MM Retail Pvt Ltd, which runs the artificial jewellery retail business Youshine, has raised up to Rs 2.5 crore ($0.5 million) from two angel investors based in Switzerland, Ashish Sood, the company’s co-founder, told VCCircle.
Youshine follows a hybrid business model and runs both brick-and-mortar outlets and an e-commerce portal. The current round of funding will be used for the expansion of the jewellery stores – both online and offline. The firm is also looking to open more sales counters in new locations.
Founded by the husband-wife duo Monika Pal Sood and Ashish Sood a little over two years ago, Youshine currently operates around 10 kiosks in various shopping malls in Gurgaon, Delhi and Punjab.
Monika is a fashion designer and previously ran an apparel export business while Ashish had earlier worked for companies like Shradha Outdoor Equipments Pvt Ltd and TrekSta India Pvt Ltd. He is an alumnus of Shri Ram College of Commerce, Delhi, and also holds an MBA degree from IMD, Switzerland. He had used his alumni network to raise the capital for his start-up.
Petter Binde, president of Mustad Hoofcare Centre which deals in horse-riding equipment, along with another investor who manages a French family trust, have invested into the company.
MM Retail essentially imports the jewellery and accessories from South-east Asian countries and sells the products under the Youshine brand. The company’s e-commerce portal is not fully functional yet and a chunk of its revenues comes from the mall kiosks, besides third-party e-commerce portals.
According to Ashish, the company is cash-positive and the margins are fairly good. “We like to keep as less stock as possible and refresh the offerings almost every week. The idea is to bring excitement in fashion jewellery,” he said. The company has recently launched Youshine Girl, aimed at girls in the age bracket of 6-12.
The private label brand is looking to expand pan-India, essentially via the franchise model, and is keen to ramp up its e-commerce offering. According to Ashish, Youshine is driven by impulse shopping. “The customers increasingly see a mall as a leisure zone. Stopping by a kiosk and trying out a relatively low-value item, such as a glass of orange juice or a pack of candy or something higher up in the value chain like an ear-ring or a hair band, is a natural activity in that environment,” he elaborated.
Last month, in another deal in this space, Accel Partners, Silicon Valley Bank (the subsidiary and commercial banking operation of SVB Financial Group) and K Ganesh, founder of TutorVista Global (now under the UK-based Pearson Group) invested up to $5 million in Bluestone.com, an online jewellery store run by Bangalore-based Jewels Online Distribution India Pvt Ltd.