Indian female entrepreneur shares her journey of success with Alibaba.com
1) What products does Annu Enterprises sell and who are your customers?
My firm designs premier clothes for many boutiques and celebrities in India. At the same time, we are creating a drive to make fashionable clothing affordable for all spectrums of the world as per their need. We believe that fashion is customizable, unique, and suited to every individual differently. We want to provide that cushion to all our customers. Today we have around 3500+ premium products posted on Alibaba.com and we have customers from the UK, the USA, Australia, Canada, and other gulf countries. We serve boutique owners, shopkeepers, designers who want to manufacture products from us and also to retail clients.
2) How did you get into this business and how did the association with Alibaba help your cause?
I always had an interest and strength in apparel and designing. Also, coming from a business background, I learned the tips and tricks of the game in my father’s shop after school hours. After gaining practical experience in a fashion house after studies, I was confident to start my own business where I saw an opportunity to design traditional handwork & handcrafted ethnic wear as customizable as possible. All I wanted was a quick start to get like-minded customers from the world who would appreciate our work. Then we did a lot of research and finally zeroed down on Alibaba.com as the best platform to reach a global audience with a minimal initial investment.
3) How has been the journey with Alibaba so far?
It seems so long and yet like yesterday. We have been gold members with Alibaba.com for 8+ years already. I would like to give credit to our growth from a small boutique house in my backyard to a 75+ employee organization to Alibaba.com. With the help of Alibaba.com, we are able to sell our products in 15+ countries today and generate an average yearly revenue of USD $50000. Almost all our online business and export business (>90%) comes through Alibaba.com. That is the only platform we use and we are quite content with it.
4) How did you learn about the platform after joining and when did you get your first order from the platform?
We were quite new to online business and thanks to our channel partner TDI, we got initial training to navigate and get good results from the platform. We worked hard and followed the instructions diligently. We kept our efforts straightforward. We started posting all our products at once and then tried to use the right keywords that customers were searching (with the help of Alibaba keyword analytics and help from channel partner TDI). We got the first inquiry in 2 days and that gave us a lot of confidence. We received our first order in 2 months and it has only been growing since then. Today, we have 5 dedicated staff looking after our Alibaba gold account only.
5) What is the best feature of Alibaba that you like and that has worked best for you?
I like the language translator feature the most. Many of our buyers don’t speak the same language as us but that has never stopped us from doing business with each other. Alibaba.com language translator has broken that big barrier and now we can easily communicate with buyers from all over the world and the business has become very fluid because of that.
6) What would your recommendation be for the upcoming sellers who are joining Alibaba.com to take their business global?
I would like to pass on five insights that have worked for us over the years and that we learned as we moved forward-
a) Customer service- Respond to customers as timely and as clearly as possible. Respond to all their queries clearly and directly.
b) RFQ- We always make sure that we respond to the RFQs and finish our monthly quota. That is the best way to get genuine buyers.
c) Listing- List your products as clearly as possible (product description and product images)
d) Product showcase- Take advantage of product showcase features and always change it time so that your premium products get the necessary boost and visibility.
e) Business review- Always have a meeting with your channel partners at least once a week and take feedback on the performance of your platform. Understand the improvement areas and keep working to make them better.
7) How do you feel about globalizing your business from a small city in India?
My entire vision towards globalization can be summarized in one word “Alibaba”. Since the day I joined Alibaba, my goal of taking my business global is truly achieved. I personally connect with the vision of Alibaba to help anyone in the world do business anywhere. Through technology and digitalization, today, I am reaching out to a global audience from different countries and cultures and understanding their requirements. Through my products, I share a part of my culture with them and create a beautiful amalgamation of thoughts, cultures, and tastes. Together we are creating amazing fashion each day, thus making the world smaller and a more beautiful place.