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Rajesh Nahar

Ritesh Katariya
(Indian School of Business; Institute for Technology of Management)

Alexa Ranking
November, 2012
Rank in India
Rank in World

Parent Company
Fashionista Retail Private Ltd

Founded Year

Number of Employee
51-200 employees

Head Office
Chennai, India
Career Page

Major Acquisitions


cbazaar’s Story is the Indian Ecommerce store of the global online Indian clothing store. It has been one of the pioneers in online retailing of Indian Ethnic clothes to the global Indian and South Asian diaspora. When it was launched in December 1998 as Chennaibazaar, the online firm intended to evolve into an online mall. But the idea didn’t click and in 1999, it emerged as an online gifting portal, targeting NRIs who want to send gifts to friends and families back at home. The company later forayed into apparels and during 2000-2005, it built a considerable customer base in the UK and the US – connecting with people keen to buy Indian ethnic wear. Finally, in 2005, Chennaibazaar became and a private label brand.

To start this business, founder had initially raised fund from friends and family and managed to break even in 2003. Whatever money they were making in those years, they were re-investing that in their facilities and marketing initiatives. Inventus Capital Partners and Ojas Venture Partners had also invested after some year.

They started Chennaibazaar in December 1998 for the residents of Chennai. At that time, there was only COD (cash on delivery) as cards were neither relevant nor popular. Also, they were selling a wide range of products – right from groceries and vegetables to computers and electronics. In fact, they wanted to evolve into an online mall. But it didn’t really click because of low Internet penetration. When they were running Chennaibazaar, they used to get a lot of queries from the Indian diaspora living overseas. Most of the times, customers wanted to gift things to their friends and families staying in Chennai via Chennaibazaar. That’s when they realised that their model might not be too successful in India due to lots of challenges, such as low Internet penetration and low margins. So they decided to focus on the Indian diaspora and help them with sending gifts to their families in Chennai. Consequently, they re-launched in mid-1999 as an online gifting portal, selling cakes, flowers and chocolate, and later forayed into apparels. At that time, they were connected to the payment gateways in the US for online transactions and started making healthy margins from Day I.

During 2000-2005, Chennaibazaar built a considerable customer base in the UK and the US – connecting with people keen to buy Indian ethnic apparel. Finally, in 2005, Chennaibazaar became Cbazaar and a private label brand. Founders didn’t want to sound region specific. They want to go pan-India to cater to a larger audience.

When Cbazaar came live in 2005, they started contacting ethnic apparel manufacturers from all over India. Their aim was to provide a large variety of products to our overseas customers. Today is a leading e-commerce website in India.

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