How this bespoken hampers and gifting platform doubled its sales in just a few months during the lockdown
Be it for birthdays, Valentines Day, Diwali, Anniversaries or no occasion at all – gifting is often described as a pure art form that can make (or even break) a relationship.
It all started after she quit her job because she was not satisfied with it and to focus on starting a startup of her own. Anisha Agarwal was going through a low phase and was not having the energy to work or do something until she went to a soap-making workshop and learned something new and exciting.
A rocky start
Anisha started The Handmade Café in June 2019. She always had an entrepreneurial streak in her. She is a chemical engineer and has done B.tech chemical from Nirma University, Ahmedabad. Before this startup, Anisha was working in the public-private sector in the chemical industry as a business development engineer. She left her job because she was not satisfied with it and came back to her parents' house. That was a low phase in her life but she always knew she wanted something more, something different.
Anisha was always a startup aficionado. One day she attended this workshop of soap making that changed everything. Anisha started her business by selling handmade soaps and then went to the handmade body and bath luxury products. From February 2020 she started getting orders for curated gift hampers too.
“Last year in June I started this startup and it’s been 1 year and 5 months. It’s has been a great year so far even though the pandemic and lockdown the response have been great,” said Anisha.
Challenges along the way
Courier services and availability of the material were the biggest challenges for this startup. Because of the lockdown, all the courier services were closed nothing was available in the market. But as C.S. Lewis said, “Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny.”
Anisha came with the idea of taking online workshops but the material was also not available with the students so, she started giving them online registered videos which students can watch later with the description of the all the suppliers and raw material etc. in the video itself.
“I took classes on video calls and messages. I never thought it would be a success because it was a new and a huge step for me but because people were willing to learn new and creative things in pandemic everything was a huge success,” told Anisha to Startup Times.
“One thing that helped me was that I started everything pretty early as soon as the pandemic started, I began with everything within 10 days so the response was sparklingly well and almost I conducted 100+ video classes,” she added.
Everything was challenging but it was a self-exploration of finding new ways of learning and earning.
Anisha says that more than gifts or hampers, it is a commitment to deliver happiness with each of the products she sends out.
What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?
On asking this, Anisha said that podcast and all does not inspire her a lot as she can hear them and get inspired by them for really short span. But what really inspires her are the people on Instagram who are doing something similar to her. They have never stopped working and they have reached where they are today. These people are popular, still they try to be new and different every day. And her friends that keep pushing her with their soul healing words or with their presence.
Future plans for this amazingly well journey
“During and after pandemic the future is going to be really bright for Instagram gifting business because people have started expressing more of their love and care for people. This was not really expected during the pandemic when earnings were down. So, I think the future seems really bright because people want to gifts their loved ones a lot of gifts and on multiple occasions now. Instagram is growing leaps and bounds so its helping small entrepreneurs like us by giving us reach,” she said.
She believes that more than gifts or hampers, it is a commitment to deliver happiness with each of the products she sends out. She believes in wrapping each gift carefully too. After all, gifts are as important as the way they are presented. And it is perhaps this touch that conveys the special message of being loved to your loved ones. And in these tough times, all you want to see is a curve around the lips of your loved ones.
On asking for some words of advice for young entrepreneurs she said, “The key is the patience. Everything you will do will take time and won’t happen overnight. Your motivation dies everyday which you have to gather every single time you will wake up. I have been through so many phases, on so many nights I wanted to stop this but when I used to wake up next morning, I used to find new ways to grow, make my page more engaging. And yes, uniqueness will also help but the primary thing is patience and self-motivation.”
Ain’t that an awe-inspiring story? For more such stories send us your startup story at startuptimes.net