Please introduce yourself
My name is Karma Bhutia – founder & CEO of iShippo – My ethnic roots are in Sikkim – (Yes – the 1st state in the country to be certified organic) and now I’m based out of Bangalore. I studied & grew up in the hills with fresh mountain air. My journey has been truly travel-worthy. It’s been one filled with challenges, adventure & excitement.
How did you start iShippo?
I’ve been in the IT industry for over 2 decades. I’ve seen a lot in those years. In 2004 I co-founded an IT services company and by March 2015 my company got acquired. We had built a reputation for ourselves by building a lot of cool stuff for many established companies like Apple, HP, SAP, Dell & startups like Cleartrip, HolidayIQ, TaxiForSure etc. My team and I had been providing IT services for over a decade and creating so much value for everybody else.
I wanted to create something valuable and sustainable & that’s how iShippo started. Initially we started out trying to solve the logistic challenge that prevails in our country but we quickly realized that there were many security & regulatory hurdles that needed to be resolved before we could open it up to the public and hence we pivoted into a marketplace for hand crafted products because we realized that it was a completely undeserved market and we had the right skills, tools and the execution prowess to service this market.
One of the most important lessons I have learnt is that a good team can lead you to success and a bad one to failure. Your team needs to be productive and efficient and you need to cultivate & hire A Players. You must work with a team with common vision and goals to smell success.
— iShippo (@askishippo) April 26, 2016
Tell us more about iShippo, how is it different from others similar e-commerce marketplaces?
iShippo.com is an online eCommerce marketplace where people around the world connect to make, sell and buy handcrafted goods. At iShippo, we have begun a fascinating journey, a humble attempt to bring India a little closer to the world. iShippo was founded in April 2015 and is headquartered in Bangalore, India.
We partner with artisanal communities, textile designers, and independent artists to showcase their creations. We believe in sharing stories and celebrating how each handmade object can come to represent something much bigger than itself. Traveling to the corners of this beautiful country, we curate unique and exclusive products that represent India’s finest craft-based designs, so that you can savour the delightful treasures at leisure, with us.
Our mission is to honour & support artisans/craftsmen, create a sustainable way of doing business/commerce while using the power of Internet & e-Commerce to bring together communities and empower people. iShippo is recognized as one of the top 5 e-commerce startups to look out for in 2016 – by TechNewsToday – USA.
As a marketplace we curate unique products from fun jewelry and cool accessories to creative home decor and kitchen items. Everything we carry is handmade and often one-of- a-kind that provides aesthetics and function. These products have an element of individual craft, manual skill, or handwork.
As everyone face difficulties during setting up a new startup, what challenges did you face? please share your experience.
One of the biggest challenges was dealing with an unorganized sector on the supply side, which was patronized by folks who don’t purchase unless they can touch or feel these products.
As a startup there are a lot of moving parts when venturing out on your own: acquiring customers, acquiring sellers, balancing the marketplace (supply/demand), customer satisfaction, social media, marketing, etc. In my opinion having basic knowledge on best practices in these is crucial to running your business on a day-to-day operation but you still have to hire A players who are dedicate to their craft.
There are just so many variables at play that it is impossible to create a winning formula right out of the gate. There are definite things that you need to do: you need to know your product, how you want to sell your product, marketing ideas, etc. But it is really up to you on what you feel are the best ways to approach it, how you build, how you plan and how you execute to scale. You also need to listen to feedback and be open to changes – always.
What it takes to become an entrepreneur is having a solid idea, determination, and ability to solve problems. There are so many resources available online that what you lack intuitively you can make up for by researching. The right attitude to have is to keep a curious mind.
You will probably have a bad week, month, or even quarter when starting. If you are only focused on the negative things you are probably going to sabotage your own success. I think it helps to create some type of time line or plan to help your progress. You also need to have realistic goals and expectations.
Keeping all that in mind you should coach yourself to Never Give Up.
What’s the Current Path and Future plan?
Our current path is to continuing improving our platform, our technology, our outreach to designers, artisans, sellers & buyers. Our future path is an exciting mystery as we are building something very exciting.
Please share your suggestions or feedback about VID.
Viral Indian Diary is a doing a great job connecting entrepreneur stories with the readers who are entrepreneur-in-waiting. I wish VID all the best in this endeavor, as this will encourage our youth to move away from providing services to embracing entrepreneurship.
Visit : ishippo.com
Join ishippo on : Facebook.com/askishippo