Its a story of 2 law college students who decided to introduce the concept of First Indian Online Bar- EShack. They are 21 years and they are entrepreneurs. Presenting the session with Arman Sood one of the co founder of EShack.
1) Hi Arman before going straight into the start up journey, my readers will be keen to know both you and you co partner in Business Ashwajeet. So please share about your educational background and both of yours family background.
Hello Samata, firstly I would like to thank you for taking this interview. Both Ashwajeet Singh and I are partners in EShack and also 4th Year Law Students at Jindal Global Law School. I did my +2 from St. James’ School Kolkata in Science with Biology whereas Ashwajeet pursued Commerce and Business Studies at Sanawar. We met in Law School in 2010 and hit it off immediately. Both the families are into business.
2) Share about the profile of your business EShack? When was EShack born?
EShack was born in November 2012 while Ashwajeet and I were in our 2nd Year of Law School. We had a 2-month summer break before which we had conceptualized the idea while partying in Bangkok. We spent the summer laying down the business. From legal compliance’s to importing the products, from warehousing and logistics to website creation and marketing we spent the next few months setting up shop. Once it was set up we launched with a bang in November and had launch parties and promotional parties in Delhi and Kolkata.
3) Tell us about the story when you and your partner decided to step in, in this business which is quite odd?
EShack was in short a consequence of a drunken night in Bangkok. Before going there for my fathers 50th birthday Ashwajeet and I would spend a lot of time brainstorming ideas and researching on start-ups. That in it self was a lot of inspiration to start thinking with an entrepreneurial bent of mind, when in Bangkok one thing led to another and while partying with beer bongs and beer towers it struck us how the drinking culture in America and India was so different. While a lot of Indians who study abroad experience the culture there they miss it when they are in India and Indian’s love to drink. Putting two and two together we decided to have a start-up retailing only funky alcohol and bar related accessories that could make drinking interactive and even more fun.
4) The life of an entrepreneur is not at all easy, so how was the journey for both of you?
True. It tends to get very hectic especially since we still run it out of our hostel rooms on campus and law is a degree, which requires you to put in the hours to do well. We have faced lots of difficulties because of being in University and not having access to events in Delhi and other cities as easily as we wished to but on the flip side starting up in college has its own perks, which are delightful.
5) Every business needs start up funding, where from you guys managed to arrange funds for your business?
We were 2nd Year Law Students at the time and felt the most sensible plan then would be to pitch to our parents who have always been very supportive and helpful. We prepared B-Plans as if it were a competition and pitched our idea to them. Both are parents agreed to help out and gave us our start up capital.
6) What made your online store different from the rest of the online stores in India in related field?
Our online store targeted a very niche market. There were the big players in the online market who sold anything and everything but we wanted a space where we would cater to party goers and alcohol lovers where they could come and find a range of quirky and funky bar accessories that were new to the Indian market.
We were pioneers of beer pong table and beer bongs with valves and products like single and three in one dispensers.
I think being 21 ourselves we understood what people our age group would be interested in.
7) What acted as an inspiration for both of you to take up the challenge and become an entrepreneur at such a young age? What was the reaction of your parents?
We were very inspired by the likes of Gurbaksh Chahal, Sonny Kharwal and Varun Agarwal. The Indian Start up scene was exploding and we were keen to jump in knowing age was no bar if you had a good idea and the will to execute it.
Our parents were excited and supportive. They were glad we were trying out something we were interested and investing out time wisely into something we were passionate about.
8) What sort of hurdles you faced while setting up this online store and how you guys managed to cope up with it?
We faced many hurdles because it was very new to both of us. We did not know the nuances of the online e-commerce business. We outsourced setting up of the website to a small company in Noida and had help from a relative with the import export procedures and logistics but most of the research and groundwork was done by us. We had to bunk a lot of classes and college days to handle the compliance’s, which was a major hurdle because we had to maintain a 75% attendance in college as well.
9) Please share the WOW moments in your journey as an entrepreneur?
It has been a joy ride since day 1. Once we launched we received immense traction on the website and even though we had a small marketing capital the word spread quickly since we were young entrepreneurs and being in University with lots of students had its own advantage.
We received orders for alcohol and bar accessories from all over India and even people in small towns had taken a fancy to our diverse and niche product range.
We received bulk orders from various companies and got published in many magazines and start up blogs, which gave us more mileage. Another highlight was getting the Best Entrepreneur Award in University for our effort with the start up.
10) What are you plans for EShack 5 years down the line? Any expansion plan in any other category of products?
We are a little over one year old right now and have added beer and alcohol related T-Shirts and tied up with Creative Disorder for party games.
We plan to expand on our range of products by mid 2014 and have plans to add a wholly unrelated but new category of products that will be lots of fun but it is a surprise so I can’t say too much about it now.
11) What is the team size of EShack and what process you followed for selecting team members?
EShack still has both of us as partners handling all the operations. We have a team of two members who handle warehousing and logistics and free-lance agents who work on web development and marketing.
12) Besides being an entrepreneur what are the other passions in your life?
Both of us are extremely passionate sportsmen and are very keen on the legal field as well as a career. We love watching movies and TV Shows in our free time.
13) What next after EShack?
Finish Law School and then work on EShack full-time. The aim is to expand on EShack slowly and steadily to build a team who can look after it while we pursue our further studies.
14) Any suggestion for young people who dreams to be entrepreneur one day?
Dream big and start early. If you have an idea and believe in it do invest time, money and energy in bringing it to life. Failure and Success are immaterial it is the journey and the experiences that make it worth living.