Featured Startup Pitch: Aniika wants to bring India-inspired flair to the U.S. fashion market

By Editor September 26, 2013
Meghana Rao, Aniika

Meghana Rao, AniikaBy Meghana Rao, Aniika co-founder

Company Overview

Aniika.com is the only ultra-curated online destination for shoppers in the U.S. to shop for limited edition, India-inspired jewelry, accessories, and home décor from the top emerging and established Indian designers.

Since its beta launch July, 2012, Aniika has been named as one of the top online destinations to find unique, India-inspired products by People StyleWatch, InStyle, Good Housekeeping, Family Circle, Time Out New York, and many more top magazines. The women-led company promises to be the ‘Net-A-Porter’ for emerging Indian design talent, and is based out of Jersey City, New Jersey.

In the last year, the company revenues have grown over 1,900 percent and the site has increased its designer base by 195 percent. Aniika currently showcases over 150 emerging Indian designers who design products in the $20-to-$250 price range.

Founders’ Story

The company was founded by Shamim T and me. Apart from being good friends for well over a decade, we share a common passion for contemporary Indian design.

Shamim – artist and co-founder

Aniika was the first step to realizing that, whether it is a design graduate working out of a home studio or working with artisans to revive a craft, their work represented the soul of India and needed to be shared and celebrated with the rest of the world. With her natural design sensibility and keen eye for the unique, combined with corporate and business consulting experience, Shamim juggles her dual role of curating the site and running the business with ease. She is a law graduate and holds a post-graduate degree from XLRI, India. “I want the world to go beyond the cliché-ridden notions of India and be able to rediscover Indian craft and heritage through the contemporary designs of our new age Indian designers. The affordable art and designs created by them truly deserves global recognition.” ~ Shamim

Meghana – co-founder

I was born into a family of artists in Pune, India. Due to my personal connection with Indian art and design, I have always been fascinated with the Indian arts and crafts.

During my decade-long stay in the U.S, I noticed that there were limited options for shoppers in the U.S seeking non-mass produced, India-inspired contemporary products at an affordable price. Back home, I noticed a ‘New India’ developing—one where products were moored in Indian tradition, yet very alive to a contemporary aesthetic. Aniika brings together these two worlds through a unique online shopping experience. As a graduate of the London School of Economics and Political Science, I applied my management experience and love for edgy Indian design to start the company. Aniika will empower emerging independent Indian designers to think big and believe in themselves as entrepreneurs. That, I think, is the first step to bringing out the best in them.

Marketing/Promotion Strategy

Our marketing strategy combines focused brand building and digital marketing efforts. This strategy has helped us maintain very high website traffic conversion rates. Our promotion strategy has always been about showcasing unique, limited-edition products that cannot be found in the U.S., at competitive prices (while being fair to the independent designers).

Market Opportunity

We conservatively estimate a $5.7 billion market for the kind of products we sell on Aniika. We took into account data published by the U.S. Craft & Hobby Association that estimated $29 billion in the sale of handmade products in the U.S. in 2011 (30 percent of this was online).

How We Differentiate From the Competition

Currently, there is no other online destination that focuses on affordable, India-inspired products from emerging Indian design talent. In addition to making these designer products available and affordable, our unique operational model takes care of preconceived notions shoppers have about buying products online from individual sellers from India.

Business Model

We take a 30 percent commission on the sale of every product.

Current Needs

We are an Angel-funded company and are looking to raise our Series A in the next four months.

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Aniika logoWebsite: www.aniika.com

Headquarters: Jersey City, New Jersey

Founders: Meghana Rao, Shamim T

Year Founded: 2011

Investors: Undisclosed Angels

Blog: aniika.com/discover/

Twitter: @Aniika2011

LinkedIn: linkedin.com/company/2365469

Crunchbase: crunchbase.com/company/aniika