Started off in 2009 as a direct selling company by entreprenuerial women who now number over 75,000, the firm nets 40 per cent of its volume from modern and general trade sales now, and online accounts for an equal share, co-founder and managing director of Wonderchef Home Appliance, Ravi Saxena said.
Direct selling, but not door-to-door sales, now contributes only 10 per cent of the volume, and the rest come from corporate gifts, defence canteens and exclusive showrooms, he said.
“We have seen our sales, mostly through online, increasing by over 30 per cent in May as the lockdowns forced people to stay indoors and eat home food… We closed 2019-20 with a topline of Rs 300 crore and going by the current volume, I am confident of closing this fiscal at Rs 400 crore,” Saxena told .
Two private equity players, Swiss-based Amicus Capital and Capvend, together own 40 per cent of the company and the rest is held by the founders, Saxena said.
Before launching Wonderchef to promote healthy cooking, he had launched as many as 14 foreign brands in the country, including five for the French food services company Sodexo and an equal number for the UAE-based retailer Ladmark group.
Saxena said the company’s women direct-sellers make 20 per cent of the maximum retail price as their commission. Wonderchef products, mostly mixer grinders and pressure cookers and other cookwares, command a 10-20 per cent premium over products from other brands.
Whether he plans to take the company public, Saxena, who is also the founder of the city-based B-school MISB Bocconi, said they are too small for an initial public offering now.
“We will plan an IPO when our topline crosses Rs 1,000 crore, which we expect over the next five years. Rs 300-400 crore sales is too small to get a good valuation,” he said.
On profitability, he said the company has been profitable for long on a month-on-month basis as it books a gross margin of 43 per cent on average.
Wonderchef employs 500, including 150 at the headquarters in Mumbai. Saxena said 70 per cent of its products are locally made through contract manufacturing and the rest are shipped in from South Korea, China and Canada.
He also said the company is setting up a new cookware plant in joint venture with a partner and will invest Rs 35 crore in the plant.