Last friday afternoon, DREAM:IN hosted its first meet-up for the newly formed Dreamers Network Facebook Group. The ‘Dreamers Network’ is a community where local, national, and international entrepreneurs join together to network, help each other, spark conversation, create new business opportunities, provide possible collaboration, provide suggestions and solutions for business obstacles, along with helping other entrepreneurs with resources if needed. DREAM:IN decided to take this aim and host a meet-up, where members could meet and discuss in person. The meet-up was very successful to say the least. Attendees were very immersed in the conversations, everyone input their thoughts, and they even helped with resources that some other business owners needed. The evening started when all the budding entrepreneurs arrived at the Dream Center. Friendly introductions and small talk occurred over coffee. Once we started, everyone took turns with formal introductions, introducing themselves and their company. After each introduction, all the entrepreneurs took turns describing their, “Eureka!/Ah ha!” moment when they realized that they had a great idea and wanted to take it further turning it into their enterprise. Each business idea was unique and different, had a great story, and not even two were closely related. It was very inspiring to hear everyone’s dreams and learning how they took the steps to make their dream a reality. One story we liked was Rakesh Agarwal, the founder of expin.me, who turned his love of traveling into a platform where users can, “Give voice to your passion with expression”, which prides itself to be the “Linkedin” for passionate and creative people worldwide. (Hosamane talking about how she got the idea for ‘Hasovan) The entrepreneurs, continued by discussing what stage their companies are currently in, what challenges and obstacles they are currently facing, what resources they were looking for, and their roadmap plan for the future. Nearly each time someone stated they needed a resource to help improve their business, a different attendee had a networking contact for them to get in contact with. Take for example, Brekkie, co-founded by Ashwin Chandra and his two partners. Brekkie delivers breakfasts to residential and office addresses each morning in and around the Indira Nagar area, Bangalore. His company uses a lot of plastic to package the food, so he wants to find an alternative, but doesn’t want to compromise on the quality of food. Another attendee, Hosamane, who founded Hasovan pvt. ltd, a startup company which provides humorous products and services for your home and workplace to keep you happy and stress-free, offered Ashwin a connection she had, who could help with a more sustainable, eco-friendly packaging option for Brekkie’s breakfasts, which he warmly accepted. There were lots of laughs and productive talks that happened throughout the evening. Everyone was supportive of each other. Ankith Nazre, who is the sole founder and director of Groceshoppers.com, who was more than willing to share his business strategy, business tactics, and marketing strategy with the rest of the group, and the other members were very grateful for his strategies and insights. Before the meet-up started to shift to a close, DREAM:IN recorded a short video of each attendee, having them talk about their dream and their venture, so we could feature them on the new and improved DREAM:IN Portal (www.dreamin.in). Each attendee had a great time, they told us they were looking forward to the future ones, and I think it’s fair to say that each person left with a lot more than they came with. The attendees were made up of five budding entrepreneurs and their team members. Some of the businesses that were in attendance:
Hasovan Pvt. Ltd. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Hasovan/397872023573316
This week, we feature Ankith Nazre, who’s the sole founder and director of Groceshoppers (http://groceshoppers.com/), an e-commerce grocery store that specializes in spices. Ankith assures us that the hand picked spices he gets are only from the finest parts of India. We wanted to learn more about how he started Groceshoppers, and why he wanted to get in the business of selling spices.
Dream:IN: What was the ‘ah ha’ moment that inspired you to start this website, Groceshoppers?
Ankith: To do something of my own was my passion. When we started exploring on e-commerce, we began research on market behavior and how customer would respond and support. We were amazed when we figured out that that people are migrating to window shopping and this sector is currently growing at the rate of 300%. Concluded that it was the right time, it’s now or never and we eliminated never.
Dream:IN: Why did you want to get into the e-commerce industry, and specifically grocery? What was the inspiration?
Ankith: Our interests was always agro-sector, and we had already researched and explored a lot on spices and other specialized crops of Indian soil for exports. When we decided to move on with e-commerce, the first thing that we had in our mind was grocery as we didn’t want to start anything from the scratch again, nor did we want give up on our interest in Indian Agro.
Usually decisions are made on inspiration. This time we made our decision when we analyzed the market, utility, competitors and the knowledge that we could add value to customers, knowing their needs during their busy schedules, we were more inspired to hit the market soon.
Dream:IN: What was your previous experience in the e-commerce industry?
Ankith: I previously was lucky to be a part of the core operations team of a prominent e-commerce company in India. I was assigned to engineer/design new programs, processes, launches and to re-design existing processes for the upgraded business.
This is where I learnt everything from the scratch. I was most lucky and will be ever grateful to my “bosses” who taught me lessons like they would do to their kids. These lessons, the experience of working with such an organization, and my interests on exploring got me here.
Dream:IN: How did you come up with the name ‘groceshoppers’?
Ankith: This is a tricky question! My team and I were working on analytics during our initial stages, and it was around 2:30 AM. We were winding up and don’t know why we thought of naming the site. We decided that it has to be catchy and should relate to customers, because without them, the site would make no sense. Within 8-10 minutes, it struck us that customers visit our site to shop grocery, we call them groceshoppers and thought why should we not name the site also groceshoppers? There were no “if’s and but’s”, we just proceeded with buying domains and things.
Dream:IN: Currently, how many employees and team members does ‘groceshoppers’ have?
Ankith: We are a team of 3 active members and 3 guys working virtually. We haven’t started hiring employees yet, but just outsource delivery/transport stuff only when we are over loaded.
Dream:IN: What makes this site different than your local super market? How do you guys plan to get ahead?
Ankith: Its always time-saving when people shop online, when compared with the local supermarket, which is common with all online stores. When it comes to groceshoppers, any online store, supermarkets or even kirana stores, where we stand unique is we directly deal with the respective society for all staples in various parts of the country; a result of which have assured least prices, at least for now, when compared to other players in the market, provided the quality of the same products are the best and hand picked.
We did not want to compromise on any service factors though we are running this in real narrow margins and this is one reason why we have a 10 days return policy when others have a maximum of 7 days.
Dream:IN: How do you plan to innovate and change the grocery industry? And the e-commerce industry?
Ankith: To be frank we haven’t yet started with it. Grocery is something which is used by all and various people of different life styles and food habitats. We want to give the option to customers to choose the kind of staple they want and of the origin they wish. For instance, a person migrated from the core of Andra Pradesh will love if I serve him chillies from that origin in Bangalore. This is something no e-com industry has done and when it comes to the grocery industry, we want to be in a place where groceshoppers should be the name they remember when customers are looking for specialized grocery including organic products. This structure needs a bigger inventory when compared to the usual structure which is why it falls in our 1 year road map.
Dream:IN: You mentioned something about going into the export business?
Ankith: Yes, exports is something we started off with. We were dealing with exports of Indian spices, dry fruits, coffee and agro of Indian soil(cereals & pulses). We initially wanted to excel in exports and then wanted to get into the Indian retail market. On the ground situation, we foresaw the other way working good for us, which is why we switched to plan B which is vice-versa.
Dream:IN: How many orders are you shipping out on a weekly basis?
Ankith: We are currently shipping out 35-40 orders a week. We started with 7-10 orders 2 weeks before this and we have just started promoting on social media and looking to slowly release the lever.
Dream:IN: Tell us about the spices you sell, how you pick which ones to sell ?
Ankith: We have listed all kind of spices (bay leaf, cinnamon, cumin, fennel, pepper, cardamon, chilly, turmeric, nutmegs, star anise, cloves etc..) on our site. When it comes to choosing which one to pick, we always go with the best origin. This was the way we dealt for exports and are following the same for retail as well.
Dream:IN: What do you find so interesting about spices? What’s do you think is the most beautiful things about spices?
Ankith: Spices are something that needs to be a part of ingredients to enhance the flavor in most of the meals or food, irrespective of the quantity. For that matter, any habitat and lifestyle. The most interesting thing is the way it is grown; most of the spices are grown in the natural way without additional chemicals to increase production.
Dream:IN: Are you coming out with any new features or products in the future?
Ankith: Yes we want to soon! We want to introduce delivery in an hour in serviceable geographies. We want to also display the origin of any staple we sell along with its nutrition as description. We’re also looking to introduce value-added services like getting customers in touch with cooks/maid/chef of their choice for their convenience.
Dream:IN: What’s the process of selling or adding new inventory to the list of products you sell?
Ankith: This process broadly happens in two ways:
a) New product launches with good deals from brand end.
b) On customers request.
Most frequently we come across the second scenario, post which we work on numbers with respect to percentage conversations, the margins, storage, minimal stock to be inward-ed and of course inventory space required. We proceed if numbers are convincing, otherwise we push it a little, on our road map.
When we have a number of such requests we prioritize them based on analysis.
Dream:IN: How do you view the current e-commerce industry in India now?
Ankith: These are yet the initial stages of an online era, a lot of people migrating to window shopping due to which e-commerce in India is growing at the rate of 300%
For any e-com startups, this would be the right time to kick off. Like today’s prominent players say, we also agree and foresee that 2-3 years down the lane people would visit malls just to watch movies and eat food.
Dream:IN: What tips do you have for budding entrepreneurs who are just starting out?
Ankith: New people out there are smart enough to handle things! We would want to say two things:
-Do not to give up, plan for the worst situation which can prolong for two years. People who sustain this circumstance for 2 years will definitely break through.
-Any business would take time for returns. Along with what you are doing, also pick something of similar nature that fetches you money in lesser span and helps you in reaching where you want to be in long run.
Dream:IN: Thank you so much for the time Ankith. We wish you all the best, and hope you keep Groceshoppers spicy!
I recently wanted to add some color and art into my room to brighten it up. Luckily for me, I ran into Amogh Vaishampayan, an entrepreneur from Bangalore now living in Mumbai. He’s the CEO and co-founder of the art e-commerce site, Paintcollar. After I bought some art from his site, I wanted to learn how he got started, and decided he wanted to go in the business of art. Here is Paintcollar’s story:
Dream:IN: Can you tell us about ‘paintcollar’ and what you do?
Amogh Vaishampayan: Paintcollar is a marketplace for artists, designers, musicians and all other creative folk. We enable them to create products like prints and T-shirts with their art on it, sell them online and earn for every sale they make. Paintcollar launched in September 2014.
Creating the products is made really easy with our product design tool. You can take a look at how it works here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U5SHgK_QS94
For every product, we quote a base price. Over this artists can add their own profit margin. The final sale price is the base + artist’s margin.
When a customer buys an artist’s products, we manufacture and deliver them all over India. The artist’s sales history gets updated and at the end of every month, we pay the artists the amount they have earned.
Dream:IN: How did you come up with the idea of ‘Paintcollar’? Additionally, how did you come up with the name, ‘Paintcollar’
Amogh: Paintcollar initially started out because 5 recent engineering grads were bored with their regular jobs. We wanted to start an online merchandise store with a difference. That’s when we hit upon the idea of letting artists contribute their work and thus creating a huge pool of amazing art on a variety of products for customers to choose from.
The word “Paintcollar” was coined to give an identity to art professionals. We have white collared and blue collared jobs but where do the creative people really fit in? Hence one of our co-founders came up with “Paintcollar”.
Dream:IN: Why did you want to get in the business of working with artists? What is it about art that you like so much?
Amogh: We realized that online and retail merchandise companies don’t really give artists and designers the credit due to them. As a result, we were seeing the same old clichéd designs in all online merchandise stores. Really amazing designs were not coming out because artists were not paid enough for them and because they had to give away their copyrights.
My mother and grandfather are both artists and so I’ve grown up around art. Although I’m not really an artist myself, I can fairly say that I have an eye for appreciating and understanding art. I love working with artists because every artwork has a story or some source of inspiration behind it. I like discussing their style of work and their inspirations.
Dream:IN: If any artists want to upload their art to your site, what’s the process? And when an artist uploads their art, do you screen it, or is the website open to any and every artist? You must do a great job, because there is some really cool artwork on the homepage.
Amogh: Artists upload their work using our design tool. We developed it ourselves along with the rest of the website. It’s really easy to use.
Here’s how it works: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U5SHgK_QS94
Anyone can upload an account and create products. We do a check to see whether the products have been rendered properly, whether the artist has followed the design tool guidelines and whether the artwork is original. After that our ranking algorithm sorts the artwork on the shop pages. The best ones are selected for the home page.
Dream:IN: Is there any message or “vibe” you would like to portray with the artists and art you feature on your site?
Amogh: We accept art in all forms, from all genres and all styles. Paintcollar currently has abstracts, pop art, watercolor, oil paintings, digital paintings etc…The purpose of being an art marketplace is defeated if we limit our artist’s creativity.
Dream:IN: So right now, you sell art on t-shirts, laptop skins, canvas prints, and posters? Do you plan to come out with any more outlets soon?
Amogh: Yes, we plan on adding mobile covers, notebooks, tank tops, cushion covers and tote bags in the future. One step at a time!
Dream:IN: What’s your way of getting keeping that buzz going about artists? How do you market current and new artists on your site?
Amogh: We have a team that works on artist acquisition by identifying great artists and introducing them to Paintcollar. Our concept is completely new in India and a lot of artists are distrustful of online merchandise companies because all the companies, so far, were just looking to make money off artists’ designs without duly compensating them. But when we speak to them about our concept and show them how it works, they are very appreciative of Paintcollar.
We regularly promote artists’ work through our social media accounts. Artists also publicize their own work on social media. We have provided ‘share links’ on every product and profile page. Paintcollar has a blog at blog.paintcollar.com where we post about tutorials and the latest updates on the website. Occasionally we also set up stalls and exhibits at cultural events and festivals.
Dream:IN: Oh wow, that’s really cool that you exhibit your art at events and festivals. Would love to come out and see it at the next one. What do you think the future of art is? Because you are an outlet, giving opportunities to young artists to get their art out there, and purchased, which is amazing.
Amogh: The future of art is only limited by the creativity of artists. Young artists, students, even kids these days are coming up with phenomenal works. The internet has really changed things and exposed people to new art from all over the world. We are seeing that in these times, art is not just limited to art galleries, which are extremely expensive to book, and selective of the art they curate. Several other forms of art like pop art and street art are becoming hugely popular. It’s exciting to see where this is going and we wish to be a part of this movement. That’s why we decided to keep Paintcollar absolutely free for all artists. We don’t believe in charging someone just to express themselves.
Dream:IN: Do you think you will ever go into the business of opening up a physical store? Or hosting an art show? Or even a gallery?
Amogh: We are looking to enter into existing brick and mortar retail chains some time in the future. It’s too early to tell whether we can open our own exclusive store. The finance and logistics will require a lot of planning and preparation. We do set up stalls and exhibitions at various events. The last major one was at Bangalore Comic Con in September. We display and sell the work of our top contributing artists at these events and the response is always amazing. There are a few great places in Mumbai that let artists showcase their art. We’re speaking with some of them regarding exhibitions.
Dream:IN: Tell us about your branding, how did you come up with your logo, and the color red? Obviously, red is a big factor on your site, why red?
Amogh: Our goals are also reflected in our logo. It depicts an artist’s pencil, a collar and a paper plane to launch talented artists. We wanted to keep the interface of the website simple and elegant. Red is a bold colour and our creative team did a brilliant job of using it to make the website interesting.
Dream:IN: Did you ever come across any obstacles, joining in the e-commerce industry? Do you have any thoughts about the e-commerce industry in India at the moment?
Amogh: The e-commerce industry is booming in India at the moment. With the mobile revolution, India is a hot market right now, especially for tech startups. We are as much a tech startup as an art startup. Integrating a social experience into your product can really work wonders. That’s why we are working on adding several features like a newsfeed of artists you follow and a notification system for every account. As of now, users can already appreciate designs and follow artists on the website.
The company registration process could be made a lot smoother in India. Despite being such a huge emerging market, India ranks quite low on the ‘ease of doing business’ index. There is not much legislation specifically for e-commerce in India right now but it looks like it will be coming soon.
Dream:IN: Lastly, what tips do you have for other budding entrepreneurs, who are trying to start their own venture?
Amogh: Use your boredom. Young people get bored a lot. They could use that time when they have literally nothing else to do, to develop and validate their startup ideas.
Ease of use and great UI/UX is very important for a product based startup. Your product should be easy and intuitive for users across all demographics.
Dream:IN: Thank you for the great interview and time Amogh! We will be following ‘Paintcollar’ and excited to see all the new art that comes out. Until then, we will post some additional artworks below, that you feature on your site, for our readers to see.
This weeks featured entrepreneur is a group of guys of who started a co-working space in Hyderabad, which is also part community center. I spoke to the team behind the space, to learn more about their venture, Co.Lab.Orate.
DREAM:IN: First off, how many people started this wonderful idea?
Team Co.Lab.Orate: Our space was started by three co-founders as follows:
1. Vinay Peddinti – He is the administrator at Co.Lab.Orate. He holds a tech degree in Electronics from CVR College of Engineering, Hyderabad. An active Sociopreneur, Vinay is the founder and president of an NGO by the name, THE SOCIAL CAUSE. He has been active in the social entrepreneurship arena for 5 years now. Vinay loves traveling, EDM and socializing.
2. Anurag Parepally – He is the space evangelist at Co.Lab.Orate. He is a qualified civil engineer from SRM Institute of Science and Technology, Chennai. Anurag has grown up in several parts of India and is exposed to multi cultures. He is crazy about football and is an active itinerant.
3. Raghuveer Kovuru – He is the community animator at Co.Lab.Orate. He holds an MBA in International Finance from IMT, Dubai and is also a law grad from NALSAR, Hyderabad. Prior to this, he has an experience of 5 years as a finance consultant with the Big4s like Deloitte and PwC. He also runs his own event management firm called Freyja Creations, based out of Hyderabad. Raghu is an avid blogger, mentor, speaker, motivator and loves traveling.
DREAM:IN: How did you guys come up with the idea of creating a “co-working” space company?
Team Co.Lab.Orate: In the world of startups, success is supported by positivity, networking, perseverance and the much needed capital. Several wonderful startups lack the above attributes. Especially, capital places a crucial role in determining the fate of a company. In the era of high establishment costs, rising real estate, cut throat competition and lack of appropriate guidance, entrepreneurship is like entering the Padmavyuha. Discover the concept of co-working and you are better off in many ways!
We realized this problem early on and always wished for a place which would provide all the facilities required for a small time office but at really economical prices. Moreover, networking and interacting with people from various fields is really important for growing companies. There was nobody who could provide us the same. It was either executive spaces or shared offices. We felt that coworking spaces are very rare to be found around us and there was a need to plug the gap, hence Co.Lab.Orate, Hyderabad’s first community coworking space was born.
Coworking is a style of working that facilitates people from diverse backgrounds to work together usually in a common space. These people, also called coworkers, are not necessarily employed by a single organization. The group also comprises freelancers, travelers, startups and entrepreneurs. In coworking, people share values and are interested in the synergies that can happen from working with like-minded people in the same space.
DREAM:IN: That’s great. So what’s the timeline of Co.Lab.Orate? How did you first start? How did you acquire the space to rent out?
Team Co.Lab.Orate: It has been a month since we opened our space. We had to search around a lot to identify the right kind of informal and casual space that kept our coworker’s mind at ease. That was the major challenge. Once, the space was found, everything else didn’t take much time to setup! We started off all the basic facilities like Wi-Fi, coffee, desks, conference rooms with projectors and so on. Facilities were kept to the bare minimum with essentiality as a bar.
DREAM:IN: Tell our readers, why they should rent out from you? What’s the benefit of having a co-working space?
Team Co.Lab.Orate: At Co.Lab.Orate, we do not sell space but rather we facilitate community! We are established on the values of openness, sustainability, collaboration and accessibility. There are and will be instances when we would not be able to accommodate too many people from one domain. For example, if there is already a set of people from IT in the space, we do not accept any more requests from the IT domain. The idea is to create a knowledge collective.
We are wildly different from shared offices, executive suites and plug and play offices as the latter have a very formal setup and force one to work in relative isolation. We have a very casual and informal environment at Co.Lab.Orate. We provide bare minimum facilities and do not focus on fancy interiors, air conditioning, cubicles etc. Rather, these unnecessary additions are replaced by a wonderful community, access to venture capitalists, meeting co-founders and the list is endless.
DREAM:IN: How much space do you have? At one time, how many people can be working in your space?
Team Co.Lab.Orate: We have a lively and active floor space of 2000sqft with spacious lounges, rooms, sit-outs, pantry and a smoking zone. Our threshold is 33 but at one time the number might vary between 15-22.
DREAM:IN: Who are some of the people that rented out some space? What type of work did they do? I’m sure you’ve seen some great projects happen being worked on in your space.
Team Co.Lab.Orate: Right now, we have startups in the fields of market research, finance, social entrepreneurship, event management, e-commerce and education management. We were very happy to be able to accommodate them in launching their products out of our space!
We not only celebrate their individual achievements but also the invisible synergies that these different startups achieve through networking and interaction.
DREAM:IN: What other things do you host, besides just a place to rent out and work?
Team Co.Lab.Orate: We organize regular events and workshops on a weekly basis. The idea is to keep the startup mechanism active and running. An event a year or on a half-yearly basis does little in keeping the system sharp and running. Hence, we organize events of all kinds like discussions, technical workshops, debates, food meets and so on. All the events are free and everyone is welcome to be part of them because of the varied nature.
DREAM:IN: Tell us your thoughts on ‘The Power of Community’ and why it’s important?
Team Co.Lab.Orate: The world needs more and more communities. A community with the right content is the way forward. The power of a community is underrated in Hyderabad. We are trying to change the attitude towards meaningful communities through our CAPS program. CAPS stands for ‘Community Animation Programs and Services’. A community is like a self-surviving organism. Being a part of community helps you in meeting like-minded people from different paths of life and letting them exchange ideas, collaborate and extend mutual help.
DREAM:IN: Can you expand on the the idea of the CAPS program?
Team Co.Lab.Orate: Community Animation Programs and Services (CAPS) is a collection of our in-house programs which aims at providing quality content to our coworkers. Coworkers can voluntarily enroll themselves in programs of a desired choice. It is a program designed with a mix of one-to-many, many-to-one and many-to-many interactive sessions. CAPS has been placed to promote interactions, interfacing and networking. We hold many sessions on business case studies, mentoring, VC interaction, funding, investments, organization structuring, open lunches etc.
DREAM:IN: Do you have any upcoming events scheduled? Anything we should look out for in the future?
Team Co.Lab.Orate: Firstly, we have a discussion session on the existence of extraterrestrial life as part of ‘Co.Lab.Orate Discussions’ series. Post that there’s an event lined up by Microsoft who’s conducting a training session for IT/ITeS startups for their AZURE platform and the month of November would end with a speaker coming down from Mumbai sharing his thoughts on why picking up entrepreneurship at an early stage in life is very important.
DREAM:IN: Very cool events! How would you like to see “Co.Lab.Orate” grow in the next 5 years. Do you have any plans for expansion for more co-working centers?
Team Co.Lab.Orate: We are presently focused on the Hyderabad market. We definitely would love to move to other cities where we sense a bustle of entrepreneurial activity. Vizag is one city where there is lot of movement and we have it next on our minds.
DREAM:IN: If people would like to rent out a space, how can they do it?
Team Co.Lab.Orate:We are reachable on all the major social platforms. You can also just google us saying ‘Co.Lab.Orate’. There is no process involved and sign up is online and instantaneous.
DREAM:IN: And they can also check out your website at www.colaborate.in. And lastly, how we like to end each interview, we ask you guys what tips or advice do you have for other entrepreneurs who are just starting out?
Team Co.Lab.Orate: Persevere and chase your passion! Success, fame and money will naturally follow!
This week, we’re changing our weekly interview series from ‘Featured Entrepreneur’ to ‘Dream Feat’. Featured dreamers who made their entrepreneurial dreams come true. So for our first ‘Dream Feat’ interviewee, is Arpita Sinha, who started ‘Chakum Chakum, an ‘oh so good’ Calcutta-style rolls restaurant. We loved the food, so we wanted to learn more, how Arpita started the restaurant and her inspirations.
DREAM:IN: How did you get into food industry and how did you get the idea of starting a restaurant?
Arpita: The answer to the question may sound very cliché but it is true. I am a foodie and when my husband and I got transferred to Bangalore 7 years back, I was missing my daily dose of Calcutta street food. And Kathi roll is big in Calcutta. There were a few kathi roll joints in and around but they were certainly not up to the mark in terms of flavours what we are used to back in Calcutta. And the perception of Kathi roll in Bangalore at that point in time was ‘oily, greasy junk food’!!! So we saw the opportunity to churn out Tasty yet Healthy kathi rolls with authentic Kolkata flavours. And that’s how Chakum Chukum was born.
DREAM:IN: What are some of the toughest challenges that you overcame since starting this restaurant? Would you say the restaurant/food business is a tough industry to get in?
Arpita: The biggest challenge was to make people aware of my place with out any advertising budget. So I would jump off my car near the traffic signal and distribute pamphlets and jump back once the signal turned green. But I was sure that if people get the taste of my product they will definitely come back.
The second challenge was to manage customer perception. It is a merciless business and you are only as good as your last meal. And that also answers your second question. You have to be consistent day after day every day. Which meant training my staff to be consistent in what they do.
The third challenge was to retain talent. So we had to work out a very meticulous plan in terms of retaining and nurturing talent within the organisation.
Also getting a dependable/reliable team of vendors in Bangalore was very, very tough.
DREAM:IN: Wow! That’s an awesome guerrilla marketing technique. Talk about dedication! What techniques did you use to first market your restaurant and get people to order from you?
Arpita: In fact, there was no marketing apart from me personally knocking on every office door in and around Chakum and leaving a menu behind. Once people came, they brought their friends and family. It was the “word of mouth” which did the trick.
DREAM:IN: Again, the dedication, amazing.
DREAM:IN: Currently, how many branches do you own, and do you have any future plans of expanding to more?
Arpita: Only one as of now. Expansion plans are always there. Every night we go off to sleep thinking we will open our second outlet tomorrow. But it is easier said than done.
DREAM:IN: Personally, what is your favourite type of food, or your favourite dish to eat?
Arpita: Bread Ice-cream:))
DREAM:IN: What or who has been your biggest inspiration? Or your favorite chef?
Arpita: I don’t know about inspiration but my biggest support have been my Dad and my husband who have always believed in whatever I did!!!!
DREAM:IN: In what way do you discover new foods or new recipes? Do you like to experiment while cooking?
Arpita: I travel a lot to new destinations and try new cuisine – specially local ones. That I think is the best way to discover new stuff.
DREAM:IN: What’s the background to all the items on your menu?
Arpita: Some are traditional rolls which I grew up eat ing in Calcutta. The rest we have designed, keeping in mind, the local palate. For instance, we were the first to introduce the ‘wheat’ rolls along with ‘egg white’ option. Sometimes, even people coming from Calcutta get surprised seeing the number of options we have in our menu.
DREAM:IN: Do you enjoy owning a restaurant and starting your venture? What’s the most liberating thing about being your own boss? What’s the most liberating thing about being your own boss? Would you go back and do it differently if you could
Arpita: Yes yes yes! While there is pressure at work, we don’t bring work back home, unlike other professions and I know that very well since my husband was in advertising. Also ‘food’ is a great way to connect with people. And lastly, the recognition that you get when you are in a public place, is great!
I don’t know the most liberating thing but what gives me immense pleasure as an entrepreneur is the fact that I have given employment to people and I have been able to take care of them well!
I can’t think of doing anything different.
DREAM:IN: Would you like to give the address so that people can come and try your great food?
Arpita: CHAKUM CHUKUM, 901/2, 4th Cross, 7th Main, HAL 2nd Stage, Indiranagar, Bangalore 560038.
Call 080 42115536 for home delivery.
DREAM:IN: Lastly, we ask every entrepreneur, what tips and words of wisdom do you have for budding entrepreneurs who are just starting out?
Arpita: Believe in your dreams but be sure where you want to go.
DREAM:IN: Thanks so much Arpita, we will definitely be back to try some rolls again soon! Thank you for your time, see you soon!
NASSCOM Product Conclave / First ever Design Summit #NPC2014 @Design_Idiom on 29 Oct 2014
By Sonia Manchanda
When design meets technology, that’s when the magic begins…
Nasscom’s 1st Design Summit was hosted in India’s Tech Capital, Bangalore at the campus of the interdisciplinary design firm – Idiom.
The ever-enthusiastic Ravi Gururaj, Chairman of Frictional Ventures, opened the design summit by introducing the organizers of the event, Sonia Manchanda, Co-Founder of Idiom, Deepa Bachu, Director of Product Management and Experience Design at Intuit, and MC of the event, Sunil Gopinath and Muki Ragunathan.
The design summit at Idiom consisted of an engaging mix of speakers and workshops that stressed the importance of integrating design and technology. Nick Talbot, Global Head of Design and Innovation at Tata Elxsi, was the first speaker of the day. Nick holds a degree in Transportation Design and his company designed the world’s first hydrogenated-fuel bike. Nick spoke about how his approach to delivering an intelligent product is by putting anthropology before technology. He also touched upon opportunities in India where technology can be used such as healthcare, and how the ‘new consumer’ has an increasing diversity of tastes, styles and functional requirements. Nick believes we need real insights to create great technology and that there are great opportunities in India where an increasing number of people such as farmers, etc. are demanding useful technology.
Using Design-Thinking in Our Everyday Lives, was a panel moderated by Deepa Bachu, and consisted of Sachin Kelkar, Head of APAC Scale Program at Intel, Jay Dutta, Head of Experience Design, Adobe India, Narendra Ghatge, Chief Designer, Tata Elxsi and Sneha Lakshman, Co-Founder, Dig Design Studio. The panel discussed how design thinking should be introduced in schools, and how it could make an impact across our personal and professional decisions. All speakers felt customer insights are an extremely important factor for great design.
Sonia Manchanda moderated the Design Culture Workshop where participants were made to realize out-of-the-box insights, and were taught design-thinking tools and techniques they could use in their workplaces or at home. Participants were asked to role-play a teacher and a student, where they recognized key insights such as students needing immediate gratification and constant engagement for effective and interesting education. Idiom’s design-thinking tools allowed participants to understand the design-thinking process and realize how it is essential to solve any problem mindfully. Sonia stressed the importance of designing effective solutions by having several opinions, insights, learning’s’ in the process.
The Leading by Design Workshop was moderated by two design leaders (and brothers) who differentiated between UI, UX, CX and discussed how to unleash the power of CX (Customer Experience) in an organization. Prasad Kantamneni, CEO of UX Reactor and Satyam Kantamneni, Group Director, User Experience & Design at Citrix Systems spoke to a diverse group of participants from business, design, managers and engineers about the process of harnessing the power of CX in their organization.
Both brothers believe that Customer Experience (CX) must be integral to all aspects of the organization, and that this is where an organization can differentiate itself and build a competitive advantage. A culture of experimentation, hiring strategies, importance of the different types of research – formative, validation and sensorial – at different stages in the business, and a core message of “ITERATE, ITERATE, ITERATE UNTIL AWESOME” were some of the key takeaways.
Design Transforms Business was a session moderated by Sonia Manchanda that consisted of speakers – Pallavi Gupta, Co-Founder of Mast Kalandar, Kaushal Sarda, CEO of Kuliza, and Sudhir Tiwari, President and COO of Thoughtworks. This session covered the experiences of the speakers, and how they believe design interventions transformed their businesses.
Bridging Gaps Between Founding Philosophies and Final Design was a session where two top executives, Rajesh Bysani, Assistant VP Product at FreeCharge.in and Harish Sivaramakrishnan, VP Front End Engineering & UX, FreeCharge.in, took the participants through the journey of their revolutionary service – Freecharge – specifically focusing on the power of harnessing the Customer Experience and the capability of design and design thinking to demonstrate that while detours may have to be taken, you needn’t compromise to ensure a successful translation of your vision. The key message of the talk was to ‘set up your customers for absolute success’ and ensure that the customer’s pain points are central to every aspect of the design experience itself.
The Design for Delight Workshop was conducted by Apparna Ramadoss, Group Development Manager at Intuit India. The workshop used tools and templates such as the NEXT tool, and participants were coached by Intuit coaches on designing experiments. The experiments were then performed on real life scenarios.
Intuit’s main aim for this experiment is to change lives with easier and innovative methods.
Organizer of the Design Summit and Director of Product Management & User Experience Design, eBay, Sunil Gopinath, moderated the ‘Designing World Class Consumer Experiences – UX Process, Methods & Learnings’ session. The session consisted of speakers, Sree Unnikrishnan, Founder & CEO, Design Ventures, Deepak Menon, Head – UX Practice Hyderabad IDC, Microsoft Corp and Pradeep Joseph, Director of User Experience, Robert Bosch Engineering. The panel focused on identifying patterns, deliverables and key stakeholders essential for a successful and effective team.
Co-Founders of Peepal Design Aurobinda Pradhan and Durga Prasad Vemula led the Fueling Innovation through Research led Design session. The co-founders of Peepal Design spoke about what UX Research is, and how it can be best utilized to maximize the success of a product. The speakers covered the importance of research, the different types of research – Market Research, UX Research and Design Research – and when to best use each of them in the product development process. They believe that while market research is a great tool to understand the market and to verify insights with large samples, it is best geared to answer “what” questions and is not the best tool to understand the needs and priorities of customer. UX research on the other hand, focuses on answering the “why” questions through observing real world user behavior. In short, Market Research is best for exploration and understanding opportunities, UX Research is best for gaining insight and evaluating behavior, and Design Research should be used for the actual process and creation of the design. The speakers listed various ways in which this can be ensued from Stories and Personas to User Diaries and Private Blogs, User Journey Maps to User Scenarios, and Interactive mockups to Discovery Design and Finding workshops. The speakers stressed that ‘down and dirty methods’ and quick iterations were much more important than a polished solution.
Why Design Led Innovation was a session moderated by Rakesh Mishra, Director of Marketing at Target. Rakesh provided the example of the Burberry Kisses ad, which transformed the nature and popularity of the business as it inbuilt design and technology. Rakesh believes that we live in a world of equals, and innovation is needed to stand out.
In the evening, the summit hosted a superfast, interactive and engaging track with short talks on Design Explorations. Speakers such as Boris Gomes, Project Lead at Dream:In, Puneet Gupta, Entrepreneur in Residence, SAP Labs India, Muddasir Hussain, Marketing Head, Dirty Hands, Ragini Lall and Ashis Pandey from Quest Alliance and Delmo Oliveira, an Idiom Design Intern from Brazil quickly covered their experiments with design. Boris had the audience shaking their hips to Shakira while Muddasir passed around an extremely realistic silicon-hand.
The Nasscom design summit concluded with a unique session on Lean Experimentation with speakers Abhijit Bansod, Founder and Principal Designer, Studio ABD and Kedar Nayak, Music Entrepreneur and founder of Octavium. The session was moderated by Muki Ragunathan, Founder of Peppersquare.
Abhijit strongly advocates for Products Made in India, and took the audience through watches he has designed for Titan, inspired by Indian architecture, amongst many other eclectic products.
Kedar engaged the audience by playing famous soundtracks that allowed the audience to realize the impact of well-designed music. Kedar showed us how music and design are subjective experiences, but together can trigger objective emotions.
The organizers of the summit Sonia, Deepa, Sunil and Muki concluded the conference by explaining that they organized this conference in pursuit of really great people who could talk and think design.
Idiom Design and Consulting volunteered its space for the Nasscom Product Conclave’s design summit to stress the importance of integrated design and technology.
*Announcing* DREAM:IN’s Dream Challenge 2014
This is an amazing opportunity to win a one of three grand prizes of 3 months at IDIOM DESIGN & CONSULTING, India’s largest and most vibrant design firm.
Entry into the contest is simple:
All you have to do is like our facebook page (this is a must for the contest, don’t forget), record a short video (even one with your mobile phone is fine), and a quick write up about your dream venture. Send it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you make one of the top spots, your video will be uploaded to our youtube page, where it will be judged by our panel experts, the 3 I’s, and lastly, how much you promote your dream on facebook. The combination of the three scores will win the grand prize which would be announced the 1st week in Jan, 2015.
It’s an amazing opportunity for you to win a great prize of getting India’s biggest design firm to work on your venture!
What are you waiting for? Record your dream, write your description and send it over to us!
Good luck to all who enter!