The Nestery, founded by Vaishnavi Rangarajan is an online marketplace to help modern Indian parents buy the right products for their kids and themselves they might need during the different stages of parenting.
Helping modern Indian parents to discover and purchase the right products, The Nestery is a one-stop destination for parents and children and offers a range of toys, books, décor, products for parents, and personalized products. It was founded in 2019 by Vaishnavi Rangarajan and was later joined by Aparna Vasudevan after the two met through a mutual parenting group.
They were later allied by T S Viswanathan in 2020 to transform the shopping experience for the modern parent.
Abhishansa Mathur was in a candid conversation with Vaishnavi Rangarajan about her journey of starting The Nestery, challenges, and much more, and here’s the excerpt of the same.
1. Where did it all begin for you? Please share the What, When, & How of starting your brand The Nestery?
By the end of 2016, I knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur in some capacity. Even still, it took me two years to take that leap of faith. In 2015, we (TSV & I) became parents and received support from unexpected places. Strangers came together on the internet to help each other understand this new stage of life. We discovered that we weren’t alone on this road, and more significantly, learned how to be a parent with the aid of other parents who were travelling the same path as me. We were introduced to a plethora of new things, such as cloth diapering, new goods, companies, and so on.
Somewhere in 2016, two realizations struck me:
1. I was utilizing communities as a filter and proxy to discover items and companies in the context of my child’s age and how products are utilized. This is due to the fact that discovery is a flawed process.
2. I was witnessing something unparalleled in front of us. Care and Toys, which had 4-5 large incumbents, were suddenly flooded by new entrants. I witnessed the debut of Superbottoms’ first product. Mamaearth became an overnight sensation.
These two concepts came together to produce the seed of an idea, The Nestery. With context and empathy, a marketplace for helping parents discover safe and quality-verified parent and children’s items that engage the children meaningfully.
2. Can you tell us something about yourself?
I am the first entrepreneur in my family, and I decided that I wanted to start my own business in 2017 after having a disconnected shopping experience after becoming a parent in 2015. Despite this, it took me two years to take the leap of faith. I sought assistance in unexpected areas and learned how to be a parent with the support of other parents on the internet who were on the same journey as mine, and was introduced to new parenting concepts as well as the brand ecosystem and items in the childcare area.
I quit my job at Deloitte Consulting with one mission – to build something that I wished I had when I became a parent. I have done everything to get closer to the parent and their parenting journey and their shopping experience by listening to their needs first-hand. From flipping used-children’s-books at a flea market to cold-calling customers landing on the website, I have done it all.
TSV graduated from IIM-Indore in 2010 and spent nearly a decade working in the financial services sector, and in 2020, he joined The Nestery and envisaged building the brand as something he wished he had when he was a new parent.
3. What’s in the name The Nestery? How do you position your brand?
The name The Nestery is a combination of the words, The Nest and Nursery. We wanted to radiate warmth and love from our brand.
4. Can you walk us through your journey so far? Any challenges running The Nestery?
We started in January 2019 with 5 brands and 25 products. Now in 2022, we have 450+ brands and 30000+ products. The challenges we faced were mainly during the pandemic and lockdown. We had just started making strides and the pandemic hit. We were not able to take orders or deliver them. So, we used this time to build our supply side. Finding the correct brands and choosing the right products we bolstered our supply side. The salaries of tech talent have skyrocketed in the last year and hence, getting good tech talent has been a challenge.
6. What according to you makes The Nestery stand out amongst other brands?
When it comes to e-commerce, we take a different approach. The previous decade’s e-commerce was focused on bringing offline stores online. It was mostly for the sake of convenience. We’re adding a layer of context.
Parents usually go shopping in one of two ways:
a)When they are confronted with a problem, they look for solutions.
b)They are more likely to buy something if someone they know or trust suggests it to them
We use the following two ways to address these two issues:
Our “Situation-aware” catalogue has product information, including when and why a product is utilized, in addition to the basic facts about the product itself. As a result, searching for “taking food outside” yields specific product choices tailored to the situation. This saves the parent hours of research that they would otherwise have to conduct to get the correct product set for the situation. The situation-aware collection was created by studying talks in our community over the last two years, which now boasts a membership of 14,000 people.
Our Social recommendations vary from bringing a baby home to going on vacation to the first day of school. Parents rely on recommendations from friends and family to help them navigate a vast and often perplexing array of items. We take advantage of the power of social recommendations to help parents narrow their buying funnels while also allowing individuals who make those suggestions to make money by building a shop page on the websites of thought leaders who parents trust for advice.
7. Trends you foresee for the kids’ market?
Parents are moving squarely towards toys that are offering more than just play value. This helps in keeping children engaged by using their creativity and therefore improving their cognitive abilities.
8. Your learnings running The Nestery?
Our learnings have been that if given a chance people can surprise you. While hiring instead of looking just at the experience of the person, or judging someone for taking a career break, look for attitude towards work and willingness to work. Don’t judge the book by its cover has never been so relevant. Give a chance and believe in people. They will more often than not exceed all your expectations.
9. How did you get the initial traction and sales? Tell us about the marketing.
Like any other new brand, we heavily relied on Facebook and Google to get the initial traction and create awareness about the brand. However, since then we have started using our content to create awareness about our brand. Our social commerce channel is a unique way we are reaching our brands which are helping us to reduce our reliance on ads.
10. Which platforms do you use to promote your brand? Can you share about your campaigns and content pegs you cover?
We use Facebook, Instagram, and Google to promote our brand. Our campaigns and marketing strategy have been towards creating awareness about the brands on our platform and giving them visibility.
11. How are you using Social Media to promote your homegrown brand? How do you break the clutter in the social media space?
a. By providing good content on topics which are requested by parents.
b. We also use humour as a tool to engage our audience because parenting can be very challenging if not doused with a touch of humour.
12. What is your 5-year plan for The Nestery?
It’s a 14 billion market size of which we want to be at $300 million by 2025, our GMV ready to be$ 300 million by 2025. That is the end with which we’re going towards. We want to be the only destination of choice for today and tomorrow’s modern Indian parents. We want to help them learn, connect, and find exactly what they need on their parenthood trip, all in one safe-warm space – The Nestery.
13. Can you share your business model with us?
Because we’re a marketplace, we’re a two-sided platform. The Nestery serves as a go-between for the buyer and the vendor. On one, we have brands, and on the other, we have the ultimate customer. We have over 450 brands on the marketplace and over 30,000 goods. We’ve also introduced a B2B & B2C layer, a social recommendation channel or social commerce channel, and we operate in a B2B B2C model here, with our brand or supply-side remaining the same.
By providing stores to key opinion leaders and influencers, we can operate. So, there are brands, The Nestery, and an intermediary, such as a merchant, influencer, or blogger and also, they, in turn, promote their storefront to the end client, that’s a parent and this entire experience is powered by The Nestery.
14. One advice/suggestion you’d like to give aspiring entrepreneurs out there.
Well, just start working on your ideas. Don’t just think about it, take the first step and you will find your way.
This talented duo recommends checking the section on Indian literature books and Montessori toys from The Nestery.