BeeLittle is a one-stop-shop brand for toddlers founded by three college friends Surya Prabha, Sakthipriyadharshini, and Gayatri in the year 2015.
When were you founded & What is the product/service you provide?
BeeLittle started as a Vaira baby boutique in 2015 and is a brand exclusively for newborn babies.
Combining traditional techniques with contemporary touch was the ideology in the beginning.
Grand ma’s sarees to thottil (Snugs the baby like being in the womb), Rocking technique gives baby a peaceful sleep. – Hence easy to install Organic cotton thottil was our first product.
“BeeLittle”- just being little. Which is only once in our lives – the phase that is never going to return.
May 1, 2015 – planned to start up a home-based baby boutique in the name ‘Vaira’
September 2015 – made our first product – Thottil
December 2015- hands-on with our new products holding sheet and cotton wrap beds
March 2016 – Our first gift hamper – A customer requested us to curate a hamper, we packed it ourselves with all-white – jablas, thottil, and muslins – we loved making it – packed it in a bamboo basket wrapped it with net, and packed a lovely hamper as how we would like to receive. This order was for about 2000/-. We then got repeated enquires for hampers hence started a new pre-packed newborn hamper
January 2017- planning to increase the product range/varieties under the brand name ‘BEELITTLE‘
September 2017 – our dream had come true just in front of our eyes as ‘BEELITTLE, The Baby Store’. Until then, we sold products from our home.
March 2018 – Started out the online store – www.beelittle.in
October 2018 – the next milestone, our second store at Coimbatore
December 2018 – our first pop-up stall @Miniroo
January 2019 – adding in more varieties of products knot jablas, frocks,
May 2020 – re-open after covid with good hundreds of online orders
December 2020 – website revamp/upgrade – we have eventually increased our server size 8x to fit the traffic on our website- All new website with more product line, with an even more seamless ordering process (improved and easy UI)
May 2021- We now made twice the revenue of our previous year in one month! By serving more happy customers via our website
- Started with 1 product – thottil
- Over the years we have expanded to 10+ category
- With 60+ no. of products with about 300 variants
Our major products were (before covid)
- Clothing – Organic cotton Jablas, Muslin jablas, nappies, sweater
- Newborn essentials – bedding, thottil, blanket, dohar, quilt, swaddle, mat beds
- Age category – Newborn to 1 year was the majority of the products and few up to 2 years.
Now expanded to
- Clothing – Cotton – festive wear, frocks, shirts, dhotis, kurta sets, ikkat frocks, muslin comfy wear set,
- Casual wear – Knitted wear – Jumpsuits, rompers, playsuit, polo tees, knitted frocks, PJs, girls’ top and pant set
- Bedding – Snuggle sac (sleeping bag)
- For moms – maternity pants, maternity pads, feeding apron
- Feeding time – Burp cloth (design to be used as feeding bib as the child grows), drool bib
What is the company’s long and short-term vision? Where do you see your industry going in the next five years?
In the 20B USD market size for kid’s apparel in India, the market size for us – Premium baby wear is 500M USD (3500cr- approx.), and the opportunity to grow in it – we aim at growing 70% consistently every year
How did you get inspiration for the Company? How did you go about researching and validating the idea?
Founded – Three women, aged 25 (friends from college) started BeeLittle earlier in the name of Vaira baby boutique in 2015 with a small-scale setup at home.
Being young mothers then, we couldn’t find premium quality stuff for our newborns. Products available in the market were not up to the mark and we had to compromise much on it.
Although in India we were producing and manufacturing premium cotton/muslin it was majorly for exports and wasn’t available in the Indian market for our own babies.
While our grannies advised us to use softer and toxic-free fabrics for babies, there were nearly no options in the market then. Hence, we wanted to bring in the traditional wisdom with a contemporary touch that would help many more mommies.
The initial growth of BeeLittle was due to the immense support from friends and family, and our customers who spread the word.
With 0 advertisements or marketing spend in the initial years, we still had people coming all the way to us to shop for newborn essentials. Customers re-visiting us for their second babies or gifts, grandparents shopping for all their grandchildren. This was a huge motivation.
All our live products are 100% mom suggested, and mom-approved to best suit the little ones. We aim to continue the same, by providing only what we will give our children, under our brand label.
Is the company funded? If No, then are you open to funding?
As of now, BeeLittle is bootstrapped, But, we are looking for a 25cr funding
How does the product work & What problems does it solve?
Baby-friendly(#Safechildhood) and earth-friendly – The main motive of our start-up is to give 100% sustainable products to babies. All the fabrics that we use are natural. By natural we don’t just stick with cotton, we are specific about Organic Cotton in a majority of our products, where the process starts from the cultivation itself.
We have completely avoided using any polyester or synthetic fabrics in our products. We are very much concerned that the baby’s first products should always come from a natural substance. We believe in that way, we are not only doing good to the babies, but also to Mother Earth.
Our Major bedding products are made of Kapok Silk Cotton, a variety of natural cotton stuffing used from ancient days, which is almost now not being practiced at all. Unlike polyester or recron stuffing, it is very much sustainable and of no harm to the baby and society.
We make our products mainly in white base(esp. newborn), to avoid using dark dyes and chemical-based processing. It is softer for the babies too.
As majorly an E-com business, we use a lot of packing materials every day, that’s why we consciously avoided plastic products in packing materials. Our packing covers are made of corn starch or paper, and we use paper boards/cartoons (although it’s quite pricy than the non-sustainable ones)
What are your USP and innovation? How are you different from others?
New Trends set by BeeLittle in the market:
- Using kapok silk
Kapok Silk Cotton Feeding Pillow – one of a kind
Kapok silk pillow bolsters set for infants
Kapok silk bedding set for infants
Cotton Bedding –
A lot of brands have tried to replicate our core products – we are still happy that we’ve been the first of its kind, and the benefits reach many more.
- Introduced a complete thottil kit
Thottil being a basic essential for newborns in most southern families, setting it up is quite a task for mommies in a nuclear setup. Hence, we introduced a kit that includes thottil cloth, mosquito net, a Neem wood separator stick, and a hanging chain (Chain is not our core product, and its shipping is not essentially profitable)
- Cotton wrap bed
One of a kind newborn essential – 12 layers of organic cotton, with a hood to keep the newborn snug, breathable and prevents overheating
- One-click buys – newborn essential kit – holds almost 75% of newborn essentials, mom will just have to select their favourite and order
Hospital kit – comprises not only the baby but mommy essentials.
Our efforts in making products
- We ensure that these products don’t harm any little ones, – for a simple product as mittens we tried about 40 samples over 5 months to get the soft, snug, and no-mark mittens (elastic).
We held back our launch and paused the product for a while until we finally got mittens with elastic to keep those fingers warm, yet with no strain or mark. Hence the name “No-mark mittens”
- The list of products in the Essential kit and hospital kit was framed by taking feedback from mothers and have curated with utmost essentials which save mommy time.
- Strict material and dye quality assurance and is approved directly by founders.
- Product samples are tested for comfort on our babies and friend and family before the final launch.
- We only select the premium quality in the material category – eg: all our fabrics are 30s*30s constructions – which makes the lightweight cotton and muslin much stronger and more durable than other products available in the market.
- We use combed cotton with long threads to again make it durable, retain premium softness and reduce lints.
What are some of your competitors & what advantage do you have over them?
Direct to consumer, and our products are exclusive to our native sites and own showrooms
What difficulties did you encounter when you started the company & Were you impacted by the Covid outbreak?
Yes, we were positively impacted. Our Growth is going steady since we started, however, the spike was remarkable after the Covid lockdown.
We are growing at over 150% and enjoying the process of our expansion, from handling the increased volume of orders, upgrading to a bigger warehouse twice in 7 months’ time, while we opened a new showroom in Coimbatore.
It’s been a no-work-off for all three of us (founders) and a few of our team for the past 8 months.
Us being mothers we are trying to balance our role as entrepreneurs and as a mom, but the expansion is testing our skills, and we are happy learning and growing.
As a baby wear brand we bring a variety of styles and products for little ones, Sometimes we (us & team) work on a new product for more than a month and it goes out of stock just less than a week, we are thankful for this to moms but testing various products and having to prepare for restocking in unexpected time takes a whole lot of work all over again.
We are happy many test products have been successful in the past year
- Initially, it was very difficult for us to invest time for BeeLittle as we had newborns and infants at home, and with a lot of family commitments as mommies, we had to balance everything which was quite a hard task.
- Work-life balance as women.
- We never wanted to compromise on the quality. In the initial phases, we once placed an order for fabric for around 8 lakhs (which definitely was huge back then) turned out – not as we expected and we had to give it back and wait for 2 more months to get it again. Although we knew it would be difficult that we had invested money and for the next 2 months there wouldn’t be products to sell, we still took a call, as we were okay with not doing a product than doing it with compromised quality.
- Limited funding. As young mothers, we didn’t want to ask our partners or parents for funding our business. We were sure to do something with only what we had.
What are your future plans & launches?
This year we plan to reach about 3x growth, by investing in adding more to the existing categories and new categories.
To expand our product range in existing categories, expand categories, and increase products to upper age groups. We also aim at being the most trusted baby brand in India and in the countries we might step-in in the future.
We also plan on launching more products for moms – pre and postnatal
Brand set up – We are currently exclusive in our direct showrooms, and we aim to continue the same by expanding more offline stores for customer experience pan India.
Being a brand with international standards and quality we are working toward spreading the word to more moms and families.
Current company size, work culture, Hiring Funda
We at BeeLittle are about 70 members team, with over 80% being women/mothers.
How did you launch your company when you had just 0 users? Which channels/ tools/strategies worked the most for acquiring the first 100 users?
Our first product was thottil (jhoola), We are much known for our pure cotton bedding which is one of a kind product. Our Organic Cotton Thottils are most loved by a lot of customers even now.
Our first customers were our friends and family who kept supporting and spreading the word about the quality. Sooner we were serving 1000s of orders organically just by word of mouth