Hailing from a business family, entrepreneur Shivam Soni always wanted to start up. He wanted to create his own business, and more importantly, generate employment.
With help from his sister Shivani Soni, a fashion designer, Shivam decided to foray into the ecommerce market, focussing on apparel and accessories.
Udaipur-based BeYoung — founded in 2018 by Shivam Soni, Shivani Soni, Sakshi Soni, and Shankar Mali — is involved in the manufacturing and sales of apparel and accessories designed to make people feel young.
While Shivam completed his B.Com in 2017, Shakshi comes from a digital marketing background.
“BeYoung mainly targets people aged between 16 and 45 years. It majorly focusses on plus-sized clothing and makes customised products. As part of this, the startup allows users to submit their designs and custom make their t-shirts,” Shivam tells YourStory.
Representing ‘young’ souls
As the name suggests, “BeYoung” was picked with an aim to make people feel young again, Shivam says. Its products are manufactured, keeping in mind the need to represent the young souls of India.
“At BeYoung, we are targeting the youth, but it is everybody’s brand. We want people wearing our merchandise to feel young,” he adds.
BeYoung delivers its products, including t-shirts, mobile covers, wall decors, and more, within five to seven days across India.
The co-founder also explains the startup majorly focusses on plus-size fashion and combo sales. BeYoung’s t-shirt combos allow users to select the colours they want in the pack.
Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the startup also began manufacturing face masks to help people stay safe. The co-founder reveals that the team ramped up its efforts when the first lockdown was announced in March 2020 and got all the fabrics and approvals needed to produce face masks. BeYoung began selling its in-house face masks starting April 2020.
Shivam explains that while BeYoung got most of its traction from Tier I cities, post the lockdown, it is now recording an increase in demand from the northeastern and Tier III cities.
Speaking about starting up in Udaipur, the co-founder explains that he wanted to create job opportunities in the city. At present, BeYoung has a team of 75 members.
“Talents from most of the Tier III cities migrate to Tier I for job opportunities. Apart from this, I personally feel very homesick, and did not want to leave my home. So, I decided to build opportunities that will allow us to stay in our hometown and also retain talent. Now, BeYoung has people from IITs and IIMs working from Udaipur,” he adds.
Business and more
Shivam reveals that the bootstrapped startup earns from the online sale of its products. It claims to record over 40,000 transactions per month, clocking in monthly revenue of Rs 2.85 crore approximately.
“We are projecting revenue of over Rs 125 crore by March 2023, and Rs 300 crore by the end of March 2024,” he says.
He also explains that while BeYoung mainly focuses on B2C sales, the startup also works with organisations such as ICICI Bank to offer personalised merchandise like company t-shirts.
According to a report by IBEF, the Indian ecommerce market is expected to reach $200 billion by 2027 from $38.5 billion in 2017, and the number of online shoppers may reach 220 million by 2025.
The COVID-19-led lockdown and increased digitisation are some of the factors fueling the growth in this segment.
According to Shivam, BeYoung primarily competes with other notable players in the segment, including Bewakoof.com and The Souled Store.
To launch and operate the startup, the co-founders have invested close to Rs 1 crore to date in BeYoung. The apparel startup is presently looking to raise its first round of external funding within two to three months.
Speaking about future plans, Shivam says, “We are looking to raise funding for expanding categories of products, and also enable offline sales.”