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An Interview with Ritu Malhotra, Founder of Renomania.com

18/02/2016
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Open Talk @DSIM

An Interview with Ritu Malhotra, Founder of Renomania.com

Renomania is India’s fastest growing and probably the only “Home and Interior Content platform” solving the $300 billion problems of “How to find the right look, whom to talk to and where to find the right products”.To do this Renomania provides a full stack solution bringing curated content (100,000 + inspiring photos), a discussion platform ( 1000’s of articles), community ( reviews and blogs ) together through Web and Mobile Apps, connecting more than a quarter million monthly active users with a high repeat of 32%.

 

Q1. Hello, Ritu. Welcome to DSIM. We are going to talk today about Renomania, what it is, how it all started up and what it has become. So, what is Renomania about? What makes it special?

Ans. Renomania went live in September 2015 with the idea of building India’s ultimate online destination for home and interiors design. The inspiration came both from the personal home remodeling experience of the co-founders, as well as from I and Navneet’s professional experiences over two decades, where so many clients came to them with dozens of pictures torn from magazines or downloaded from the web for ideas about how their bathroom or kitchen or bedroom should look like.

The four co-founders recognized that looking for new design ideas and then finding ways to turn those ideas into reality were huge pain points for homeowners in India. We conceived of Renomania as a one-stop destination to solve these pain points. We understand that it is not just a process but an emotional journey.

Every person who plans to redesign a house goes through three major problems such as understanding and choosing the correct look, finding the right professional to turn that look into reality and finding the desired products, fittings and fixtures. Renomania solves each of these problems.

Q2. Wonderful Idea! I know that ideas are plenty, but going from an idea to actually doing something is the hardest part. How did this work in your case?

Ans. Renomania as of today is a bootstrapped startup with investments from the four co-founders.The four cofounders bring rich, diverse and complementary professional experience to Renomania and that is possibly a big factor in reducing or mitigating a lot of challenges that other young startups would face, particularly in the content business.

I and Navneet for example are well-versed in actual home design process that all homeowners go through. Rahul is a veritable authority on technology and the user experience. Sundeep offers business consultancy and advice, drawing from his experience of successfully starting and running HomeShop18.

Still, some of the early stage challenges for the team are in sourcing great content in the form of authentic, high-definition pictures. We don’t publish any illustrations, simulations or 3D modeled pictures – all pictures that you see on Renomania are taken by a real camera and lightly processed.

We have however made significant progress within the first few months in addressing this challenge. Renomania today has India’s largest catalogue of beautiful homes with about 70,000 pictures in HD quality. We also have digitized the entire oeuvre of 600 leading interior professionals in India.

Q3. Great Ritu. Coming towards brand promotion, what are the most effective ways for a company to promote itself online? What digital marketing model works best for you?
Ans. Renomania being in the Home Space follows the Social Media Marketing model. We have focused on Social Media Marketing and in five months reached traffic figures of 2.75 lac users with 30% return traffic.
We are bootstrapping so Google Adwords was an expensive mode of Marketing for us. We have marketed intensely through Facebook growing the organic and paid traffic.

Main tasks were:

  1. Creation of content including text & visual as needed for content marketing, engagement & branding campaigns as well as paid marketing campaigns
  1. Procuring and using available and free online tools such as Facebook applications, online monitoring etc.

We have used the targeting feature of Facebook efficiently after a lot of research so that we are able to reach out to the correct customer. Facebook ads which redirect the traffic to our site have resulted in immense traffic hitting Renomania.

Q4. So, How does Digital Marketing compare with traditional marketing in terms of costs and results?
Ans. Digital marketing has produced fabulous results as you can see from our growth in 5 months.
Q5. Ritu, What about the future? Where do you plan on going from here?

Ans. Our immediate priority in the next three months is to have the country‘s largest collection of inspiring pictures and our target is a 1, 00,000 pictures, 1000 professionals and the Top Brands of the Country.

Thereafter our only single objective is to be the ultimate online destination and platform for home design with the widest range of inspiring pictures and a maximum number of service providers and product owners in the country.

Our expansion plans or priorities other than this are:

  1. Launch our Mobile App
  2. Improve Discovery
  3. Further, enhance our engagement with the consumers through a Discussion Forum
  4. Bring alive the Product Catalogue to showcase the Products and Brands who have been very keen to partner with us.

We are focusing on increasing the reach of our Social media through more engagement with Twitter, Google Plus, Instagram and other social media platforms.

Q6. Finally, at the end of our interesting conversation, Could you share with us an experience while raising seed funds that may help all the aspiring entrepreneur readers?

Ans. Seeing our growth we were offered seed funding, the source and the values, we would not like to disclose.One thing I would like to share is that every VC looks for a good Team, more than the idea. The execution of the idea and the conversion of the same into a profitable business is the most important aspect for a VC.

“Thanks for taking out time from your busy schedule and giving valuable suggestion to our readers. Best wishes to you and Renomania from DSIM.”

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