There’s rarely a bond as special as the one with your sister — she is your best friend, confidante, strength, weakness, your partner in crime and often your competition. But these two sisters — Srigopika Radhakrishnan and Aruna R Krishnan prove that no one makes a better business partner than your sister. Together, the sister duo has founded That1Too.com, an e-commerce site offering clothing, vegan shoe and bag brands at an affordable price. The site focusses on independent designers and brands that are trendy, environment-friendly and also lighter on the pockets. And from stunning up-cycled traditional jewellery to organic and natural skincare, you get everything here.
While Srigopika, who is the chief technology officer of the brand, has a background in artificial intelligence (AI), Aruna the CEO of That1Too.com is also CEO of the Ritz Group. And despite the diverse experience and expertise, the sibling duo make an amazing team.
Over to the sisters…
How was the idea born? Tell us the story behind the That1too.com
Srigopika: Aruna and I are serial entrepreneurs who run media companies that focus on lifestyle, entertainment and fashion. We of course love fashion like most entrepreneurs in this business do, but the reason we started That1Too.com is to share the thrill of finding unique, stunning fashion at really affordable prices. It is not difficult to find beautiful clothes and jewellery pieces that are expensive. The real joy is when you find something beautiful that you did not expect to be affordable. In our search to find this thrill, we found brands all over India that had stunning fashion which was well priced. Our aim is to bring those brands together on one platform. The name ‘That1Too’ (That one too) is an ode to a shopping frenzy induced when you find amazing fashion at the perfect price point.
Aruna: Born in 2016, That1Too.com has established itself as a destination for independent, and affordable fashion and caters to an audience of men and women looking for fashion that is one of a kind, high quality and best of all, affordable.
How do you work as a team and business partners? Being sisters, what are the pros and cons of running a business together?
Srigopika: Working with my sibling is one of the best parts of this journey as an entrepreneur. Running a startup is hard and it is absolutely essential to find a co-founder whom you trust and one who compliments your skill set. With me focussing on the technology and Aruna on all the marketing and day-to-day operations across all our businesses, we are able to harmonise our strengths and reduce the impact of our weaknesses on the business. There are no cons as long as there is implicit trust in the relationship and issues are discussed and handled as they arise.
That1Too.com calls itself ‘independent, unique and affordable fashion’...
Aruna: We focus on small brands that offer unique fashion. For example, we have brands on our site that focus on vegan handmade shoes with unique designs, brands that hand paint cartoon prints on shoes and bags, brands that take traditional South Indian temple dance jewellery and make it modern and wearable, brands that revive Kalamkari and Batik prints in very interesting ways, skincare brands that are zealous about their organic and natural ingredients and more. The focus is on finding such unique brands but at the right prices.
You work through a zero inventory model. Can you elaborate on it?
Srigopika: Zero inventory model refers to us not stocking products in our warehouse. When we get an order from a customer, it could be for 10 products from 10 different brands. We automatically send out the orders to the individual brands and the items are shipped directly from the brands to the customer. Since our brands are small, this works a lot better than expecting them to stock products with us. We do ensure the products are shipped out and delivered to the customer very quickly.
In e-commerce sector, where big players like Amazon, Flipkart, Myntra, etc. have their own loyal customer-base, how did you manage to create your space and get visibility and commerce?
Srigopika: It is not easy to survive and grow in a space that is mostly controlled by behemoths like Amazon, Flipkart and Myntra. We focus on creating a niche and offering customers something the big guys don’t — unique products. Many of our brands are exclusive to us. We aim to be the name that comes to mind when someone is looking for a curated range of interesting fashion that they can just pick up for every day, work, parties or weddings.
Who can sell on your platform and how do you ensure the quality of the products that are sold on it?
Aruna: We have an extensive verification process to get brands on board. We do a lot of research into the ethos of the brand, the quality is checked with samples and we check what customers think of them already. We are proud to say that over 90 per cent of our brands do not get any returns owing to quality issues. This is testament to the focus on quality by our partner brands and our relentless focus on customer service.