Qn: Why would Kosmix Ex-CTO launch AllThingsCustomized, a DIY platform for designing tees, mugs and posters?

Indian Startups

Qn: Why would Kosmix Ex-CTO launch AllThingsCustomized, a DIY platform for designing tees, mugs and posters?

The DIY (Do-it-yourself) space for designing tees/mugs etc has been done to death in India. Some of the early movers (Myntra) have moved to a totally different line of business. So why would Sesh, who earlier was CTO at Kosmix (now part of WalmartLabs), launch AllThingsCustomized.com?allthingscustomized After all, there doesn’t seem to be a big opportunity in this business (disagree?).

AllThingsCustomized is a DIY platform for one to design tees, mugs and posters and the Bangalore based startup has launched an interesting concept of design templates – i.e. designers can freeze certain elements of the design and let customers modify the rest.  The focus is to target a good mix of B2C and B2B segment – as the demand for custom tees/sweatshirts has continued to increase over the last few years (with corporates looking for standard products and in a way, predictable quality, which isn’t so synonymous with local vendors).

Is this a big market to tap? We asked Sesh couple of candid questions and here are his response:

Pi: Most of the DIY/custom design startups that started in 2009/10 have pivoted to become an ecommerce store. What do you think didn’t work out?

Sesh:  Myntra did this (pivoting) but others are still custom design startups.   It is not clear that this is a huge space to me yet and definitely not going to be a big space in a hurry. However, there is definite demand for high quality customized merchandise both from consumers and corporates and this will have to be nurtured slowly. For Myntra, it was a matter of not a big enough market opportunity for a venture funded company. We are not venture backed and hence no pressure to scale revenues in a tearing hurry. So we think there is a nice niche business to be built here but more strategically for us we are building out a data driven business optimization platform (that essentially optimizes every step of the ecommerce process and are using this as a test bed to validate that).

Pi: Would like to understand more about the design templates.

Sesh:  The idea of a design template is the following:

Many parts of the design are frozen by the template designer and the customer is allowed to make changes to some parts of a design. for example in a corporate/college setting the logo and a standard byline etc. may be frozen by the template designer and employees/students can add their own name, twitter handle, nickname or some id etc. to personalize it.   For example, we are running a contest now –
http://www.allthingscustomized.com/contest/WhoLikesYourLine  is the contest page. If you click on join the contest you will find a poster with a predefined image and the text left blank which is being filled by the contestants.. this is using our template module.

We also plan to use these templates for  a couple of more things:

  • We will be coming up with occasion specific designs which can then be personalized by people (for birthdays, anniversaries etc.)
  • We are creating widgets that can be placed on a smaller real estate in some one else’s blog or web site. This may have the ability to customize by inputting a text or an image  (for one of the occasion
    specific designs) rather than starting from a blank canvas.
  • Plan to use the same thing above to get our mobile site up and running – should see this in operation in a month.
  • Finally we are also using our expertise in building Althingscustomized.com to build stores for corporates and alumni – the idea is that we can sell official merchandise to employees and alumni and reach their merchandise at home although they are not near a physical college or company store..

Launched in April, AllthingsCustomized is seeing about 1000 items a month move at this point and future plans includes getting recycled polyester t shirts to help everyone go green and jackets etc.

Do give AllthingsCustomized a spin and share your comments/feedback with the team.

[This startup coverage is part of Pluggd.in’s 65 startup special series, which is supported by Nexus Venture Partners. If you are a product startup, submit your details here.]

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