Time passes and sometimes all one needs is a thread to link him to his past, a picture to lead him to exactly that moment frozen in time, a memento to touch and feel and in the process go back in time just to relive all those experiences, the old yet golden days of one’s existence that often fades away with time if not for the presence of an object that stays with him in his present.
That precisely should be the motivation behind a startup like Campus Sutra that aims to create a link between a person’s ‘most cherished’ days and the future that he plans to head to.
Before we go further, take a moment off to think about it. Imagine yourself sitting and looking out of your window. There are vehicles buzzing past, people rushing back home after a busy day. The stars are beginning to shine. The view below is of the Marine Drive that glistens and reminds you of the countless evenings you spent with your college buddies- either cracking jokes or playing pranks or even discussing some of the oh-so-important career decisions that would determine your future course of life. Suddenly one of you bursts off laughing and pats your shoulder and says- Chill buddy! Right now, enjoy the scenic beauty (whatever caught your fancy at that moment. I wouldn’t get into the details because you know that better! ;)).
You break out of your reverie and lo and behold! You seem to be wearing that very same ‘hoodie’ you wore that day! Was it the hoodie that took you back to those times? Might be! But who cares, you just had a great time and you gently stroke your sleeves and the creases settle down, settling your otherwise jumbled up mind because that’s exactly why you had opened your wardrobe, took out that hoodie, wore it and sat near your window when there were so many other things to have been dealt with! Procrastination eh? Naa.. You needed to get back to the wondrous phase of your life that you suddenly seemed to miss a lot.
It just not was an ordinary hoodie. It was the personalized one that you got when you were passing out. It has the year of your batch inked on it along with that symbol your whole gang loved so much. It would be one thing that would remain with your batchmates, reminding you time and again that no matter how far you all go from one point, you all will always have a similar thread that links you all together.
We at Startoholics, had the opportunity to get in touch with Campus Sutra, one such startup that caters to the people who wish to be linked by a common emotion throughout their lives as a memento when they bid goodbyes to their group to head forward or just wish to ink their togetherness with a mark that would stay for a long time.
Could you shed light on your life before Campus Sutra? What was your previous work?
The ship at Campus Sutra is captained by Khushboo and Sonal Agarwal. Before starting Campus Sutra, Khushboo was in charge of handling crucial business operations at Order Book, a corporate gifting venture which had acquired more than 80 corporate clients. Her insight into business comes from her specialisation in Operations & Finance which she acquired with an MBA and her experience of working in the industry. The Design Head, Sonal’s education at National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) with work experience at Quetsel incites her designs that are both creative and unique.
What motivated this startup?
A disappointed return from an Alumni Meet at Khushboo’s college triggered the idea. The cause of disappointment was a stall put up in the college campus for selling customised merchandise. Khushboo’s delight of cherishing the old memories was hit by the low quality of products on display at the stall. Not only did it make her feel bad, it also encouraged her to make way into the competitive market of customised merchandising by bringing in changes such as high quality of products, proficient supply chain and competitive pricing. This was the start of a change that has made way through difficulties to stand as Campus Sutra.
How did you take your first step towards Campus Sutra? Did you receive any funding from angel investors?
The initial capital invested in Campus Sutra has come from personal savings and borrowing from family and friends. Looking out for investors in the initial stages of the business is something that we do not believe in. Having said that, once the brand grows further with time, we’ll look towards approaching potential investors to enhance the company’s commerce.
What differentiates Campus Sutra from the rest of your competitors?
The aim has always been to stir up the market’s conventions and bring about a change in how people perceive customized merchandising and the quality of service, at large.
Right from the beginning, we at Campus Sutra have made it a certainty that high quality of our product range, proficient supply chain and competitive pricing is maintained throughout all business orders served. The team works day in and day out in ensuring that we cater to a wide range of orders from varied customers with utmost priority given to quality of service and products. Our attempts at constantly improving the range of products and their variety have helped us make a mark different from others.
What challenges have you faced in your entrepreneurial journey? What has been the toughest decision you had to make lately, if any?
Embedded perceptions in customers’ minds about customized merchandise was the first difficulty to pass through. It has been a common perception that customized products are of low quality and least to mention, hard to get delivered on time. Over time, the unorganized players in the market and discrepancies in their services have made these notions grow.
The team at Campus Sutra has been successful to change our customers’ perceptions by providing them with a wide range of high quality products which are both unique and reasonably priced. A major change was brought into the picture by setting up a widespread supply chain that would deliver swiftly across the country and abroad. The number of products sold has crossed the mark of 3, 26,501 today and we are still counting.
Do you have an international portal too?
The company’s international presence is at UAE. As an attempt to widen the brand’s reach, this is just the first step with many more to follow.
What more do you wish to include to take Campus Sutra to the next level?
The expansion would be made both in terms of product range and also, business tie ups with organizations. Bringing in innovative changes to the look and feel of the products has also been on the cards. This is what led to the tie up with Swarovski, which would result in specific T-shirts with precious stones embedded on them in place of embroidery or a printed design. It just marks the beginning of endless ideas coming in the near future.
Finally, what advice would you like to give to other young entrepreneurs?
A ‘belief’ is all you need for doing wonders. The young entrepreneurs need to believe in their ideas and in the fact that they can enter into a competitive market and turn it all around.
One misconception that they need to get done with is that e-commerce is all about setting up an e-commerce website and thinking that everything’s ready to be served on the table. No, it’s not only about that. Setting up a website won’t bring in satisfied customers and most importantly, strengthen your business in the longer run. Knowing the nuances thoroughly before making use of them must be one of the first things on the checklist.
Lastly, focus your business on your customers and not yourself. What you want barely matters, what matters is the customers’ needs and wants.
Already on ‘Mission Time Travel’, are you? 😉