Most new mothers in India are compelled to give up their jobs to focus on their baby. But engineer-turned-freelancer Nikita Jain refused to comply with this norm. When traveling abroad, she noticed how baby carriers/slings freed mothers to do other things while carrying their babies — and a business idea was born.
In 2014, she started a baby-wearing marketplace called “Babywearing Stuff.” She rebranded the business as Klingaru in 2016 and began producing and retailing an Indian-made budget buckled carrier. And she didn’t stop there.
“Gradually, I began adding other products into the portfolio,” she says.
Klingaru initially drove sales through local networking and exhibitions. But today, most of the business comes via online channels – 50 percent from the website, 30 percent from WhatsApp, and 20 percent from referrals.
“Initially, we used WhatsApp to answer customer queries and for sharing order details as our customers, most of whom are new mothers, preferred connecting over WhatsApp rather than email or call,” says Nikita.
Today, in addition to answering queries, WhatsApp has enabled the young brand to explore a new revenue channel – custom orders.
“We take custom orders only through WhatsApp, and it already accounts for 20 to 30 percent of new in-bound business,” says Nikita. “We expect that number to grow more aggressively.”
Klingaru recently switched over to the WhatsApp Business app and has been finding the features useful in connecting with customers.
“There have been times when customers send a message at odd hours but expect an instant reply. But, with some of the features like the ‘away’ status message and the ability to schedule messages, I am able to set the right expectations while also having the liberty to choose my working hours,” says Nikita.
According to the entrepreneur, one of the biggest advantages of the WhatsApp Business app has been that “the business profile builds brand credibility.”
With an annual turnover of Rs 10 lakh (almost USD 14,000), Klingaru hasn’t been just a business venture, it has become an extension of her journey as a mother.
“Klingaru started with my first-born, retailing baby carriers, accessories, and kid’s fashion. With the birth of my second, I am now exploring the possibility of adding newborn essentials,” says Nikita. “Klingaru is literally growing with my family.”