In 2020, when Shraddha Barot Amariei and Ayshwarya Chari met for the first time on an online networking platform for women, the idea to build a business together was immediately on the cards.
Shraddha was at the helm of a PR agency looking to explore ecommerce. This is when she came across Ayshwarya, a prolific consultant in the ecommerce space.
Over time, the two discovered that they had several common interests and decided to lend themselves to starting something new, 1115— a UAE-based firm that offers ecommerce advisory and consulting services and helps navigate the digital business space.
“Ayshwarya looks at businesses from technical and operational and that is her strength. I come in for anything to do with visuals and branding,” Shraddha tells YourStory Gulf Edition.
Right away, the two noticed a lack of solutions in ecommerce specifically for small businesses. Solving for this, 1115 today works with family businesses as well as startups and offers a number of services from market research, branding, packaging and printing to tech-assistance, recruitment, performance marketing, fundraising, website and app development.
“We act as outsourced chief marketing officers and chief technology officers of the businesses and exit when we feel that the business is running smoothly,” says Shraddha.
In cases where a client has an in-house team or prefers to hire locally, 1115 works as a collaborative partner. This is where starting off in the pandemic came in handy.
“Businesses realised that having an online presence is no longer a question of if you should have it but in fact, how soon you can have it. They realised that suddenly your retail or physical presence can be taken away,” she adds.
People also became more inclined towards online shopping
A Wamda report titled How COVID-19 Unlocked the Adoption of E-commerce in the MENA Region found that with little else to do besides staying indoors during the lockdown, consuming content, and making purchases online, e-commerce companies had a more captive audience to appeal to during the lockdown.
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Ecommerce is witnessing significant growth in the GCC region and UAE falls amongst the key developing markets.
An area where it proved running this business was a challenge was in physical infrastructure. Not having an office space in the initial stages meant significant expenditure on booking office spaces and hotels for day-to-day operations like meetings.
Now, around two years later, this problem is solved; it has an office in Dubai.
On the leadership front, there are three individuals, including the co-founders. It also has in-house teams based in India at Mumbai, Hyderabad and Indore.
The firm charges a fee for consulting and developing services on a monthly basis. The prices are determined by the offered services and 1115’s involvement.
Consulting can last from eight weeks to five years. The firm usually takes up a maximum of three projects at a time for consulting. For development, they run several projects simultaneously.
1115 also functions on a medium level offering advisory services on an hourly or one-off basis.
Serving clients on a global scale, it has worked in segments like fashion and retail, jewellery, luxury, furniture, fast moving consumer goods (FMCG), pets, food and beverage (F&B), astrology, and medtech.
Some of their clients include Sweero, Hayawiia, TKD Lingerie, Casa Lusso, The O Jewelry, Peachez, and Booktopia.
In the UAE, 1115 competes with Elogic Commerce, QuickStart, Vsourz, and Ezmartech among others.
“Our positioning is unique as Ayshwarya and I have 18 years of experience in doing business in the region,”says Shraddha.
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The growing e-commerce market
Ecommerce revenue in the UAE is expected to register a CAGR of 9.53% in the forecast period between 2023 and 2027, as per a report by Statista. With this, the projected market volume is expected to be at $19.83 billion by 2027.
Shraddha says that UAE is rightly placed in terms of access to trade licences and the overall costing of the same, and nurtures entrepreneurs. Her story is a testament to this.
What lies ahead for the firm?
At present, 1115 is actively working towards the scalability. “One of our objectives is to hire at least one senior project manager so that we can free up more time to take on more projects,” says Shraddha.
While it is bootstrapped, 1115 is not looking to raise funds at the moment.
Growing and expanding across the GCC is a part of the future plans. “We want to establish ourselves fully in GCC first before we outreach other markets,” Shraddha concludes.