In your interest.
Online Personal Finance Magazine
No beating about the bush.
Namrata Kothari and Meghna Mittal, both founders of online fashion and shopping portal—www.InOnIt.in, say that entrepreneurship leads to innovation, which eventually results in growth provided you stay persistent and focused
Namrata Kothari and Meghna Mittal are Mumbaikars who met at the Wharton School of Business, spent some time in investment banking before deciding to turn entrepreneurs. After business school, Namrata worked at Goldman Sachs while Meghna worked at Bear Stearns for several years. But soon both were bitten by the entrepreneurship bug and chucked up their jobs to return to India.
www.InOnIt.in, an online fashion and shopping portal, that they cofounded in April 2011 started as a simple experiment in e-commerce. This has now an annual turnover of more than Rs1 crore. They receive 1.5 lakh visitors on their website every month and have managed to get 1.03 lakh followers on Facebook. A free online newsletter that they bring out also boasts 40,000 subscribers.
Read the excerpts of an interview of Namrata Kothari with Konica Bhatt of Moneylife:
Konica Bhatt (ML): Tell us something about your business.
Namrata Kothari (NK): The main aim of InOnIt is to create a platform where women can come and read about fashion trends, as well as buy products that suit their style. They can follow the fashion trends of their favorite celebrities and shop accordingly. It is an online fashion blog as well as a one-stop shop for all women’s clothing.
ML: What inspired you to set up this particular business?
NK: We wanted to start a technology-related business, as well as one that would fill a niche in the online fashion industry. There were not enough online content websites back then, where we could browse products in one place as well as get information about latest trends. This was the main idea behind www.InOnIt.in
ML: What roles do you play in the business? What is the staff strength of the company?
NK: Meghna (Mittal) takes care of the marketing and finance, while I take care of the content and merchandising. We started with a staff of eight women. As the business expanded, we hired more people for the tech team. Currently, our staff consists of 13 people.
ML: What is the main source of revenues?
NK: Our online sales definitely play a prominent part in generating revenue. Our dresses and jackets are the most sold products, and we have as many as 40 sales per day. We also work with a lot of brands and expertspeak who act as our sponsors.
ML: How do you deal with the many glitches that come up with being an entrepreneur?
NK: Glitches are of different kinds -- like in picking the right vendors to managing your business. We try to be as resourceful as possible, without wasting money. Managing time and work is also a tough task. Also, being an e-commerce industry, website malfunctioning is one of the biggest glitches; we have to make sure the tech team stays on it all the time to fix it as soon as possible.
ML: What drives you to work everyday?
NK: Mainly the excitement to build a product that will change or enhance the way customers learn, discover and ultimately make purchase decisions. Its fun to create something that will enhance the shopping experience for people and it is challenging to try to get someone to actually spend money. That challenge is what fascinates us to go to work everyday. There was an incident where someone purchased 35-37 items online for Rs50, 000. She was a second-time customer and the purchase left us flabbergasted. It is still the largest one time sale we have made till date. Such exhilarating experiences motivate us to follow our goals.
ML: What are the future plans for both of you and for InOnIt?
NK: As of now, we are planning to revamp the website. We hope to bring more connection between content and e-commerce and enhancing the experience of the visitors. We are also planning to do a fashion event this year.
ML: Who are your main competitors?
NK: We have a different set of competitors from both sides of our website. For the forum side, other websites that do similar content, numbers of independent bloggers who talk about fashion and follow celebrities are the main competitors. Some of the big fashion websites like Jabong, Myntra have a great collection of items on sale. They are the biggest competitors in the ecommerce side.
ML: What were the biggest challenges you faced as women entrepreneurs?
NK: We never really faced any challenge, if fact it is more of an advantage. As there are not many women entrepreneurs, people look up to you for being a woman entrepreneur. So people generally treat you positively. Balancing personal and professional life can be a personal challenge for women.
ML: What business apps, tools or mottos help you run your business efficiently?
NK: We use a variety of apps for the business. The main ones are Mailchimp for emails, Asana for organisation to create projects, tasks, Hootsuite for social media, Wonderlist to create a to-do list and Evernote for quick office making notes, interviews. We also use the ever popular Google Docs as well.
ML: What are the major opportunities for women to start their businesses?
NK: The type of business you want to open depends on your educational background. It only makes sense to enter in a field which you know about, and also are passionate enough to follow. Though the public relations sector, fashion industry, education sector have some major opportunities for women, there are no stereotypes anymore.
ML: Any tips for women entrepreneurs trying to make it in a competitive world?
NK: It is very important to have conviction. Also, once you enter the competition, stay persistent and focused. There are times when the pressure builds up, or you have a number of distractions. At such times it is extremely important to maintain the focus and not get side-tracked. Remember to always aim high in life in order to succeed.
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(In the run up to International Women’s Day on 8th March, Moneylife is running a series of Women Entrepreneurs who have made a mark. If you know women who ought to be featured in this series, do write to us with details at [email protected]. And if you are a women entrepreneur wanting to expand your business and grow, do keep in touch with our not-for-profit entity at foundation.moneylife.in - we may have some news in store for you!)
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