ on Snapdeal in 2014, starting with Rs 5 lakh that he had borrowed from his father.
Eight years later, Royal Kurta has grown into a Rs 30 crore turnover business with around 21,000 products on its catalogue and selling online through the company website and also other ecommerce portals such as Amazon, Myntra, Nykaa, Tata Cliq, and Paytm Mall.
|Bhavya Mehta launched Royal Kurta in 2014 on Snapdeal with an investment of Rs 5 lakh (Photos: Special Arrangement) |
Royal Kurta offers a variety of kurta pyjamas, sherwanis, pathanis and bandhgalas that are made of cotton, dupion silk, art silk and tussar silk.
Bhavya’s father is into men’s apparel retail business in Delhi and they have a few shops in Tilak Nagar market area.
After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Deen Dayal Upadhyaya College, Bhavya worked with his father for about a year and a half before starting his business.
He established Mehta E-Retail India, a proprietorship company in 2014.
“Royal Kurta was the first to debut in the ethnic clothing category on Snapdeal,” reminsces Bhavya.
In the initial months business was slow, but things turned around during Diwali season when his brand created a record selling 1200 kurtas on a single day. There has been no turning back since.
The whole idea of starting something of his own came to him because he had to borrow money from his father to buy his gym supplements.
|Royal Kurta offers more than 21000 products on its catalogue|
He wished to be financially independent, but he remembers it was not very easy to convince his parents about his business idea.
It was with great difficulty he managed to convince his parents that people would actually purchase the clothes without even touching and feeling the fabric, unlike in a brick-and-mortal retail store.
He converted one of his father’s stores into an office and started his operations from there. He got the kurtas from his father’s collection and put his label Royal Kurta on them.
Bhavya did the packing himself in the initial days. As business picked up, he hired more employees and also began to manufacture his own range of clothes.
He has kept the prices of his products nominal. “The starting price for a kurta set with pyjamas made of 100% pure cotton fabric is Rs 300. The price ranges from Rs 300 to Rs 3000, depending on the design and the cloth,” he says.
In retrospect, he feels his success came because of the lack of availability of men’s ethnic wear in the online marketplace when he had launched his business.
|Bhavya says online trading offers more advantages than physical retailing|
He also believes that ecommerce has advantages over physical retailing, because in online trading one is not constrained by geographic limits.
“E-commerce allows you to serve customers all over the world,” says Bhavya, who put his products on Amazon in 2015 and started getting orders from many foreign countries. He then began to put his products on more platforms including eBay.
Today, he has customers in Middle Eastern countries, Egypt, Turkey, Mexico, Canada, the US, Sweden, Poland, Singapore, Italy, Spain, Germany, France, and Japan.
“Both Amazon and Ebay have a global presence. Currently, 70% of our revenue, around Rs 15 to 20 crore comes from export, which is mostly B2C,” he says.
“Apart from persons of Indian descent, several people also buy the clothes as they want to try Indian heritage costumes out of curiosity. Our kurtas come in an array of colours. Black, blue, and white are the most prominent colours.”
‘Royal Kurta Customized’ is a service the company is providing to customers who may be having specific needs and the brand offers bespoke clothing to cater to this clientele.
As the orders started increasing, Bhavya decided to set up his own manufacturing unit to meet the demand. In 2017, he set up an unit at Mahavir Nagar, where they have around 40 employees now.
They include tailors, ironers, washers and dispatching staff. He has hired three MBA graduates to handle the marketing.
The company sources cotton fabric from Mumbai and Ahmedabad, while silk is sourced from Surat and Varanasi. They produce on an average 500 kurtas daily, though during the festival and wedding seasons, the production is increased to meet the demand.
During the lockdown, his business grew significantly. Customers who wanted to dress in ethnic kurtas throughout the festival seasons were hesitant to step out and began to shop online and it benefitted them.
|Two years ago Royal Kurta registered a five-fold increase in sales over the previous year in Amazon|
Two years ago, Royal Kurta achieved a five-fold increase in sales over the previous year in Amazon and it led to a memorable meeting with Gopal Pillai, CEO of Amazon India and Amit Agarwal, Senior Vice President and Country Manager of Amazon India, says Bhavya.
Bhavya, who is only 29-years-old now, is a firm believer in hard work, and wants to grow his business to at least Rs 40 crore in a year.
Apart from fitness, he loves his French bulldog, enjoys running, meditating and spending time with his family.
He is married to Parul, a commerce graduate from Dayal Singh College. “She is incredibly encouraging and supportive,” he says of his wife.