Diapers4Baby is India’s first diapering hygiene focused online baby store catering to baby product buying needs of Indian parents. It was incorporated by Anand Banerjee and Rohan Kamat in August 2013. This Mumbai based company presently operates in Mumbai and its surrounding cities. Diapers4Baby aims to expand to 40+ cities of the country soon. Today, in this session, we have with us Anand Banerjee, one of the founders of Diapers4Baby. He speaks to our team and reveals about his entrepreneurial journey with Diapers4Baby.
Hi Anand, welcome to the platform conflatingVisions. We would like to know a few lines about you to begin with.
I’m a graduate from Mumbai University, a Six Sigma certified professional and a follower of LEAN management principles. With over 17 years of professional experience in sales, marketing, retention, quality & project management as well as entrepreneurship I’m blessed to have met and worked with a wide variety of people and learnt so much. I’m a member of the International High IQ society, and have co-founded BnB Global Solutions (A Data Analytics firm) and Tangram Research & Consultancy (A Market Research & Consultancy firm) in the past, besides having worked with leading entities such as Fidelity, Reliance & Hutchison Whampoa. I’m also an advisory board member for a couple of startups, an avid reader, blogger, absolutely in love with dogs and an amateur photographer. I strongly believe that every individual has the potential to make an impact in this world, what matters is how far is an individual willing to go!
Tell us about your venture Diapers4baby. How did the idea evolve?
The idea of a Diapers4Baby.com struck me when I came across a particular scene from one of my favourite movies, “Marley & Me” where Owen Wilson changes his baby’s diapers. That’s when the idea of a diapering related e-Commerce store struck me. On further research I realized that a real world problem existed in this area for customers as well as businesses. Businesses are unable to reach out to customers easily, while customers are restricted in their access to quality hygiene product for their babies.
You have created a platform through which you are selling a wide range of baby care products. Then why such name Diapers4baby?
Diapers4Baby.com is India’s first diapering hygiene focused online baby store catering to baby product buying needs of Indian parents. Our vision is to empower the Indian parent with the right to choose from a wide variety of quality baby products at competitive prices.
With rising disposable incomes and a burgeoning middle class, the young Indian parent puts baby hygiene on top of its list. We know that the first thing that parents buy every single month for their babies is Diapers and everything else just follows. We realized that if we can solve the toll gate problem for our customers while providing them with world class service, loyalty will be built and purchase of all other products will naturally follow.
How is the journey so far?
It’s been great and obviously I’ve had to encounter a unique set of challenges. What is remarkable though is the fact that I’ve changed so much as a person through my experiences with Diapers4Baby. And more importantly, for a change I was fully aware at all times about these changes within me and almost all of it was conscious. There is no greater teacher than practical experience and I’ve had so many challenges thrown at me when to comes to this venture that my patience, resilience and perseverance were tested thoroughly.
Frankly, it has been an exhilarating journey thus far and I keep looking forward to the next challenge every single day!
Please share the investment details.
We’re seed funded + bootstrapped with a total capital infusion close to Rs. 9 million.
How big is your present team?
We’re about 10 people right now, but the staff strength will increase at least four-fold within the next six months.
Where do you see yourself after 2 years?
Definitely amongst the top two players in the baby care category if the question is about my venture; As far as me as a person is concerned, I’d like to be a much improved version of myself professionally as well as personally, having contributed something substantially to the world around me.
What are your future plans?
We’ve got a lot to do in the next few months – expanding our service geographies, scaling up operations, enhancing technology, strengthening our staff, widening our product basket at least ten-fold, widening our resource channels, scaling up logistics and most importantly our scaling up our marketing activities to inflate our customer base.
What are the challenges in this business?
The biggest challenge in this business is the operating margin. Diapers offer very thin margins, yet are extremely real-estate intensive and attract high shipping costs. Consistent supply of stocks is also a challenge and that keeps us away from operating on a just-in-time model.
How do you overcome them?
Over the years, we’ve managed to build excellent relations with our suppliers to ensure consistent supply, forecast our buying needs a lot better and also implement efficient yet cost-effective delivery mechanism. These bundled together have given us a little bit of relief, however the bigger challenge is to be able to cross-sell/upsell other products in order to improve margins, which we’re relentlessly working on.
How much would you rate yourself as an entrepreneur (on a scale of 10)?
Entrepreneurship is as much an art, as it is a science. I’m of the strong opinion that if you have to a put a number to something, it should either be backed by a whole set of measurable parameters and then arrive at the final number or one must have superlative logic if the decision is made subjectively.
I’d rather have people around me rate me on this, as even though I love myself for who I am I definitely am my strongest critic and would never rate myself more than seven all my life, irrespective of my achievements.
Anything else you want to share with us…
Diapers4Baby.com is proud to have been awarded as the “best startup in the baby care category” at the “2nd Indian Startup Entrepreneurship & Disruptive Innovation Awards” held on 21 January 2016.
And, one last question Anand, if you have had one wish…
I’d wish to have enough money to be able to fund aspiring entrepreneurs who’re largely ignored by investors and venture capitalists on their ventures to create an equal opportunity platform for the less fortunate yet equally (if not more) capable bunch of entrepreneurs.