D2C lifestyle brand Zouk raised $3 million in funds led by existing investor Stellaris Venture Partners where existing investors Sharrp Ventures and Titan Capital, JJ Family Office, Deutsche Bank India CEO Dilip Khandelwal, Atomberg CEO and founder Manoj Meena, and Vineeta Singh and Kaushik Mukherjee of Sugar Cosmetics also participated.
Zouk plans to use the funds to expand its product portfolio and invest more in branding. It will also use the funds to expand its offline presence and strengthen its supply chain.
A portion of the funds will also be used to increase the number of employees. Cofounder Pradeep Krishnakumar told Inc42 that the startup is looking to hire across the board, from leadership positions to marketing and sales teams.
“We’re going to do some exciting things over the next 18 months. We will also see our first brand outlets. We will also be increasing brand awareness now that we have achieved early product-market fit. The majority of our investment, however, will go towards expanding our team and strengthening our supply chain,” said cofounder Disha Singh.
Zouk began with an INR 20 Lakh investment. Handcrafted and cruelty-free handbags, shoulder bags, and laptop bags, according to the startup. It has also entered the footwear and wallets markets, as well as selling other accessories on its platform.
The startup also claims to have sold products to over 4 lakh customers so far.
While online sales accounted for approximately 95% of its revenue last year, the remainder came from 50 offline retail outlets where it has recently begun selling products. Zouk anticipates that offline sales will contribute 15%-25% of total revenue in the long run.
Krishnakumar stated that 65% of its online sales came from its own D2C channel, while the remaining 35% came from marketplaces.
The startup intends to open five new exclusive brand outlets in 2023 to mark its full-fledged foray into the offline domain and strengthen its distribution channels.
As per an Inc42 report, India was home to more than 50,000 D2C brands at the end of Q3 2022, with the D2C sector’s total addressable market opportunity estimated to hover around the $300 billion mark by 2030.