To any entrepreneur: if you want to do it, do it now. If you don’t, you’re going to regret it.
– Catherine Cook, co-founder of MyYearbook.
When Catherine told this she may not have meant anybody in particular. But the mantra aptly describes the psyche of the founders of CraftKhana, six students of PGP 2017 batch of IIM Kashipur. Not wanting to commit the mistake of not doing something they wanted to do when the time was ripe and waiting for things to happen, they made things happen. The result was an online platform for home décor and rare crafts.
Leaving behind a legacy
The six founders were distinct in many ways but what brought them together was the zeal to leave behind a legacy, to do something so that they may leave their footprints in the sands of time. They believed the secret was rooted in starting a company and taking it down the uncharted path to great heights. This is what had brought them to an IIM.
At Kashipur, they saw an opportunity to leverage its nearness to Moradabad which is one of the biggest hubs in India for metal crafts. When they read Catherine’s remark they felt as if it reiterated the same point that their hearts were reminding them time and again. However, logic commanded waiting till the end of the course. Even their friends advised them to not start something in middle of a course. But, it seemed as if the entire course outline was telling them only one thing – Minimize your regrets and take the opportunity in front of you. It seemed to be shouting at them to not wait for things to happen and rather make things happen. And they decided to do just that.
One fine day in the month of February of their first year of post graduate, they started CraftKhana. It provides an online platform to the home décor and rare crafts available at select locations. This was their first successful step on the path to their goal of leaving behind a legacy.
Creating a buzz
The founders say that everybody knows that the success of any startup lies in providing the right thing at right place at right time in right form. But of what use is it if nobody knows what you are selling or when you are selling. What if you make people eager to buy from you and when they ask for the product you don’t have it?
Creating a buzz around your product or service is important but more important is to do so at the right time. Therefore, they decided to create a website to list down all that they had to offer before announcing anything.
Next step was to create a buzz around Craftkhana on social media. They became active on Facebook and reached out to people. They shared various posts daily and kept people engaged. This helped them garner more than 1000 likes in just 10 days. They also provided rewards to first 100 people to register on their website.
Cutting down the costs
Moradabad is famous for its metal products. One of the major decisions that the team had to take was to finalize their supplier. It took just one trip to Moradabad and they finalized a manufacturer who was ready to supply metal items at discounted rates thereby eliminating two levels of middlemen from the supply chain and enabling them to offer great products at a price much lower than any of their competitors. In just 2 more months they added 4 new suppliers and 2 new ranges of products.
Giving back to society
The team believes in doing business with a conscience. They believe that it is not necessary to wait till you earn crores or even lakhs before you give it back to the society. It seems that even in this aspect they are firm believers in Catherine’s statement.
They tied up with some NGOs in Delhi that help women in Kumaon region to develop Aipan, which is a dying art in Uttarakhand. This is their initiative to provide a platform to the poor craftswomen of Uttarakhand and in turn increase their product base. (Who told you have to be a millionaire to help people?)
IIM Kashipur is a great help
When we came to know about their venture, we were perplexed. Of course we wanted more and more entrepreneurs coming out of IIM Kashipur and we dedicate most of our efforts to help them start out as early as possible. But still we wanted to know if they faced any difficulties.
They replied in negative, saying though it is a challenging task but they were up to it and were not facing any major difficulties. We asked them if IIM Kashipur was of any help to them in starting this venture. “Of course, IIM Kashipur is a great help. Our professors and director sir have been guiding us throughout this journey with valuable inputs and sharing the learnings from their vast experience with us. We are thankful to them for this and hope that they will continue to support us”, the team of Craftkhana informed.
The article is being shared by CraftKhana, a venture of Six IIM Kashipur PGP2015-17 Students
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