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Making a difference with high-class Made in India audio products – Exclusive Interview with Midhula Devabhaktuni From MiVi

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Carving a niche for itself in a highly competitive market of audio and mobile accessories, MiVi has overcome its own share of challenges to become a known name in the consumer electronics industry. In an exclusive interview with DeviceNext, the MiVi Co-founder and CMO, Midhula Devabhaktuni shares her experience of establishing the brand and gives her insights into the emerging trends in the consumer devices landscape.

What are the factors that differentiate Mivi from other audio brands? About your unique brand positioning?

MIVI is a homegrown electronics brand that aspires to create a difference in the Indian electronics market by introducing high-quality Made in India products at pocket-friendly pricing to reduce India’s dependability on other countries. At Mivi, we focus on self-engineering and manufacturing all of our audio products in India. This offers us a substantial edge in developing customized, high-tech, feature-rich goods that Indian customers demand and appreciate. In addition, our Made in India effort helps us compete in a hyper-competitive market and sets us apart from the competition. We also believe that many more participants in the sector will follow suit and manufacture their products locally.

Every business faces challenges, have you faced any dark or down phases? How did you overcome it?

Challenges are inevitable in life. Since Mivi was the only company producing the audio product in our scenario, we had difficulty finding off-the-shelf talent. Even though we have engineers, they do not possess the expertise in this particular segment to carry out a task. Thus, hiring the person and training them is the biggest challenge. However, every stumbling block catalyzes learning and provides access to our higher selves. So, we began by designing products and securing contracts to manufacture them in other countries. And over the years, we built a strong team and, in 2020, finally set up our manufacturing unit in Hyderabad.

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In the year 2022, how much revenue you are expecting from the audio segment, compared with your current financial standing?

Mivi has been purely an online brand for almost five years since its inception. After successfully becoming the first brand in the audio segment to manufacture in India and produce its products, we have started to venture offline. We expect offline to account for 15-20% of our income by the end of 2022. In addition, Mivi expects to generate INR 150 crores revenue this year, up from INR 62 crores last year.

According to the reports, brands like Noise and Boat are grabbing the market so how are you trying to keep up with competitor brands?

We recognize that everyone has different needs, interests, and tastes, especially in the case of audio. It’s also an extremely competitive market, with several brands foraying into it. So, before we design any product, we first figure out what the Indian consumer needs and is lacking in the products today available in the market. Our products are then custom-designed to meet those needs and preferences and provide the best experience.

Furthermore, our defect rate is significantly lower than the industry average. We are able to do so because we have complete control over the product. Even when a minor issue arises, we can make fast improvements. Above all, our Made in India initiative assists us in thriving in a hyper-competitive industry and sets us apart from our competitors. Since its inception, our goods have evoked a great response from our customers.

Indian audio market registered good growth, how many units of products do you sell this year, and what’s your expectation for next year?

India’s smart personal audio market is booming with skyrocketing demand as the consumer appetite continues to rise. And since it is an important market for us, we are working tirelessly to cater to these needs. We sold 20L+ products manufactured at our factory last year. Furthermore, we expect that to go up to 50L+ this year.

Customer is a big factor in the D2C ecosystem, what is the strategy that you follow to stay closer to customers across touchpoints? What were the tweaks that you had to bring in considering the pandemic?

Consumer preferences and behaviours are rapidly shifting. As a result, we at Mivi concentrate on the product. While many organizations have incredible marketing efforts that consume the majority of their time and resources, the product and quality are our top priorities. Once a customer sees and appreciates the quality of our goods, he will return to us, and we want to be their go-to electronics company. Even though we have well-thought-out marketing strategies and campaigns in place, this will gain us the customer once. If you want to retain the customer for a lifetime, you can only achieve that by making the customer happy.

What is your future plan for expanding your business? And share your expected revenue for 2022?

We’re currently expanding into different product categories, starting with soundbars. Following that, we intend to enter the wearables category this year. In addition, we’re working on new technologies to complement our existing offerings. In addition, we’re broadening our market presence from primarily online to building a robust offline presence to be closer to our clients, better understand their demands, and provide a seamless customer experience. Furthermore, Mivi expects to generate INR 150 crores revenue this year, up from INR 62 crores last year.

Tell us about your manufacturing capacity and production strength.

We currently have 700+ people working at Mivi’s manufacturing unit, and all our audio products are made right here. At present, women make up 85% of Mivi’s workforce, and we are incredibly proud to provide them with the ability to shape their own identities.

In addition, we are now constructing a new 10L square feet factory in Hyderabad. This will enable us to boost our manufacturing capacity ten-fold. And also help us in generating employment for 3000+ people. Furthermore, we will invest in a second factory in phase 2, which is in the planning stages. Besides this, we are looking into numerous cities to see which one would be the best fit for this expansion.

Did you face any challenges due to component shortages? If yes, how are you managing?

Initially, we attempted to establish a manufacturing unit and manufacture products in India. However, after a while, we realized that there isn’t another company manufacturing in this space in India, so finding talent to recruit wasn’t easy. As a result, we began designing products and getting products contracts manufactured in other countries. And with our persistence and dedication over the years, we built a strong team. And in 2020, finally, we set up our manufacturing unit in Hyderabad. The hard work pays off, and this adage is true in our case. We started with a single production line and 50 employees. Today, I am glad to state that Mivi’s manufacturing unit employs over 700+ people, and all of our audio products are manufactured in-house.

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