Graduated with a BCom from the University of Mumbai, Taher Dhanerwala has always been fascinated by how startups and businesses work. His family owned a small silicone products business in Bangalore, but Taher wanted to bring an e-commerce advantage to the business.
Having worked for Pharmeasy, Taher felt that there was a way to bring the small business completely online and he decided to start.in 2021 as one-stop destination for eco-friendly, reusable and pure silicone household products.
“I have always been pro-environment and a community person. My market research has shown me an increasing trend – a large part of the Indian population generally uses toxic and low-quality household accessories. Most of our kitchen, bath and baby products are made of plastic and similar products. I decided to do something about it, ”says Taher.
His idea was to eliminate plastic and replace it with something reusable, sustainable and environmentally friendly. Rubberfy now sells a line of silicone-based household products for everyday use, including household and kitchen utensils, bathroom and personal care accessories, brushes and dusters, and more.
Taher says Rubberfy aims to eliminate the plastic footprint of Indian households and “bring a greener approach to the use of household products across the country.”
Change the traditional model
The founder says his family business started losing customers after the COVID-19 pandemic hit the country. He analyzed the problem and realized that the Indian people are still unaware of plastic pollution, its dangers and how an alternative eco-friendly lifestyle can help.
Since he was in the family business, the implementation process was easy. However, he decided to abandon their traditional model and opt for an innovative approach, online first.
Taher says he started with an investment of less than Rs 50,000 – and the costs included setting up a website and ancillary costs.
“We have a small manufacturing unit where we can produce a significant amount of product. In addition, we have manufacturing contracts with different suppliers, ”he says.
He brought in friends and relatives to test the products and said that over 80% were satisfied with the Rubberfy product line which is priced between Rs 149 and Rs 600.
“I have personally delivered a few orders to customers. We got a good peak because our products were beneficial and were everyday household items, ”he says.
Taher says the startup is focused on customer acquisition through word of mouth and organic growth through social media.
“So far, we have acquired over 100 paying customers. We are focused on reaching the 1,000 mark in the next three months or so, ”he adds.
Seize a huge opportunity
Initially, Taher focused on running the business sparingly. His mother helped with the packaging while his father took care of the inventory. Since then, Rubberfy has grown into a team of five.
“As we are a D2C brand, we only spent money on production and logistics. Rubberfy has a gross margin of around 40 percent, ”says Taher.
He adds that a good manufacturing facility cost would take around Rs 1 crore to Rs 3 crore, and the team is working on building that.
The primed startup currently only sells on its website.
Estimated to achieve an assessment of $ 100 billion by 2025, the Indian D2C market is buzzing with new opportunities and increasing investor interest. There are growing startups in different categories like health and wellness, personal care, etc.
“Rubberfy’s long-term vision is to conquer the household products market and educate the Indian people on how to lead greener lives,” says Taher.
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