“All you need in life is love. But a little bit of chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt” – Charles Schulz
Money may not buy you happiness but it can surely get you chocolates which is very close to happiness. For some chocolate is a guilty pleasure, for others it the cure for their broken hearts. With this simple philosophy in life to spread happiness, this Startup Sunday we introduce to you “Flicbox”, India’s first monthly chocolate subscription box service.
Flicbox was founded in 2016 by the young and enthusiastic engineers, Akshay Dipali & Neeraj Talele, who were both 25 years old by then. These guys decided to take a jump into the unknowns of the startup world and in merely two years, have been profitable and have developed a sustainable model. Flicbox brings amazing international brands like Hershey’s, Toblerone, Lindt, Kinder by personally curating boxes and home delivering it to you at affordable prices.
We Thank our very own Rohit Joshi, who played an instrumental part for them in terms of Marketing and Business Development with the startup and introduced it to us. What follows, is the conversation we have had with the founders.
What is Flicbox all about?
We are a chocolate subscription service provider with premium and gourmet chocolate brands.
How did Flicbox start? What was the eureka moment?
We had one goal – to serve happiness and we had 4-5 ways on how to do it with options such as books, games, chocolates etc. We undertook research on which industries would give us better returns, which is essential to building a robust business model, along with achieving the goal of giving the people those “moments” of happiness. We have been staying true to our mission about spreading happiness with chocolates since day 1.
What exactly is the business model of Flicbox? What are the sources of your revenue?
We mainly have three sources – subscription boxes and one-time buy boxes, along with a large array of corporate clients. We also use the drop shipping model for our business which helps us partner up with more vendors and open up more avenues
What are the challenges that you faced while launching Flicbox?
We faced product challenges like melting, breakage, and return of the chocolate boxes. Along with challenges like developing cost-effective marketing solutions. We have hence taken steps to solve these problems, along with understanding what our customer actually expects from us.
Please share something about your experience in disturbing the Indian food subscription box space.
When we first started off, we anticipated that our market is higher middle class and metropolitan cities. But as we grew, this deduction appeared to be somewhat away from reality. In fact, our major market lies in tier 2 – tier 3 cities and middle class and above. What we learned that the price of these premium chocolates didn’t matter. What mattered was the accessibility of these chocolates. We were actually reaching the masses outside the metropolitan for cheap and that actually helped us re-evaluate our approach.
Though the premier chocolate subscription box space is new to India, the space in which Flicbox operates has competitors such as CocoTrait, Bojo, etc. How do you differentiate and compete with them? What other competitive forces do you face?
We are the only ones who are providing international brands in our boxes. Companies like chocotrait have their own brand of chocolates, so it becomes a very different proposition altogether. Along with that, the model is based on “Discovery”, so that the customers discover different brands and tastes according to their preferences, every month.
What are your plans for expansion and scaling up?
We plan to enter into manufacturing our own chocolates soon so that we can expand beyond the existing brands and avenues into retailing.
How did you fund your start-up, to begin with? What difficulties you are facing for funding your start-up?
We have been funded by friends and family in the beginning. We have been bootstrapping since then.
Is there any point in your life when you wished to give up? How did you overcome this challenge?
There have been certain points in the business where we wished it was easier but never did the thought of giving up crossed our minds. When something like that happened, we reminded ourselves of why we started in the first place.
In this ever-changing global scenario, starting up a new business and launching an innovative start-up is a big challenge. Share your key learnings for the benefit of budding entrepreneurs as a person who has been there done that.
Consistency and speed are the keys. We have failed many times but we have always bounced back up with a lesson. Our only advice would be to fail and fail faster. Learn from it, iterate and go out there again., see what works and what doesn’t and use it to adapt faster.
Though not much data is available about the overall subscription market in India, since it is in its early stages, it is expected to be an Rs. 20.1 billion market by 2020 and more and more brands want in on it. It will be exciting to see how Flicbox takes the first movers’ advantage and grow in the coming years.
You can check them out here www.flicbox.com