Just over a year old, Haryana-based Hammer founded by Rohit Nandwani has streamlined its product range keeping with the shift to wireless audio tech. It is now focused on strengthening its D2C game.
Rohit Nandwani is a fast learner and keeps his ear to the ground.
In the five years since graduating from Christ University, Rohit has worked with learning network startup UrbanPro for about a year; started Ringtel Marketing, an electronics accessories distributor of top brands such as Bose, Sony and Samsung in 2016; and launched his own audio tech athleisure brand, Hammer, in 2019. The brand has doubled its turnover in just the second year of its existence.
How did Rohit chart this impressive course with Hammer?
He sensed early on that there was space for a private label in the wireless audio devices market. Two market developments caught his attention: Apple launching AirPods and several mobile phone brands discontinuing the practice of offering earphones that are plugged to handsets.
Rohit’s father had saved up for his MBA. The son decided to use it instead to launch his business. With Rs 30 lakh, Rohit started Hammer in Haryana.
Attuned to the market
Hammer started out with audio devices in various categories: earphones, headphones, home audio devices et al. But it soon streamlined its offerings.
“We were in the general audio category. But we realised we wanted to be specialists and not generalists,” Rohit tells SMBStory.
At present, Hammer makes wireless audio devices including headphones and earphones, as well as fitness bands.
“TWS (True Wireless Stereo) is the core of our business on which we are focusing our entire energy. It is also the fastest growing vertical in the audio segment,” says Rohit.
Hammer’s products are priced in the Rs 999-Rs 3,999 range.
The research and development of products happens in-house, while the manufacturing takes place in India and abroad. Manufacturing units near Manesar and Panipat account for 20 percent of the production, the rest coming from units in Germany, Taiwan, Estonia and Vietnam.
Hammer recorded a turnover of Rs 6 crore in FY20, which has doubled to Rs 12 crore so far in the current fiscal. It expects to close out FY21 with Rs 16-18 crore in turnover.
Challenges in building a D2C brand
Initially, “everything was a challenge”, says Rohit—whether it was getting the product right or dealing with customers.
Cutthroat competition is another pressing challenge, he says. “The technology is advancing really fast. Moreover, people are pumping huge money, which is pushing the industry even more. Therefore, we have to be agile all the time. We cannot take a backseat even for a moment.”