Empowering she-preneurs

rupkatha

Dubai-based business, ItsHerStore.com has been built on the principle of ‘by women for women’. It is the e-commerce arm of ItsHerWay.com, the parent company. ItsHerWay.com co-founders – Alita Rodrigues and Armin Jamula, CMO and CEO, respectively – handpick home-grown, small businesses run by women, offering them a platform to showcase their skills.

The ItsHerStore.com platform includes eight categories – jewellery, apparel, accessories, footwear, skincare, homeware, gifting and kids’ products. Across the categories, ItsHerStore.com has 120 brands onboard. Except for two brands from Bahrain and Lebanon, all are home-grown in the UAE.

ItsHerStore.com doesn’t function like a pure play e-commerce concept. The business model is akin to a social enterprise. “It is not a not-for-profit organisation, and we are mindful about it,” Jamula observed. “Having that said, due to the social nature of the brand we don’t charge our sellers back-breaking commissions. But charging a commission acts as a filter to ensure we have serious sellers on our platform. They have to pay a certain charge to get on to our platform and when they sell a product, but that’s not very high when mapped against services that we provide.”

ItsHerStore.com has been seeing significant traction. “Every quarter, from a sales volume perspective, we have seen a 200% increase from the time we started. Our average cart value has increased 50% this year, indicating that buyers are purchasing higher value products showing trust in our platform,” she shared.

“A big reason for our success is a meaningful collaboration with likeminded businesses. Today we have our proprietary backend system, which helps us to scale in the way that’s best for the business,” added Rodrigues. “We have complete autonomy of the data, and it’s very secure. Our platform is extremely agile. While keeping the current site running, we can add a new development phase or a module and have it integrated seamlessly within a short period. Having that said, our partnership with a large company for our last mile had failed. Now we have teamed up with a medium enterprise that handles the last mile for us. Hence, it is crucial to form the right kind of partnerships.”

A self-funded concept, ItsHerStore.com is yet to break even. “We are still bootstrapping, and it will be like that this year as we are trying to increase the brand’s value proposition before approaching investors,” Jamula admitted. However, this isn’t deterring the co-founders to plan further expansion. ItsHerWay.com has already planned the next growth phase for the business by launching a skill-based marketplace, ItsHerSkill.com.

“We are empowering women who have specialised talents, including artists, photographers, make-up artists, bakers and so on. Geographically, the UAE is the home turf where we launched ItsHerStore.com. But our growth plans include taking the concept to Saudi Arabia, where we will set up an operational base. At the moment, we sell some of our brands through ALMALL, and we have seen considerable traction. There is a hunger on the part of both buyers and sellers in KSA,” the co-founders concluded.

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