Of all of our inventions for mass communication, pictures still speak the most universally understood language.
Your belongings can talk so much about you. Simple things like dining room décor and the type of flowers you’ve placed in your room, carry clues to your character. The things we own can say so much about who we are, sometimes giving more details than an intimate conversation.
Alcohol and informal yet comfortable bean bags in your room suggest that you value social relationships whereas a room strewn with clothes, papers suggest that the occupant is not a careful-planner and is impulsive.
The same is the case with posters. An Audrey Hepburn poster suggests that you like to stay in vogue and a resplendent poster of an eagle flying high in the sky symbolizes freedom.
Carmocrat is one such online store that lets you display your identity on your walls by offering posters across various categories – entertainment, custom, lifestyle, photography and people. The Delhi based startup was founded in August 2012 by Mohit Verma and now has two more team members- Rohan Jairath and Kriti Mahajan.
To explore some more interesting facts about Carmocrat, Startoholics got in touch with Mohit and Rohan, here it is for you:
To anyone who has never come across Carmocrat, how would you describe it?
When Mohit started Carmocrat, he had a vision in his mind to enable people to express their personalities on their walls. Our entire business started with this one particular concept. We are not just selling posters but we are selling the idea that helps you to express yourselves on your walls. When your friends, relatives or anybody comes to your house, they can make out what this person likes or dislikes, what they stand for just by glancing at your walls.
What motivated this startup?
a) Very bad conditions on our previous jobs.
b) At Carmocrat, we are our own bosses.
Probably, the most important factor was they weren’t many websites selling posters and the ones that were selling posters weren’t selling it for cheap and they didn’t offer much variety as well. We wanted to sell out-of-the box posters which were available in countries like US and UK and which can’t be found in India.
What does the name ‘Carmocrat’ signify?
Basically we came up with the idea of selling posters online in a car while drinking.
With the alcohol increasing in our system we decided on making sure every dorm room, PG room or for that matter every living room in India should have access to posters to make sure it represents the personality and the likes of the owner.
Carmocrat can be broken down to Car-Mo-Crat;
Car – where the name of our firm was born;
Mo – (short for moments) representing the good times spent in our car making this plan;
Crat – (belonging to; as in Aristocrat or Bureaucrat) is for all our followers.
What is the Price Range of the products you sell?
We have products from Rs. 220 to Rs. 650, depending on the size and the kind of poster you are buying.
Do you sell any other products besides posters?
Not as of now but we are looking into merchandising and we are trying to get into stickers as well.
Where are the posters manufactured and by whom?
We have different kinds of posters; there are certain posters that we are sourcing from UK. These are all copyrighted images from famous movies like Godfather, Scarface and TV shows like Big Bang Theory and Friends. But on the other hand we have some designers in India as well.
How do you differentiate from your competitors?
Everything we sell is legal and is within the copyright laws of India. We have a lot of designer posters like custom posters. If you go to our website, you can see different categories like Devi8 which is designed by a guy named Gautam who makes Superhero caricatures and there is one more brand which we have recently launched but has a very limited collection as of now which is designed by Avik Kumar Maitra.
We have consulted Copyright lawyers and they told us that nobody can stop you from making posters of let’s say Batman and selling it but you can’t use his name or words like “Dark Knight” for instance.
You can get posters on a roadside but we are not in that business. All our stuffs are licensed and are of good quality. We are conducting our business in a responsible manner.
Who do you see as your target audience?
Anybody who is in the age group of 15-30 years. Most of our customers are the younger working professionals and most of the orders we get are from bigger cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Pune but we also have some traction from cities like Ahmedabad, Bhopal.
Has Carmocrat got the feedback and growth you expected since launch?
To be honest, we think it can achieve greater heights but since the last few weeks we have seen an increased growth in terms of orders. We do believe we’ll be very soon justifying the sort of potential that initially had in our minds when we started Carmocrat.
What is the biggest hurdle you have faced or are still facing?
Copyright and getting our name out there! From a business and a legal perspective we would say Copyright has been the biggest challenge but from a sales perspective, we’d say getting our name out there has been a major hurdle.
Since we are an online business, we barely focus on a direct retail exhibition because frankly there aren’t too many targeted events.
What are your plans for promoting Carmocrat?
We are targeting different kinds of marketing techniques and apart from online marketing we are planning aggressive marketing in different areas of Delhi so that at least we can get our name out in Delhi. We are also targeting different fests where we’ve already covered Amity and JMC in Delhi. We are on a constant lookout for fests and events in malls where we can target the right age group.
What’s next on the radar for Carmocrat?
We are planning to launch different offerings within the poster segment. We also plan to enter into the customization business wherein consumers can send us their photographs of special occasions such as family vacations, birthdays etc for printing and framing.
Your neighbourhood photo studio can do that job but they charge you a lot of money and you don’t have that much ability to optimize it. Whereas in our case, you’ll just have to upload it and we’ll get it printed and send it to you. This idea gives us good margin as we already have vendors who can print for us and all we need is a backend integration.
The duo advice web based startups to get their research done beforehand and believe that having a co-founder is always worth it! You should have someone who has the craziest dreams and perseverance like you. It’s very important to have a team that’s around you and is as motivated as you.