Rubberfy is an internet D2C company that provides a vast number of silicone domestic and kitchenware, toilet, and private care accessories in Indian houses with a green choice.
Taher Dhanerawala, the founder, has graduated from the University of Mumbai with a degree in commerce. He has been inquisitive about startups and online companies from the start of his career. Also, his family owned a small commercial enterprise of silicone merchandise in Mumbai, however, Taher took the initiative to change it into an e-commerce business.
After spending several years in startups with the likes of Pharmeasy, taher felt the need to take his family business completely online and he decided to start Rubberfy. Rubberfy was founded in 2021 as a one-stop destination for eco-friendly, reusable, and pure silicone household products.
“I have always been pro-environment and a community person. My market research showed me a rising trend – a large part of the Indian population generally uses toxic and low-quality household accessories. Most of our kitchen, bathing, and baby products are made of plastic and similar products. I decided to do something about this,” Taher says.
His plan is to remove the plastic from Indian households and replace it with reusable, durable, and environment-friendly silicone. Rubberfy offers a range of silicone-made daily-usage household products. These include home and kitchen accessories, bathroom and personal care items, brushes and dusters, and more.
Disrupt the traditional model
The founder says that his family business started to lose customers after the COVID-19 pandemic hit the country. He analyzed the problem and realized that the Indian population still wasn’t aware of plastic pollution, its perils, and how an alternative eco-friendly lifestyle could help.
As he was into the family business, the process of initial implementation was easy for him. However, he decided to disrupt their traditional model and opt for an innovative, online-first approach.
Taher says he started with an investment of less than Rs 50,000 – and the costs included setting up a website and other costs. His new business model is the D2C ( direct to customers).
We have a small manufacturing unit where we produce a large number of products. Also, we have contracts with different vendors,” he says.
After the initial launch, he used his contacts and acquaintances to test the products, and more than 80 percent of testers were highly satisfied with Rubberfy’s products that range between Rs 149 and Rs 600.
“I delivered a few orders to customers personally. We got a good spike because our products were beneficial and were daily-use household items,” shares the founder.
Taher says the startup is focused on acquiring customers through word of mouth and organic growth via social media.
“We have acquired more than 100 paying customers so far. We are focusing on reaching the 1,000 mark in the next three months or so,” he adds.
Tapping the next Big Deal
Initially, Taher focused on running the business small while preserving the quality. His parents helped with the packaging, inventory, and other things in those initial days. Since then, Rubberfy has upgraded to a team of five people with a diverse set of duties.
“As we’re a D2C brand, we only spent money on production and logistics. Rubberfy has a gross margin of about 40 percent,” Taher says.
He also added that good manufacturing setup costs can reach up to Rs 3 crore. His team is working fast towards reaching the target for the same.
The bootstrapped startup currently only sells on their website.
Estimated to reach a valuation of $100 billion by 2025, India’s D2C market is abuzz with new opportunities and rising investor interest. There are growing startups in different categories like health and wellness, personal care, and more.
“Rubberfy’s long-term vision is to capture the household product market and educate the Indian population on how to lead a greener life,” Taher says.