You want to know the highest probability road to startup success? Identify your passion and build it into a business. Look, any startup will face innumerable challenges, some known and some totally out of the blue. If you have a reason bigger than ” I want to make money”, you will find a way out of most troubles. Dharmesh Doshi, ex-IBM and now co-founder of Vegetarianshop.in shares his story of building his venture on his beliefs.
All of us have ingrained beliefs but few turn them into businesses. Can you give a brief reasoning why you support vegetarianism and why are you building a business on it?
This is a great question to start with! As I have mentioned in my earlier mail, I am an ex IBMer with more than a decade of experience and my partner Mehul Vora is an ex-Sharekhan with also a decade of experience! We have seen the industry, saw all the ups and downs and understand how things work practically. For us vegetarianism is not related to religion, as you have mentioned in your question, it is our belief. For us vegetarianism is not just eating vegetables and avoid non-vegetarian food, it is all about respect the nature, be compassionate in your lifestyle also and another important aspect is Ahimsa towards environment. Now coming to turning this belief in to business, if you see the history and culture, root of Ahimsa is in India. Unfortunately we don’t have any dedicated vegetarian super market kind of establishment serving the entire country. We have many organic, natural, green, ayurvedic establishment which are not necessarily pure vegetarian. This gave birth to the idea of this business. It is a great thing when you establish your business on the foundation of something in which you have strong belief!
For your business, educating customers is of equal or perhaps even greater importance than business operations. How are you doing that?
Yes, you are absolutely right. Our aim is to provide a complete vegetarian shopping experience to the great nation. But the most important aspect is to educate and inform the people about our concept and definition of vegetarianism. Our business model is not like any e-commerce or e-retail, it is about spreading our concept and idea and take everyone together to bring harmony and compassion in our lifestyle which will bring peace and respect for mother nature. We have already started information exchange on Social Media and soon it will be extended on all other mediums.
Who are your customers? What have you learnt about them?
Our customers are not restrcted to any age group, caste, geography, language! At present we are serving entire India and will launch international operations also in future. It is not that only vegetarian people are our customers, there are people who are non-vegetarian with respect to their eating habits but they are sensitive on animal testing and cruelty, etc. We are connecting to different people everyday and we are getting good feedback and suggestions from them and we are constatnly improving ourselves without compromising in our objective.
Beyond the niche vegetarian segment, e-commerce in itself is a tricky domain. What are the major challenges you are facing?
Yes, e-commerce is one of the fastest growing industry and having a bright future, however it is indeed a tricky segment. Major challenge in e-commerce are logistic, branding and marketing. We also experience some challenges in the same area and are improving day by day.
Can you share some growth numbers?
Growth is very encouraging. We have started on 25th August and not yet completed a quarter and already got thousands of page views on the site, encouraging retail footfall and acceptance from all segments.
What is your one tip for aspiring entrepreneurs?
One tip – Do your research, have patience and remember this era is of Marketing.
More information at http://www.vegetarianshop.in/