We encouraged customers to shop from our website with coupons and offers. Moving to a website from WhatsApp was important for us to efficiently manage the orders, and soon people started ordering from the ecommerce website. The order value also went up with the website as people saw a lot more products that they would have otherwise missed in the WhatsApp model. Now even the order volume has gone up.
- Kirti Yadav
KukClean is a plant-based specialty store. Started by Kirti Yadav and Akar Misra, it sells vegan products with a focus on health, clean labels, and sustainability.
The arrival of Kirti's daughter in the world made Kirti more conscious about eating clean and healthy. She started a Facebook group where female entrepreneurs connected to sell their products while discussing healthy eating. Kirti tried running a business on Facebook, but it didn't last long. In January 2021, Kirti and Akar started KuKClean after it got incubated at the NSRCEL Cell of the Indian Institute of Management in Bangalore, India, where they were mentored on getting started.
Having started in their apartment in Bangalore, Kirti ran her business on WhatsApp. "The usual notion is that healthy food is not tasty," Kriti says. "We wanted to say that it is easy to live a healthy life and not eat boring food." With the pandemic, there was a great deal of awareness among people about eating healthy, but Kirti wanted to drive home the fact that this had to be beyond what we ate and drank. "It's about our lifestyle as a whole. Today, people want to walk down this path. KuKClean handholds them into the process by telling them the how, why, and where of adapting a healthy lifestyle."
In the NSRCEL Cell they got to know about Zoho Books and later Zoho Commerce. For the first six months of their business, Kirti used WhatsApp to get orders from the customers. Many of the customers were also personally known to her.
"We used Google Forms initially," she says. "We didn't have many products then, so it worked." But the volume was increasing, so a more holistic solution was needed.
Solution and Benefits
"In March 2021, we began using Zoho Books, and in July 2021, we launched our ecommerce store on Zoho Commerce," Kirti says. "We didn't go through any other platform since we were already comfortable with Zoho and had been introduced to it. The integration of Commerce with Books also made things easy for us." Kirti photographed the products herself, as well as handling the website content. In a month, the ecommerce store was up and running.
The switch to a website did not happen without some hiccups. Kirti says the older customers had gotten used to ordering on WhatsApp and continued doing the same. "We encouraged customers to shop from our website with coupons and offers. Moving to a website from WhatsApp was important for us to efficiently manage the orders, and soon people started ordering from the ecommerce website. The order value also went up with the website as people saw a lot more products that they would have otherwise missed in the WhatsApp model. Now even the order volume has gone up." During the festive season, KuKClean also got many corporate orders.
KuKClean caters to the booming vegan market. Being a certified plant-based nutritionist, Kirti ensures none of the products come with preservatives or chemicals. "There are no ingredients which we don't understand," she says. "For instance, when we say natural flavors, it is a dicey word as it is still not clear where the flavor is coming from, so we desist from using such terms. Our products come with clean labels." Kriti also organizes workshops to educate consumers about clean eating, veganism, and simple, tasty recipes.
"When we say vegan, it does not imply it is expensive. A lot of dishes in traditional Indian cuisine are vegan or can easily be made the vegan way. For instance, people are often surprised to know that peanut curd is cheaper than organic curd. Veganism is only how expensive you want to make it to be."
The ease of using Zoho is a big attraction for KuKClean co-founder, Akar Misra. "The integrations are easy, simple, and you get started with it in no time," he says. "You can manage the store yourself without any technical expertise. Switching to Zoho made our work easier. We are still trying to find ways to make things better."
The Road Ahead
Kirit says she and Akar have an ambitious roadmap for KuKClean. "In another five years, we would like to establish ourselves as a renowned plant-based clean label ecommerce website. People who are desirous of living a healthy life should know about KuKClean so that we can educate them about clean eating."
Check out the ecommerce store of KuKClean here.