Entrepreneurship and building a brand of her own has been Naina Parekh’s lifelong dream.
After graduating from the London School of Business and Finance, followed by years of experience in B2B lifestyle products, she entered the global consumer market in 2018 by founding EUME, a brand that specialises in luggage.
She says, “Consumers are increasingly looking for branded products and I think this is the most exciting time to launch a consumer goods product.”
EUME aims to build a strong core with fitness products. It has six categories that include masks, umbrellas and various types of backpacks. Naina claims its massager backpack has garnered the most attention from customers around the world.
This backpack has four in-built vibrators on the shoulder and lower back, and runs on a power bank for users to get relief from pain while on the go.
Endorsed by celebrities like cricketer Hardik Pandya, and US-based investor and motivational speaker Daymon John, who appears on the reality show Shark Tank, the backpack has also been patented in the international market.
Priced between Rs 2,999 and Rs 9,999, the startup’s products are made at its manufacturing facility at Bhiwandi, Mumbai, and are available on its website and ecommerce platforms like Amazon, Flipkart, Tata Cliq, Nykaa, and Myntra. It facilitates shopping over WhatsApp as well.
Mumbai-based EUME caters to both B2C and B2B demands with a larger focus on the former. Some of its B2B clients include IPCA Laboratories, JK Cement, Hindustan Unilever, Glenmark, Alkem, FDC, and ACC, among others.
To build a strong brand presence and image, EUME focused on robust marketing and partnership efforts.
Its product was featured on Good Morning America (GMA) show and made Rs 70 lakh in revenue within seven hours of it being aired. After rolling out masks because of the COVID-19 outbreak, it seized the opportunity to partner with IPL teams Royal Challengers Bengaluru (RCB) and Chennai Super Kings (CSK).
Launched in the first week of September, EUME has sold over 200,000 masks as the official mask partner.
EUME also tied up with Mumbai-based music label Big Bang Music by designing a special edition of ‘Unbelievable masks’ for Tiger Shroff’s song Unbelievable, and carried out campaigns for masks for Mumbai Police.
“These efforts helped us generate impact and trust for the brand. They have also given us a lot of traction across the world and helped us build a distribution network in various countries,” Naina says.
Market and the road ahead
Nearly two-and-a-half years into the business, which was started with an initial investment of $500,000, the startup hopes to break even by the end of 2021 or the first quarter of 2022.
Bootstrapped so far, Naina says the startup’s growth curve is on track and it has retained 100 percent of its staff members with nearly full salaries amid the pandemic. The entrepreneur is now looking to raise funds for further growth.
EUME claims to have served eight lakh customers around the world.
The startup is tapping into the luggage industry, expected to reach $79.5 billion by 2027, according to Research and Markets.
Sharing market space with the likes of The North Face and Osprey, Naina says, “We aspire to be an international brand across demographics, targeting the age-old problem of weight in backpacks or a hunch due to the same.”
The challenge is not just developing a brand but also sustaining it with continued marketing activities. “It is an expensive affair and one would sink without patience and trust in their abilities,” she adds.
However, Naina says that being a woman entrepreneur has brought her a lot of respect and honour, as opposed to the stereotypes of being treated as an underdog.
She adds that COVID-19 taught businesses the importance of being agile and adapting fast with a presence of mind.
“We at EUME have made much more revenue in the pandemic since our inception,” she says. Optimistic about the startup’s growth, Naina plans to launch several new products in the coming year.