Parturition of My Dream Store
- Create and Sell – Young designers and aspiring entrepreneurs may want to step in and solve the above problem but they face many barriers for starting an apparel brand. They have to first guess the number of shirts and sizes and figure out what the most popular one will be. They risk the expenses to get them printed. Moreover, distribution and collection is a pain as is building a quality network of garment suppliers. All this may result in Low quality and high printing price, which will make it tough to sell or acquire buyers.
- Create and Buy – College students need T-Shirts and other apparel for every occasion, groups and hobby clubs. It becomes a tedious process to order tees. You will have to get sizes, get money, pay advance to the dealer and then distribute according to size.
There are two aspects to the problem. Karthik and Bala wanted to solve both sides of the problem. My Dream Store was founded by Karthik Venkat and Satish Bala in the April of 2014 to address these problems of the industry. It is a tech platform for individuals to create and sell merchandise without any upfront costs or hassles. My Dream Store offers friction-less selling experience by taking care of production, distribution as well as customer support.
My Dream Store is a crowd-funded merchandising platform – which means the seller can upload his designs, create products like T-Shirts and Hoodies (what we call as a campaign), Set the pricing and minimum goal quantity to be printed and promote them. When a campaign reaches its goal – platform prints, packs and delivers it to the buyers and deliver profits to the sellers. They called each product as campaign and each seller as a campaigner.
“Our vision is to simplify e-commerce by using Technology and the Principles of Lean Inventory, Just-In-Time Production. Our platform removes all barriers of entry that have kept individuals and organizations from bringing their ideas to life” says Karthik. Website made with smart Technology makes Platform functionalities efficient that create better selling experience than competitors. My Dream Store is using technology effectively for hassle free SELLING EXPERIENCE and EFFICIENT OPERATIONS.
My Dream Store is currently into T-Shirts, where the organized market stood at US$ 2 billion in 2014. Most of this proportion is that of Offline, here My Dream Store is building an ecosystem where even individuals will be able to sell to this market without worrying about inventory or investment risk. Most of sellers at My Dream Store are from Internet Marketers, Designer, Student communities and Aspiring Entrepreneurs.
My Dream Store has a seller-centric business model. They do everything in their power to make selling, super easy! Any Individual can become an online entrepreneur within a matter of minutes. Their web application platform enables Easy Selling in four simple steps
- Create products (Tees, Hoodies etc)
- Set the selling price, minimum goal quantity
- Share it with your friends / promote to audience
- Sell and take profits
- Since My Dream Store’s base price is lower than many similar platforms, their campaigners are able to set a higher margin for themselves while keeping the price of their t-shirts at a reasonable rate.
- My Dream Store does everything in their power to teach sellers the ways of designing and promotion so that they have the best chance to reach out to thousands of consumers and sell their T-shirts to these consumers through seller training programme.
- My Dream Store’s logistics are very efficient and they are trying their best to speed up the process of Faster Payment settlements or ‘payout.’
- Website made with smart Technology makes Platform functionalities efficient that create better selling experience than competitors
Karthik and Bala were into the bulk merchandising business over the last five years and hence have an existing strong supplier network (Together they had another T-Shirt business called eSparsha which was into Bulk Merchandising and it sold over sold half a million tees).
Also, for a college student now with the My Dream Store solution, there is no need to pay upfront to the vendor. Just share the URL within your group, class or college and people will pay and choose sizes and colours. They will collect payment and transfer it to the seller.
Challenges to My Dream Store
My Dream Store has a bring-your-customer model and sellers have to promote the products to the right audience. There is a very low awareness among the sellers about online advertising tools like Facebook Advertising, Google Advertising etc. In order to counter this, My Dream Store has created learning programmes for their sellers through online courseware (My Dream Store University) and Webinars. My Dream Store University is a place where sellers can learn about the tips and tricks of design, promotion as well as marketing of T-shirts. This has helped in improving the success rates of the campaigns. Another challenge is the low conversion rates earlier. Now with more colours and product options, store is giving more choices to the buyer.
But with every challenge, comes an opportunity to learn and improve. “Our big learning moment was our shift towards Seller Centricity. We realised that with our Focus on the Seller we will have a better chance to succeed” says Bala.
My Dream Store has made several efforts towards community engagement:
- Campaigner Connect – A closed group to create a network where campaigners can freely communicate with community managers and solve any problems that arise
- Google Hangout – Store has weekly Hangout sessions where everyone communicates with their existing and potential campaigners to make their experience smoother
- Open door policy – Store invites young designers and aspiring entrepreneurs in their office to interact and encourage them to join platform
- My Dream Store University – Store has created an online platform where there are regular tutorials for every aspect of the My Dream Store process
Bala shares one such moment with us when Mr. Murty, a Retired Endocrinologist, came in to their office to meet with the team. He had become very interested in the T-Shirt business and was determined to learn more about it. The young team was blown over by the energy and vigour of Mr. Murty. He interacted with marketing team and had a session with Marketing Head himself to learn the ins and outs of Facebook advertising. At the end of an action-packed session, he said that he was impressed by what team My Dream Store is doing.
“We were very happy to see that our business model was adopted by the young and the old alike” Bala smiles.
Funding & Growth
My Dream Store has received angel investment of US$ 320,000 in January 2015. Full fledged platform kicked off in March 2015. Since then they have grown over 10X in GMVs. They are currently clocking million page views every month. The current team size is 30. Currently, they are looking for Series A fund to catapult their growth journey. My Dream Store wants to venture into products like Mobile Cases, Posters, Tote bags, Stickers etc.
“Our investments in Technology, Seller Acquisition and Training, as well as stellar operations have helped us in this rapid growth” Karthik concludes.