Inkfruit is an online t-shirt store, where t-shirt designs are submitted and voted for by a community.
This was clear from the very beginning, when Kashyap chose to start his own company Inkfruit instead of going down the tried and tested path of joining an already established Corporate House after completing his B.Tech from IIT Bombay, PGDM from IIM Lucknow. He decided to become an Entrepreneur because he realized that would be the only thing that he would be able to do with complete and absolute ownership.
He started working on this business with his friend and partner Navneet in early 2007. Initially, working on this business was very taxing. They started with just Rs 90,000 which was the amount of money that both of them had managed to pool in. They were really excited about the merchandise space in India to start with. The gap between India and the more developed countries in 2007 was very stark when it came to quality creative merchandise – there were only a few brands and even there the offerings were largely stereotyped. They were fascinated by a scalable model in this space that could offer a truly differentiated product. Using the Internet to build a large community of people who would together co-create seemed to be a challenge attractive enough to pursue. The model would give an amazing opportunity to artists across India (and outside) and they believed that such a model would bring about a design revolution, leading to amazing designs across product categories. That’s what got them started inkfruit.
They aspire to be the first company to have all major decisions governed by its customers rather than internal team members. This would be a major shift in the conventional working of things. They believe that this model will also lead to Inkfruit offering an unparalleled level of creativity and quality in product design.
They started with the initial hurdle of picking up skills needed in product creation. Navneet and Kashyap are not from the apparel field and one of their biggest product categories is T-shirts. So they picked up the ropes in this area – and being outsiders to the field, they ended up creating the best quality of merchandise as they saw everything from the consumers’ eyes. Earlier on, Kashyap was taking on a lot more than he could handle because of financial constraints. Navneet and he were always multitasking. Financial constraints rather than logic are what governed them. They were the strategy experts, the execution managers, the customer service executives and the delivery boys.
Next was the entire task of making designers feel secure participating on the site and starting the community that has now grown to million people. The initial growth in this area was very gradual. But having got the initial members, the spread has been really rapid due to the engaging nature of the model.
Inkfruit has been making really rapid progress ever since. Their growth of last year had been very fast. Operationally, members of the Inkfruit community submit graphics, they vote on all the 1000 plus submissions that come in every month and through this voting process, select the ones which are most popular. Winning designs are manufactured and put on sale. What sets Inkfruit apart is the outstanding collection which the design team comprising of 1000s of designers across the globe creates! And this is largely because all the designers largely work on their personal passions – not to a design brief from Inkfruit’s side. They enjoy what they do and end up doing some really amazing stuff. There are plans for expansion into categories like apparel, accessories ,bags, footwear, stationary, home decor and many others. Bangalore-based online fashion retailer Zovi acquired Inkfruit.com in January, 2013.
Its major competitors are myntra, yebhi etc.