Sharad Venkta, Managing Director & CEO, Toonz Retail (Credits - India Retailing)

Shopping is often tedious. Especially when it comes to shopping for your child. Children are choosy and they often tend to move from one shop to another before finally deciding what they want.

Though several e-commerce marketplaces and shopping websites have brought about more ease, there is nothing like physically visiting a store and getting a sense of touch before your kid selects an item.

There is a huge gap in catering to kids in India. Kids change clothes 5 times a day starting from school uniform in the morning to pyjamas in the night.

Understanding the huge potential of the market Ankur Agarwal and Sharad Venkata founded Toonz Retail in 2010 in Bengaluru. Toonz Retail is a multi-store brand that sells everything parents needs for their children.

It all started with a problem. When Sharad and his wife had their first child, they roamed place to place to find essentials for their child. And this was the time when Sharad got the idea to open a one-stop shopping destination for parents to come and find everything their child needs.

Without any delay, he shared the idea and his business plan with Ankur Agarwal. Sharad’s friend Ankur was into pesticides business at that time. However, after carefully listening to the business idea, Ankur found it interesting enough to invest in and give it a try. The duo teamed up and started Toonz Retail.

toonz retail
Credits – ET Retail

They started their first retail store in Bengaluru in 2010 with an initial investment of ₹10 crores from Ankur Agarwal. The brand now operates more than 100 outlets across India and caters to all needs and occasions for children aged 0-12 years.

Each store is packed with more than 3,000 products including fashion, kids fashion, kids essentials, accessories, baby care, hard goods and toys. The company has reached heights and currently records an annual turnover of more than ₹100 crores.

During their initial days, the duo started with licensed merchandise and brought in products with Disney, Ben 10 and Dora characters in a 1,000 sq ft store. Slowly and steadily, they expanded and created a one-stop shop by adding more products.

Currently, Toonz Retail operates two in-house brands – WOWMOM and Superyoung. WOWMOM caters to newborns and toddlers whereas Superyoung is a fashion line for kids between the age of three to twelve years.

toonz retail
Credits – Indian Retailer

Apart from the Toonz Retail stores, the startup sells its flagship products at more than 300 counters across the country. With a team of designers, the startup designs and launches 400 styles every season.

Once the design is ready, it is sent to their partner factories who work with them on a contract basis and manufactures the product line for them. And for your info, Toonz Retail does not own any manufacturing units.

The reason is simple. Since the clothes and trends change with the season, the new products require different manufacturing process and machinery. It is not feasible for them to start a factory and change machinery every season. The hard goods like toys and other accessories are imported directly from China.

toonz retail
Credits – Google

Starting a company is a different thing, but scaling the same is a completely different aspect and it comes with its own set of challenges. The rent for the brick-and-mortar store was a tough obstacle as it varied depending on markets and locations.

Toonz Retail operates on a franchise model and franchise-driven business depends on the selection of right partners. However, it is clear that Sharad and Ankur had overcome all the challenges and bootstrapped the company to new heights.

Toonz Retail also sells its products online on e-commerce platforms like Flipkart and Amazon. The products of their brands Superyoung and WOWMOM are also available on their own website to be purchased online. However, they don’t focus much on online efforts as much as they focus on the offline business model.

Toonz Retail also exports its clothing lines to several countries including Mauritius, Saudi Arabia, Papua New Guinea, Fiji and Nepal. The startup operates franchise-driven stores across 60 cities in India including Jodhpur, Patiala, Chennai, Kanpur, Solapur and Lucknow.

Sharad and Ankur have plans to expand Toonz Retail’s presence to ‘large format stores’ by focusing on Tier II and Tier III cities. The startup is focused on increasing its presence in existing cities as well as opening new stores in multiple cities.

So, what do you learn from their journey? Do tell us in the comments.


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