“Sisters make the best friends in the world,” Marylin Monroe said. And she wasn’t wrong. But what happens when your sister and best friend also becomes your business partner? Well, you get a cult brand like Quirksmith.
Sisters Divya and Pragya Batra co-founded their quirky and unconventional silver jewellery brand, Quirksmith, back in 2016. Divya, an artist at heart, was a NIFT graduate who designed for Amrapali Jewels, where she developed a deep-rooted love for silver, rather than the typical choice of gold and diamonds. Her passion for designing modern silver jewellery gave birth to this business where she now handles all the designing and inward supply functions, while her sister Pragya, an IIT graduate with an MBA from INSEAD, manages marketing & sales.
This duo pooled in their strengths and created this brand from scratch, gaining loyal customers all over India with their remarkable and conversation-starting jewellery. Read on to know their story, and the secrets behind their success.
How Quirksmith was forged
Divya and Pragya started Quirksmith with roughly ₹40,000 as their investment, while managing their day jobs side-by-side for the initial couple of months.
The duo wanted to first explore the market to gauge if there is real demand for their products. They participated in weekend flea markets and pop-up events to display their products, and even sold online through Facebook marketing.
The feedback they received was phenomenal, and their products flew off the shelves at every event. People flocked back to them for more products, and started referring the brand to their friends and close ones.
These flea market events not only helped them get validation for their products, but more importantly, helped them build a loyal customer base in real life, who would then join their social media community.
With regular sales and tons of positive feedback, they decided to pick this up full-time. The underlying requirements of a D2C model fit well with Pragya and Divya’s vision for Quirksmith. They made the decision to sell solely through their own website store from the very beginning, and that has indeed worked well for them.
Most businesses operating in a niche segment with unique products opt for a D2C approach. The D2C model works best when a company’s vision is to build a cult brand that focuses on forging strong customer relationships, providing a unique shopping experience, and building a loyal community by communicating their story at a very deep level.
In fact, Quirksmith stands out as a classic example of a new-age D2C brand because they exemplify all its typical qualities i.e. they have a unique product/niche, they sell directly to the customer, they are digital-first!
Because being D2C means that their products go straight from their heart, right to their customers, it becomes imperative for such brands to have their own online store.
They initially chose Shopmatic to build their own website, because it was the cheaper alternative. But they quickly figured out that the platform did not offer enough support to build the website they had envisioned.
While discussing this issue with fellow entrepreneurs, they received a common feedback – Why hadn’t they tried Shopify yet? That struck a chord with Pragya, who had heard of Shopify and knew that it was fairly popular among ecommerce brands, and she instantly decided to take their brand over to Shopify.
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Quirksmith’s DIY experience with Shopify
Pragya, with no prior domain knowledge, built the entire website on Shopify herself. That’s how seamless Shopify is for entrepreneurs who want to adopt a DIY approach to building their online store.
In addition to the ease of use, the assistance from the online Shopify community proved to be of huge help for Pragya, who single-handedly designed and maintained the website for the first three years.
She shares, “Shopify makes it extremely easy and seamless to build your own website all by yourself. The Shopify community forum has been a blessing. I have often found that my questions were already answered on the forum. Even if it wasn’t, the community acted very promptly to help out. The community ensures that you get answers for all your queries, be it in the form of direct fixes or guidance about whom you can approach. That’s something really amazing!”
There is also a comprehensive library of online blogs and guides on the Shopify website that provide regular tips and tricks for brands to optimise their website and get the most out of Shopify.
The platform has proven to be extremely reliable for Quirksmith as they have never experienced a breakdown, even as their website draws upwards of 3 Lakh visitors every month.
How do they sell the quirk?
Quirksmith has found a cult following amongst new-age customers looking for products that reflect their personality and speak their mind. But how did they get their products in front of these customers in the first place?
The brand spends 90% of their marketing budget on Instagram and Facebook for targeted ads and customer acquisition, which has delivered handsome returns till date. Being a one-of-a-kind jewellery brand, they also collaborate with influencers who mirror their brand’s (and audience’s) values to generate better conversions.
According to Pragya, finding the right influencer is about striking the right balance between how relevant the person is for promoting your products while being relevant for the target audience too. Not all customers would have the same taste, which makes it important to categorise the target audience into different segments and then find influencers who can associate the best with those products categories and audiences. For example, Quirksmith’s Musafir range of products, designed keeping travellers in mind, would be best promoted by travel influencers. They would connect better with the product’s theme, and thus be able to promote the product better.
But the intention of all their marketing activities is to direct customers to only one place– their own website store. That’s where the real magic happens.
Quirksmith is obsessive about customer experience and they believe that this obsession is one of the key drivers of their double-digit online growth.
Here are some of the Shopify apps which Quirksmith uses to create a better user experience for their customers:
Judge.me: The product review app encourages customers to review your products, and makes it easy to publish and manage these reviews on your website. Publishing such user-generated content on their websites gives social proof about their product acceptability and helps in boosting the trust factor of your brand.
Swym's Back in Stock Product Alerts: The app serves as the perfect solution for businesses like Quirksmith where the product manufacturing period is long. The app allows customers to sign up for restock alerts if their product is currently out of stock. Such alerts help in drawing the customers back to the website and assist in increasing conversion rates.
Orderhive Inventory Management offers multi-level automation and seamless collaboration for operational activities. It’s like Slack for order management where different teams can tag and communicate with each other for order fulfilment. Swift communication about order processing helps you proactively give accurate and faster order updates to your customers, reducing the probability of delayed order updates that often lead to negative reviews by angry customers.
- WhatsApp Chat + Abandoned Cart: Quirksmith uses this app to primarily follow up on abandoned cart queries, and to assist their customers with their purchase. Apart from these apps, the brand has also used the Also Bought- Related Products app to determine the most suitable range of products for every visitor based on their browsing patterns. This helps the brand personalise the recommended list for every customer.
Another important insight that can be derived from their experience is their ability to stay tuned in to their audience needs, not just in terms of design preferences but also consumption patterns. They regularly sift through the customer suggestions they receive through emails and product reviews, and pay extra attention towards implementing commonly shared suggestions.
In fact, when they noticed multiple people mentioning that they had gifted Quirksmith products to their loved ones, they added a gifting option to their website using custom code. This feature allows people to tag a purchase as a gift and add personalised messages. Almost 20% of the brand’s audience uses this feature.
Pragya also highlighted their referral plan called ‘Quirksmith Rewards’, launched in January 2022 to reward loyal customers. “We don't discount as a brand. So, we came up with a referral scheme to give our repeat customers more perks when they buy from us.”
Like the jewellery they create, it is this attention to detail and customer obsession that has helped Quirksmith build a solid following.
Striking while the iron is hot
Quirksmith has been able to provide a fulfilling shopping experience to its users and has solely depended on its website store to generate all of their sales and are confident of the website supporting their future growth.
However, the recent privacy amendments introduced by Google and Apple are already starting to bring down the cost-effectiveness of social media ads.
“The recent changes around cookies have been a huge wake-up call for business owners. And we’re using this as an excuse to diversify, so we can safeguard the brand’s future”, shares Pragya.
They’ve expanded their team to include a member to drive growth. They’re exploring marketplaces as alternative channels and primarily looking to strengthen their organic efforts and leveraging their community to maintain their brand’s growth momentum, which has been growing at a phenomenal rate of 40% year-on-year.
Ready to DIY online store?
When Divya and Pragya decided to launch their designs, they weren’t armed with any prior entrepreneurial experience or massive funding.
They took the leap of faith and stood headstrong during whatever challenges they faced. Their online journey also came with its fair share of trial and error, but that’s before they joined Shopify. They found a reliable backbone for their business in their Shopify store, which they were able to refine and optimise with ease to meet their exacting standards.
Quirksmith’s journey with Shopify clearly indicates how Shopify readily equips you with the tools, resources and community support necessary to build your own website with little or no technical experience. Loved by millions of brand owners across the globe, we’ll help you start, market and scale your online business with ease.
So, why wait? Start your online store right away with Shopify’s free trial!