Visual merchandising plays a very important role when it comes to attracting customers into your stores; and what is the name that comes first to our minds when we think of visual merchandising? For me it is none other than Chumbak; the ultimate destination for the young generation of today. A generation that loves westernized modern ideas yet with a desi and traditional touch.
Started as a stationery and souvenir venture in March 2010, Chumbak can be easily identified by its unmatched collection of art pieces and bright vibrant colors.
Chumbak was initially kick-started in Bangalore by Vivek Prabhakar and Shubhra Chadda with an idea to create bright, colourful and out-of-the-box Indian souvenirs; something that is offbeat and different from the monotonous Taj Mahal replicas and usual handicrafts. “We thought travellers deserved some more options that were hip and still represented India. That’s how Chumbak was born”, says Vivek, the co-founder of Chumbak.
Chumbak is not just a souvenir store now but has eveloved into a lifestyle brand with stores in Bengaluru, Mumbai and Delhi. Indiranagar in Bangalore is the place where its first flagship store was set up. Now Delhi too has one. Other than these there are 35 pop-up stores of Chumbak across India.
Chumbak started its operation with an initial funding of 40 lahks which was a major part of their savings. With time and with hardwork, Chumbak evolved for better and has been gradually increasing their product offerings to stationeries, bags and wallets, jewelry, key chains, apparel and home furnishing.
Chumbak has a very specific niche of audience and that would mainly be the youth of India today; people who love India to the core and would love to flaunt it anyway and anywhere. Chumbak has a very unique way of portraying itself. If you see its designs and arts, you will see every inch of India is showcased in a million ways that one can choose from. It represents something like – we are smart, we are young, we are modern, yet we are Indian first!
Customers always wanted more from this brand and the demand reached its peak and Chumbak from being a souvenir destination evolved into an ambassador and representative of youth-centric India. Chumbak first had its offerings in Modern brand outlets but with immense positive feedback from customers it expanded into opening up pop-up stores in popular malls across the country. And thus from a boutique brand it went on to become a household name in the gifting and lifestyle space in India.
Slowly the designs also started altering and the themes evolved from early India into a more modern and open India. “It paved the path for a more mature design language that was translated in their newer range of products”, said Vivek.
This September it will be the first anniversary of the new flagship store of Chumbak in Indiranagar, Bangalore. This opening of the new store also let to the launch of niche products in the space of home and decor. The designs, idea and concept were all same and were also retained in its new product range of crockery, lamps, dining accessories, wall art and much more.
Like every kind of success has to go through a lot of challenges and shortcomings, Chumbak was no different. The greatest challenge for this brand was to get all the products in one spot, i.e., the pop-up kiosks. As that was the first time that Chumbak got its brick and motor standalone store, it wasn’t easy to decide upon the right model, size of the stores and the required space.
Figuring out a whole new category, merchandising for it and selling it was a whole was a tough job indeed. Vivek says that it was a crazy time but they had loads of fun. Vivek believes, they came out of it better, stronger and with more energy.
Since the last year the brand has seen a steady growth in their online sales and the output has been great with significant additions to their tech team. From a 30 member team it has expanded to a 150 one working across all functions. “In the last five years, Chumbak has registered a 300 percent YOY growth including the offline and online segments”, added Vivek.
Coming to the present market scenario there was a reception for the core Indian themes designs but gradually customers were getting exposed to new design trends from across the globe. Social media was one of the key areas of engaging customers and there was high level of interactions with customers as well.
Talking of the future, team Chumbak says that they are looking ahead into expanding its offline presence with more number of stores across the country. The online presence along with market place presence is their prime focus in the coming year.
“We are committed to building an equally strong Chumbak web store that is high on experience and quality besides our presence on Flipkart and Amazon which includes a brand store on Amazon,” says Vivek.
Other than Chumbak, IndiaCircus and Happily Unmarried are other players in this field. More and more names are gradually entering the market and this is due to the changed tastes and preferences of Indian customers as far as design and art is concerned. Chumbak says that it will carry on with experimenting new ways of designing and will come up with new ideas to wow us all!