The brainchild of Sandeep Singh, Rajesh Naikar, Harish Bahl and Sujal Shah (who moved out in 2013), FREECULTR turned into incubated by means of the Smile and Sequoia Capital as an e-com task supplying its personal apparels brand on-line in 2011. FREECULTR brought the concept of “Premium Basics” to India with a full way of life variety of apparel and accessories for women and men.
In March 2015, the organisation released the crowdsourcing platform FREECULTR Express, which now has over 25,000+ designers on board. Express is a crowd-sourced layout platform that lets in anybody to create and promote T-shirts. All the company’s energies are actually focused towards building FREECULTR Express as a style platform that democratizes fashion like by no means before.
The platform allows each person to create and promote T-shirts through their very own customized Tee-store and thereby monetize their creativity with out going thru the hassles of investing and constructing up an inventory. One has to login and add the content material that s/he desires to monetize, and with a simple tool, witness one’s creativity metamorphosize right into a tangible product aka T-blouse. Thus earning from one’s own digital T-blouse save becomes a simplified system.
How it works
FREECULTR Express has made the process of creating a T-shirt quite simple. The dressmaker simply has to log in, create a T-save, add his designs, tag them and set his phrases. The enterprise will placed a base fee at the T-shirt, which might include the clothier’s cut, the price of production and transport and its margins. FREECULTR works on a 0 inventory model. Hence, the designs might be manufactured and shipped only as soon as a user places an order. The organization supplies pan-India.
The organisation is the usage of the standard social media channels for marketing together with Facebook, Google and others for marketing the designs on its platform. Additionally, it has additionally tied up with marketplaces like Myntra, Jabong and others which promote the T-shirts underneath its logo call. Also, the designers additionally make contributions to the employer’s advertising efforts by means of advertising their T-shops on their respective social media channels.
Currently, the agency has tied up with three exceptional manufacturing companions. About eighty% of the orders received on the platform are shipped within 36 hours. In the destiny, the company will appearance to transport towards a real time manufacturing model as it ramps up funding inside the backend and builds more direct connection with its production companions.
Sandeep says every person who's a photographer, a photograph dressmaker, an art designer, or maybe just an Instagram consumer can use the Freecultr platform to unleash his creativity and take it to the marketplace place. He adds, “The concept is to make the procedure of creation very simple for a fashion designer.” Meanwhile, as far as customers are involved, the platform is a gold mine for humans looking to buy topic primarily based T shirts.
The portal has more than 1 lakh designs of T-shirts. So as a long way because the buyer is involved, the platform aims to make the procedure of discovery simple for him. He factors out that brands operate on a seasonal version-the shares they maintain are season primarily based while on FREECULTR, the emphasis in extra on fresh, subject matter based totally designs.
Monetization, Traction, and Funding
Currently, it sells approximately 3,000 to four,000 T-shirts a day, whose cost includes the fashion designer’s reduce, the fee of production and shipping, and the employer’s margins. Currently, it has extra than 10,000 energetic designers on its portal, with the entire number of designers in the range of 20-30k. Since the launch of the platform in 2015, it has given out extra than $152K (INR 10 Mn) to its designers in pay-outs.
The dressmaker can charge his layout everywhere among $6-$13(INR400-INR 849). Freecultr charges a base price of INR $6( INR400) on every T-blouse. This covers the manufacturing, marketing, logistics and client care prices, basically all of the fees concerned in selling a T-shirt.
By 2016, FREECULTR is focused on revenues of $24 Mn(INR a hundred and sixty Cr) with income of 3.1 Mn gadgets. The agency also objectives to have an active dressmaker base of 63,000 via 2016. The agency’s first milestone turned into crossing the 10k designer mark. Also, the company had started exporting its T-shirts to the Middle East markets and could also goal extra nations inside the destiny.
FREECULTR which has been incubated through the Smile Group and Sequoia Capital, had raised $4 Mn in investment from Sequoia Capital in 2011. In 2012, it changed into backed by some other $nine million in Series B funding from Ru-internet Holdings, based by Russian billionaire Leonid Boguslavsky. The corporation has raised a complete of greater than $13 Mn in funding and is looking to improve greater funds as it invests within the platform and generation.
From a crowd sourced design platform, FREECULTR Express aims to conform right into a full-fledged marketplace. The enterprise can also be launching an app to facilitate the each designers and users. The company will leverage an increasing number of of generation to simplify the advent manner, introduce extra discovery equipment for consumers, and construct upon its deliver chain to allow manufacturing in real time. Also, just from crowd sourcing designs for T-shirts, the company will move beyond T-shirts to introduce plenty greater products to target the apparel segment.
Though FREECULTR’s way of sourcing designs is unique, yet it faces competition from many such other marketplaces for designer merchandise created with the aid of artists. Prominent among them are Cupick.Com, a social community for artists that permits them to merchandize their artwork, Postergully, Alma Mater and Bewakoof.Com. Then there is Mumbai-based totally Paintcollar– some other on-line platform for artists to proportion their art work in shape of products like t-shirts, mugs, cellphone instances and different kind of products. It raised its bridge spherical of investment final month. Cupick also closed a seed round of funding this July, elevating $120k from a group of the USA and Indian angel buyers through TermSheet.Io
Then there has been additionally, Bluegape, which used to permit artists to add their art work on its platform however had to positioned a fullstop on the vending commercial enterprise because of copyright troubles. On copyright issues, Sandeep had this to say, “We have a group that looks after the preliminary layout violations. They browse via the uploaded designs and pull off the designs that have copyright cloth in it. We also do no longer take delivery of designs with religious, political content or content material that may harm someone’s sentiments. Post moderation from our quit, after the design goes stay, if someone sees a design which isn't always authentic and is copied from someone/ somewhere, the individual can flag off the design mentioning the reason in the back of it, we then pull the layout down.”
Similarly, it faces opposition from many non-public labels and ecommerce giants working in the T-shirt and apparel phase as properly. Though FREECULTR partners with Flipkart, Snapdeal and the loves to marketplace product below its call, however then it is not the best personal label on their platform. Sandeep says the T-blouse marketplace alone in India will grow to be $1.Five Bn market inside the on line space, that allows you to properly consider the competition in this phase. If one speaks of online fashion as an entire, that marketplace is projected to be a $35 Bn opportunity in India within the subsequent four years.It is already crowded with many new entrants making their foray into this space.
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Also, internet most effective personal manufacturers face mammoth competition and it’s now not easy sustaining a personal label in India’s burgeoning reduce-throat ecommerce area. Gurgaon-based girls’s fashion emblem DoneByNone had shut down in advance this yr stating to the fact that walking an ecommerce commercial enterprise in India isn't as clean it seems. Some like Inkfruit had been snapped by bigger opponents such as Zovi. On the alternative facet, there's Myntra that is launching extra private labels because it sees will increase in sales from the identical. Similarly, Yepme and Zovi are also preserving their very own within the marketplace. Yepme lately, raked in $seventy five Mn in investment.
FREECULTR Express sticks out with its particular manner of sourcing fresh designs in T-shirts. It’s emphasis on subject matter primarily based T-shirts additionally allows it to differentiate from the gamut of other fashion ecommerce gamers. However, the category itself is quite aggressive as can be visible with the concentration of other such on-line marketplaces for designer merchandise created by using artists. Fashion area is a large pie of the ecommerce market in India, and currently, FREECULTR is simply focused on a small phase of it by means of concentrating in T-shirts. While the individuality of its designs is its forte, however for it to grow to be a bigger brand, the width of its services within the future could be a determining thing.