Arman Sood and Ashwajeet Singh, fourth year law students from Jindal Global Law School conceived an offbeat idea of eShack- an online store selling bar/party/drinking accessories.
In their second year, after being bored with their not-so-happening life, and hell-bent on doing something new and unconventional, both budding entrepreneurs took the plunge. From college their dorm, they share their journey into entrepreneurship, in a candid chat with JAM MAG. Excerpts
Tell us about your out-of-college-dorm start up?
eShack is an online store with a twist. We specialise in strictly funky, quirky bar and party accessories. The idea hit us in our 2nd Year at Law School while we were 19 and 20 respectively but we were determined to see it through to execution. Our summer after the 2nd Year went into setting base, importing and selecting accessories, branding and web development and warehousing and logistics. We returned to law school and launched with a bang. We run the start up from our college apartment with 2 employees handling delivery back at the warehouse.
What prompted you to get into something as ostensible as online selling of drinking accessories along with other funky party accessories?
Our experience in Bangkok at my father’s 50th birthday made us realise the void that existed in India for beer towers, beer pong tables and beer bongs. We discussed. A few other students who had been abroad told us that they had seen this stuff at parties every where. We went by instinct and felt that the Indian home party scene was ready for this wave and we launched with 14 accessories and a now have expanded to a range of Beer T-Shirts and merchandise as well.
After finding the idea about the product, what was the process of building it to ensure it had a chance to do good business?
The idea is one thing and execution is another. Lots of people come up with lots of ideas but executing it till the very end is extremely challenging. E-Commerce in India was rising rapidly and being on a residential campus and without the expenses of retailing we too decided to go the online way. We built hype around these unheard of, unseen accessories and targetted the party lovers and party goers. When people throw a party they want their guests to see something new. they want their party to be remembered.
The website itself was bright and quirky and engaging for the user which was a great plus as well. Fortunately we hit it big in the first few months and word of mouth did the rest of the deed.
Being a law student from Jindal Global Law School, it wouldn’t have been easy to transcend a merely conceived notion into an offbeat online venture. Tell us about your experience.
Absolutely true, being from the law background, we had no idea how to set up or run an e-commerce venture with all its brutality. In my opinion that was a good thing because we had the hunger to learn and we weren’t afraid to tread on a road which had challenges and experiences ahead of us. Sourcing and Importing was extremely complex but legal compliances and regulations could be handled because we were from the legal background. Some other start ups may face legal hurdles that they are not prepared to handle.
Branding, marketing, webs designing and development were fun and we learnt everything step by step as we went ahead. Logistics, customer support were other very important aspects which we learnt, though all these things came easy to us.
Public relations came very naturally to us because as founders and partners we were extremely outgoing and sociable and it worked in our favor.
College life is known for being reckless. How did you cope with the responsibility of “now being an entrepreneur”. How do you shuffle between law and business?
The responsibility in all honesty excited us and was more of a driving force than a hindrance. The best part about running a start up like eShack was that we could still be reckless because we threw the biggest college parties. Being in the business of promoting parties and drinking accessories, we hosted launch parties in Delhi and Kolkata.
It has been extremely hectic balancing college and work., but one always finds a way around if he/she is passionate. We love law and hence studying or researching wasn’t directly affected but yes we did miss lots of classes and tests and began traveling a lot outside University for work but friends, family and even professors have been very supportive so it has been fun. We are now entering our 4th Year so the greater challenge lies ahead.
eShack clearly resonates with all young, nocturnal party lovers. How is it doing in the market?
eShack totally does. We have received an overwhelming response and two interesting things have happened, it’s not just the young party lovers but also the older generation has loved the wave we’ve brought in. Also we thought the products would be metro city oriented but surprisingly a lot of orders have come in from smaller towns as well. There have been ups and downs since some of the products are brand new in the market and we’re bootstrapping so marketing has not been easy.
Surely, every independent venture is full of ups and downs. Would you like to share any such instance( good or bad)
There are days when you have a lot of traction and there are days you’re praying never came or happened but that’s the best part. We’re never bored. We’ve received huge orders from a dry city like Ahmedabad which was fun and exciting. On the downside at some level our studies and law school has suffered because you’re dividing a large portion of your time to a start up which is not easy at all.
So who funded you? What were these initial requirements for – you said you have 2 employees, a warehouse and a portal. You did parties. Was it your parents?
Yes our parents gave the money to start it up. It wouldn’t have been possible without their support.
So, what’s next? Law firm or eShack? Or would it be something altogether different?
We honestly have no idea and that we think is the best thing because we have the world open to us. We have the confidence to decide any career for ourselves. eShack has opened up a whole new world that we previously had no knowledge about
How would have been your lives without eShack?
Mundane, boring maybe. Entrepreneurship is a whole different life. There are new adventures every single day and new challenges to overcome. We wake up hoping to conquer the world now which wouldn’t be the case if eShack had not happened.
Words of inspiration for every aspiring entrepreneur out there?
There is no right time to start up. It’s a gut feeling an instinct that tells you to take the plunge and when you feel that its best to jump right in. Even if things don’t go your way remember that as an entrepreneur one needs to adapt and innovate and things do always fall into placeDo things the right way, always and it will get you farthest. There are no short cuts in life.