Rubberfy is an online D2C brand that offers a range of silicone home and kitchenware, bathroom and personal care accessories, and more to replace plastic in Indian homes with an eco-friendly choice.
Taher dhanerawala, the founder, graduated from university of Mumbai with a degree in commerce. He has always been interested in startups and online business. His family owned a small business of silicone products in Mumbai, but Taher wanted to bring an e-commerce edge to the business.
After holding important roles for startups like Pharmeasy, Taher felt there was a way to take his family business completely online and he decided to start Rubberfy in 2021 as a one-stop destination for eco-friendly, reusable, and pure silicone household products.
To provide perspective according to taher’s words, “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.”
His idea was to kick out the plastic and replace it with something reusable, durable, and environment-friendly. Rubberfy is selling a range of daily-usage silicone made household products. These include home and kitchenware, bathroom and personal care accessories, brushes and dusters, and more.
Break the traditional model
According to the founder, his family business started to lose customers after the COVID-19 pandemic. He realized that there is not much discussion around plastic pollution and its perils in India. Also, most people don’t have a clue how an alternative eco-friendly lifestyle could help.
As he was into the family business, the process of implementation was easy. However, he decided to forego 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.
We have a small manufacturing unit where we can produce a significant amount of products. Also, we have contract manufacturing with different vendors,” he says.
He used his relatives and friends to test the products and says more than 80 percent were satisfied with Rubberfy’s range of products priced 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,” he says.
Taher says the startup is focused on acquiring customers through word of mouth and growing organically through 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 big opportunity
Initially, Taher focused on running the business in small scale. While his mother helped with the packaging his father looked after the inventory. Since then, Rubberfy upgraded to a team of five people.
“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.
The founder also says that a good manufacturing setup costs would take around Rs 1 crore to Rs 3 crore. His team is working fast towards building that.
The bootstrapped startup currently only sells on their website. The startup also plans to soon launch their product catalogues in amazon and flipkart.
India’s D2C market is buzzing with new opportunities and rising investor interest with an estimated valuation of $100 billion by 2025. There are growing startups in different categories like health and wellness, personal care, and others.
“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.