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RAENA’s founder on the outsized impact of micro-influencers

Even before the pandemic ushered in the great resignation, more than one-third of Indonesia’s young people wanted to be entrepreneurs. Maybe that’s not surprising in a place where young founders have spawned billion-dollar startups like GoJek, Traveloka, and others.

Indonesia has been investing in entrepreneur development programs for years. Next to Singapore, the country now has the largest number of unicorns in Southeast Asia.

Today, social beauty commerce startup RAENA is bringing entrepreneurship all the way home: specifically to home-based beauty product resellers. Sreejita Deb, founder and CEO of RAENA, refers to these small sellers as “solopreneurs.”

Sreejita’s startup is the largest beauty product reseller platform in Indonesia. It supports beauty entrepreneurs who run home-based businesses with more than 250 brands and over 1,000 original products. RAENA is on a mission to build Southeast Asia’s deepest and most trusted beauty retail network – all without owning a single storefront.

The company provides sellers with business training and online support. It offers them competitively-priced products via a dropship and resell system that requires no admin fees and no capital to get started.

In a recent podcast, Sreejita spoke with Helen Wong, Managing Partner at AC Ventures, about how RAENA’s sellers leverage social networks. Here are a few excerpts from their chat.

RAENA’s founder on the outsized impact of micro-influencers

The transcript below has been condensed and edited for focus and clarity

Helen: Many of your resellers are active on multiple social channels as well as on your platform. Can you tell us about the interplay between these channels for your sellers?

Sreejita: Building a distributed retail network, we’ve seen our sellers essentially graduate from being TikTok creators or Instagram creators to being serious businesses, wielding serious commercial influence on platforms like Shopee and then taking it a step forward – that is to say taking a risk. More and more are setting up small stores that allow them to reach their customers better.

Helen: How are sellers using a platform like Instagram in comparison to Shopee?

Sreejita: If the reseller is spending time on Instagram and TikTok, they’re basically using these channels to engage the customer. So the logic is sort of akin to ‘let me guide the customer to my store for completing the transaction on a platform like Shopee or Tokopedia.’

Helen: How is the use of social media evolving for your resellers?

Sreejita: Over the past year, 20% of our resellers actually have actually evolved to the next level. These were perhaps cohorts that joined us in early 2021. They continue to taste success with online seller platforms, even as Covid restrictions are eased.

They’ve realized that the lion’s share of transactions in Indonesia are in second-tier and third-tier cities and happen offline. They know that shoppers need to understand more about the product in a category like beauty and figure out what it is that they want to buy. So 20% of our resellers have now opened up micro-stores in their own right.

Get the full episode for free on Spotify, Google, and Apple.

See also: How RAENA ties up with brands for amplified social commerce

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AC Ventures is a leading venture capital firm investing in early-stage startups focused on Southeast Asia. We are a generational partner to founders driving positive environmental, societal, and economic impact. If your institution seeks to deploy smart capital in the market, please get in touch.  

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