Here’s how Jitesh Agarwal, the founder of WallMantra made an inroad in e-commerce with just his savings and a dream
Innovation is the key to thrive in business: Jitesh Agarwal
A trip to Europe changed the course of entrepreneur Jitesh Agarwal’s life. “I was 29 when I went on a brief trip to Europe in 2015.
It was during this trip that I saw the beauty and versatility of wall decals for the first time. That’s when the inception of the idea to venture into wall décor took place.
In India, there was no one selling such a wide range of wall decals at the time. It gave me a good starting point to bring it to the country,” shares the founder of WallMantra, a wall décor brand.
Inspirational story of Mr. Jitesh Agarwal, Founder of WallMantra
“When I shared my thoughts with my family, they were quite supportive of the decision. My mother (Mrs. Shashi Agarwal) was an entrepreneur herself, so she was the happiest when I ventured into the business field,” recalls the graduate from IIT Delhi.
Inspired by his mother and with legendary tycoon, Dhirubhai Ambani, as his role model, Jitesh Agarwal embarked on an entrepreneurial journey.
His brother, Shivam Agarwal, who is a techie and Kundan Lal joined him as partners. It took the trio three months to design the website, create product designs and set up the supply chain.
A newbie entrepreneur then, Agarwal was armed with nothing but his experience in the e-commerce industry, having worked with companies like Snapdeal, Kmart etc, while his partners were well-versed in tech and business development.
The trio trained themselves by undertaking some online courses. They, however, went on to make the brand one-stop home decor and furnishing destination, which is headquartered at New Delhi.
“In January 2022, we raised Rs 2-crore from Fluid Venture Capital. But before that we were bootstrapped,” says the 37-year-old founder of the wall-décor brand.
Agarwal cherishes his days of struggle and remembers every detail of it. He elaborates, “I could manage the initial days of my business with my savings.
Besides, my brother and business partner was doing most of the work. I helped him with the strategies during the night.”
He even remembers who his first customer was and what he did with the first revenue. “The first customer of WallMantra was a lady from Mumbai, who ordered a nice jazz and wine wall decal from us,” he says, adding, “Our first month of revenue went into hiring helps to help us move the stuff.”
Apart from sustaining a new business, Agarwal had to overcome many challenges to gain a foothold in a market dominated by e-commerce giants like Amazon and Flipkart.
He shares, “We worked hard in penetrating the market against the Amazon and Flipkarts of the world. However, it was our innovation in new categories and product quality that brought us out of the price war with Chinese products.”
Overcoming the Chinese dominance was no mean task. Calling it their biggest crisis point in year one of the venture, he recalls,
“Things changed in 2017 quickly when Chinese wall decals hit the market. It was the toughest challenge for us initially, but it proved to be a blessing in disguise since it jolted us out of our comfort zone and got us entering into all the new categories.
Pretty soon we started expanding into more and more categories and became an extensive home decor and furnishing company.” The innovations that helped them make a breakthrough were canvas paintings and wall aquariums.
The year-one of his venture not only brought its share of surprises – good and bad but also learnings for the founder of the wall-décor brand. He says,
“We made a lot of mistakes in the year, biggest one being not having a strict quality check in place. We got criticism for it from the customers and also had to refund the sales proceeds.” They were also almost broke during the pandemic, but somehow managed to tide the wave.
No matter what the challenges were, quitting was never an option for Agarwal. “Hardships and ups-and-downs are a part-and-parcel of our journey. And pivoting and making our way through the crowd of hardships was our motto,” he says.
A friend, in fact, had dubbed their e-commerce venture as nothing but a ‘dukaan’. However, his faith in the online retail industry paid off and the ‘dukaan’ is home to 130 employees raking in a turnover of Rs 20 crore.
The wall-décor brand that ventured on a seed funding of Rs 50 lakhs, received its first biggest investment at Rs 1.95 cr from Fluid Ventures. The wall décor brand now plans to venture into home electronics.
Agarwal informs, “Home electronics is our next target segment, where we want to beautify the electronics installed at homes. We have already started with designer fans; ACs and refrigerators are next on the list.”
A dream and his faith in it to make a mark on the e-commerce world also entailed making sacrifices on the personal front.
If you ask Agarwal the secret mantra to his success, he lists three – perseverance, determination and aspirations.
He, however, also adds a word of advice that he says no management book can teach. “Innovation is the key to survive and thrive in any business,” says the founder of WallMantra, and concurs, “You got to keep learning and keep innovating.”
We hope you are going to enjoy the success story about how Mr. Jitesh Agarwal and two of his partners managed to set up a Rs 20 crore company employing 130 people all over the country in a very short period of time.
WallMantra, today caters to lakhs of customers in Tier II and Tier III cities offering customised and affordable home enhancement products like wall decals, paintings, lampshades, wall clocks, and frame sets among others.
The 100 percent Indian company has managed to stay afloat despite competition from Chinese Giants and make decent profits for all the stakeholders. WallMantra’s journey during the pandemic would inspire hundreds of others to become self-reliant.
The success story of Mr. Jitesh Agarwal, Founder of WallMantra is nothing short of inspiring and prove one fact over and over again – everything is possible; if you have the will to accomplish it! Sugermint wishes to emulate him on the path of success.
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