There comes a time when we all sit down to introspect on our major decisions in life and this came to me with Rolling Cube a few months ago. We had started out in April 2016 as a custom manufacturing startup, with bigger dreams of digitizing the manufacturing industry. While the dream is still alive and kicking, we realized that our approach to it required some rewiring.
Through our 2 year journey with Rolling Cube, we learnt quite a bit. For starters, manufacturing is an industry where there’s quite a big market for B2C, but the supply chain is poorly understood or appreciated by the average customer. This makes pricing a difficult balance to strike. So a little more than a year ago, we introduced the concept of pooling where we put orders in a waitlist until sufficient volume was achieved for optimum material usage, hence optimizing the customer’s price point. As it turned out, patience isn’t the customer’s greatest strength either.
Amidst all this, the bulk of our business was actually coming from our B2B services. We got into taking clients through the entire process of new product development – engineering their product design, prototyping various iterations and taking the products into mass production. A big challenge though was to scale our approach, where we took on any and every manufacturing project like consultants and then tried to source vendors for them. Moreover, our website looked like a very B2C e-commerce platform and our Instagram only went further to support this. The best way ahead for our team of 4 at this point seemed to be to completely split the B2C and B2B components. So that’s exactly what we did.
We hit the reset button and restructured our team, creating 2 completely new brands – Atoot and Karkhana.io in July 2018, diving headfirst into the former. At Atoot, meaning unbreakable in Hindi, we started off with rakhis for Rakshabandhan. Leveraging on our experience with pooling and rakhis last year, we set a hefty goal for ourselves and established a supply chain that would provide the cheapest possible rakhis made of the highest quality stainless steel to our customers. Although our marketing didn’t take off like wildfire, we did achieve a substantial amount of sales. What we gained more so was the intense management skills it takes for a team of 4 to make, sell and deliver thousands of rakhis.
With Rakshabandhan and happy rakhi customers behind us, we are now set to introduce you to Karkhana.io, our B2B brand. Just like its hindi meaning, factory, Karkhana.io is designed to help you access the best manufacturing services, except we do it whenever you want and with no minimum quantity required. In our new and more easily scalable business model, we have a pre-established vendor network, with whom we will get your prototyping and batch production projects done completely hands-off for you. The best part is, our pricing engine can get you a custom quotation within a couple of hours and this is about to get quicker soon.
Karkhana.io’s website is currently in the alpha stage and the beta version is coming out by next week. We’ve still got our eyes on the dream that set us rolling – digitizing the manufacturing industry in India. It’s a hefty goal and we have a long way to go. For those of you who have been with us since the beginning of this journey, thank you for your love and support. For those of you who haven’t, it’s never too late to join the revolution!