| 4 minutes read

4 minutes read

From 25 To 500 Employees, This Is Why Pepperfry Takes A Trip To Goa Every Year

| Published on January 21, 2019

Pepperfry today is a market leader when it comes to online furniture sector, but things weren’t always this rosy. Like they say Rome wasn’t built in a day, no brand experiences success overnight, a lot of hardships and unforeseen struggles come into the play before a brand becomes what it is

Pepperfry is now nearly 8 years into the business and has its shares of struggles that only a few know about.

In fact, not many know that Pepperfry actually started out as a marketplace focusing on fashion and lifestyle during a time when Amazon was not even launched in India and Flipkart was still finding its grounds.

The Founders

With more than 10 years of experience at eBay India as country manager for India, the Philippines, and Malaysia, Ambareesh Murty and Ashish Shah, who headed sales and operations, decided to start up in early 2011. They only had some verbal commitment from a VC to invest $5 million and a team of 6 people, because of their personal reputation built over the years and they just started.

The Early Days

They grew to a team of 25 in just 6 months but the money from the VC had yet not come in and both the partners ended up investing all of their savings into the company. And just when everyone felt, the company may get shelved, the entrepreneur duo did something that took everyone by a surprise. They barely had 10 lakh rupees left and they decided to spend that on an offsite to Goa with the entire team of 25 people.

The Strike Of Luck

And the Goa trip proved lucky for them, and just a few weeks after their return, Pepperfry raised $5 million investment. Energized and encouraged, the team put in all their efforts to build stock, sourcing and backend management. Marketing came in only 6 months later.

In August 2012, Pepperfry was launched for the customers and the kind of response they got in one day is something they never imagined to happen even in 6 months. They got 1400 orders on day 1 itself, while they had expected and would have been happy even if they got 40-50 orders a day for the next 6 months to come. But as luck would have it, they got so many orders that by the end of the day their site also crashed. They had to call each customer and reassure them of the payments and orders that they received.

First Office

For the first year, the team operated out of a business center at the Renaissance hotel in Powai, which cost Rs 4,500 per day.

Pepperfry’s first formal office was a 25-seater one in Kohinoor Commercial Complex in 2012. In 2013, the company shifted its entire focus to furniture segment as it seemed more viable and profitable.

The Challenges

But again the ride wasn’t that smooth, they faced a lot of challenges especially winning people’s trust and in the delivery management. Courier partners often did not deliver furniture right at the doorstep especially if it meant climbing floors and would often leave them in basements which could result in furniture damage. In order to take control over the situation, in April 2013, they got 10 trucks to control the furniture delivery experience. Now they have about 400 trucks and this has reduced the damage to less than one percent.

The Journey Hence Forth

Then at one point in time in 2013, the company had almost dried its funding and this is when the 15 senior management people decided to take a 50% cut in the salaries in order to provide for and retain the junior stuff. The company proudly says that all those 15 people are still there with the firm.

For a startup that has gone on to raise about $200 million over eight years, Pepperfry founders believe that if you think you have the right strategy, you should not change it.

And eight years later, the Pepperfry team – which has now grown to 500 – continues to take a trip to Goa every August. For Ambareesh and Ashish, this is about defining the culture of the Pepperfry family.

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