Are you scratching your head about gift ideas for your kids’ birthday party? Or on what to give your favourite child next-door? Or to that kid who already seems to have everything you can think about?
LittleOnes Stop might be your life-saver.
When Jasmeen Saluja returned to India after a 12-year stint in the US, she found fellow parents struggling to find meaningful and pocket-friendly ways to gift their friends and their kids. That’s when she realised that her passion for creativity and the need of the hour crossed paths perfectly.
And so LittleOnes Stop was born.
KidsKintha did an exclusive interview with Jasmeen Saluja on her venture. Read on…
What was the inspiration behind your start-up? Was your start-up an answer to some challenge you came across yourself?
I am an IT consultant with 12 years experience and had opportunity to work with big clients like American Express , Target Inc and also with US government healthcare called CMS while I was in US. I worked in India, was in US for 7 years but when I finally came back to India and with 2 kids it was difficult to continue with the job. That’s when I realized to work towards on my hobby. The hobby materialized into a venture and today I am able to handle my family and also able to spend time on my hobby. The hobby is not only paying me off well but making me contented and independent.
What led you to believe that this would be your niche?
Most of the time in India I found my friends having trouble to give a a good return gifts and finally end up purchasing stuff which are just thrown away. There are too little choices on return gifts and this where I find that my products has a niche in this segment. My market segment is to cater to provide a good product for kids that is unique and also able to be used in day to day life. And with the touch of personal customization like name imprinted, favorite character it makes it more personal for the person who is buying but also for them who its gifted.
What is your Startup’s big picture? Do you believe you idea can change the world in some way?
Create a brand across it and able to provide a quality driven unique products that can cater to the accessories segment. The big picture is to build a global brand.
Do you see the Internet as your biggest online partner?
Surely, with advent of social marketing, people like us are able to commercialize the hobbies and able to reach to wider audience sitting from our home. This is a big thing wherein the social network and internet has played a big role. This internet medium if tapped properly, moms like us can all become enterpreneurs without big investments and an live up to their dreams and make it a reality.
How big do you envision your Market size and reach to be? What is your revenue model? Who are your competitors?
The market size is going to increase significantly with coming years as the internet revolution in India has just picked up in the last 2 years. Online shopping are just picking up and with this trend the online shopping would catch up in a big way. Revenue models would come from direct selling through my site and also collaborating with online selling partners like ebay, flipkart, snapdeap, groupon , amazon which will directly would give a bigger reach. But before that I need to establish myself and able to scale up my business model to increase production. Competitors would be many, but I don’t worry about it as a niche product will always have a market.
What is your brand proposition?
A product that would bring smile to the owner by giving a personal element, with quality and great aesthetics around it.
How is your startup being funded? Are there any future plans of investments?
Self funded. Once my brand becomes successful and I need to have a physical store, then investments would be considered.
What are the revenues and margins like in this industry? When is the Break-Even expected by?
In this industry where hand-made products are made, the key issue is with the time. There is huge time consumption to build one product and that is killing the margin. I need to keep my products at an affordable rate but if a product takes time to build, the cost automatically shoots up. Planning to bring IT into picture to see how the entire process can be broken down in different segments and able to outsource each segment and finally integrate it. The challenge is only with scaling otherwise, its profitable business. In the last 6 months I am able to get a fair amount of profit as well.
What are the current marketing efforts being incorporated? What do you see as necessary to take your business to the next level?
Social marketing. Flea markets are the current selling options. Increasing the productivity is the next level for me now.
What does your typical day look like juggling between mom responsibilities and owning a business?
Yeah it’s a big thing. Day starts at 6 AM with kids preparation for school and finally ends up at midnight. I get time in the late mornings and after 9 PM when the kids goes off to sleep to work on my business.But when your hobby is your business, its fun doing it. I love what I am doing now.
Share particular challenges on managing a growing business being a mom, which is never less than a full-time job.
The challenge is the customers have a requirement that is to be filled within a certain date as it might be for some birthday, occasion etc. To cater hundreds of orders within that timeframe becomes a challenge. Also in a full-time job, there is a start time and end time to work, whereas when you own a business everyday is work.
What is your personal mantra for motivation?
Feedback of customers motivates me. Even when I build each product and see the final outcome it motivates me. The self satisfaction that a hobby gives itself is a motivation, nothing else is required.
What message do you have for other aspiring Momprenuers?
If you have a hobby and there is someone who is ready to pay for it, then its nothing like that. Working on your hobby gives a great satisfaction and when it can be monetised nothing better.