Startoholics managed to get an interview with Darshan Dhruv, the man behind Farsankart.com a site that has been satisfying the taste buds of many with its wide variety of Gujarati snacks or Farsan. It’s ironical that nowadays Farsan is not limited to Gujarati houses only and has made its way into almost every Indian household. From evening tea snacks to welcoming guests, it can be used for different purposes. Let’s unfold a story and see what can be learned from this entrepreneurial journey…
Could you shed light on your life before FarsanKart? What was your previous work?
I graduated in MSc in International Management in 2009 from UWE (University of West England). As a teenager, I always had the urge to be independent and work for myself rather than being dependent on my parents. I worked my way through college as a DJ while pursuing under-graduation from Vadodara. Later I went abroad to pursue my masters and worked for four years with a leading MNC before quitting the job to come back home.
What motivated this Startup?
In India, I joined my family business of packaging but was never satisfied doing “the regular stuff.” And then, entrepreneurship “clicked”. Being the foodie that I am, I was clear that I wanted the business to revolve around food. A business in the QSR segment did cross my mind, but then I decided to leverage my family’s expertise in the packaging space. People around me were surprised when I declared that I have plans to sell farsan online. Because we have all heard of selling books, clothes, accessories and flowers online, but farsan was something very unique. I am optimistic that in the next few years there will be a complete change in the way people shop and e-commerce is sure to play an important role in the whole space. With increasing traffic and congestion on roads, soon people would not want to visit shops for trivial purchases.
How did you take your first step towards FarsanKart? Did you receive any funding from angel investors?
Farsankart is a completely self-funded business as of now. We did have offers from the investors but we have not thought about the process as of now and we would wait for the right investor at the right time to scale up the business.
We have loads of other plans kept in pipeline for Farsankart and we are taking it step by step. After launching www.Farsankart.com, we launched http://www.global.farsankart.com/ and as of now we serve USA, UK, Canada, Australia and Dubai.
What differentiates Farsankart from the rest?
Farsankart is a unique concept where we want to serve the best delicious Gujarati Food across India and the world. Service is our top priority and it will always be, it might sound cliché but we want to stick to the basics. Sometimes companies make a start and eventually they forget the service to their customers and only think about growing their business. At farsankart we have selected products which are dry and have a long lasting shelf life; it has been scrutinized very well before we have kept it on our website. We do not want to just be a store where a customer sees 10,000 products listed online but can’t get them to their doorsteps on time.
What challenges have you faced in your entrepreneurial journey? What has been the toughest decision you had to make lately, if any?
Setting up a new business was a big challenge in itself. When you are self-funded and have to take care of every minor detail yourself, it can be quite a task. But I am not worried, because the joy of getting up each day to do something I like, keeps me going. The journey from a DJ to becoming an owner of an e-commerce business was a hell of a ride.
Every decision from day one has been tough, from selecting products, launching the websites, selecting the packaging, choosing the right vendors. I guess everything is just worth it all when you hear a good feedback from your customers.
What are your plans for promoting FarsanKart? Also, do you have any tie-ups?
The biggest platform for a start-up is the Social Media Websites and the Search Engines and that’s where we have started promoting farsankart. Today we have more than 20,000 fans that follow us on Facebook alone. We have tie-ups with different Gujarati and non-Gujarati portals with the help of which we can reach over 10 – 15 Lakh customers. For us every one is a potential buyer as everyone loves Gujarati delicacy.
You have an international portal too, is it doing as well as the Indian FarsanKart?
Yes we do, it is www.global.farsankart.com. Initially we started serving in USA, UK and Canada which started very well. And after a great response and request from customers we launched in Dubai and Australia as well. Globally there is a huge potential as we have a lot of people who are Gujarati food fans and when it comes to food they are really choosy, this is where we come in picture to serve them. We have tie ups with renowned courier companies where we get great service which is the most important part for us and the customers.
How many products have you sold in India and abroad till date?
We never thought we would get such a tremendous response from India, it’s a huge marketplace and Gujarati food lovers are spread all across India. We have got customers who have shopped 19 – 20 times now. For us repetitive customers are important as that gives us confidence that we are doing well. We are adding over 100 new customers every month. A customer when buys from abroad , they take more than 5kg or more of farsan as the shipping charges goes really down for them. We have done quite a good business abroad and have built customers who make repetitive purchases which is the best part. Word of mouth for us has worked really well. I would say in 8 months it is a great progress for Farsankart.com.
What more do you wish to include to take Farsankart to the next level?
We would include a lot more new and unique products which customers demand from us, but this will all take time. So for now we are focusing on serving our customers with what we have on farsankart. Talking about the global website, we want to start catering to different countries and start expanding.
Finally, what advice would you like to give to other young entrepreneurs?
I believe in what I do and always do things with sincerity and 100% dedication. Being an entrepreneur is not easy as you will face a lot of road blocks but if you learn to face them and put them behind you and focus on what you are there to achieve, you will be a winner.