This Entrepreneurial Story is about Dr. Chinnappa AB who Founded ‘CoorgShoppe’ located in Bangalore, India.
About –Dr. Chinnappa is a Dental graduate and a medical writer with over 8 years of experience; an amateur in the field of ecommerce (1 year of experience)
When Started: 22 Aug 2012
What motivated you to start your Business?
Coorg products such as honey and coffee powder are often sought out by many. Several of my friends and neighbors often used to ask me to get honey from Coorg whenever I or my family used to travel to Coorg. The idea of online store which would cater to such needs struck when I got in touch with my colleague’s brother who owns an ecommerce platform called Shopnix. After about 2 months CoorgShoppe was up and ready to go online! We started with Bangalore and are now taking orders from all over India.
Tell us about your Business
CoorgShoppe is the first online store which caters to those who are looking for authentic products from Coorg, which are exclusive to that region. These include pure honey, coffee powder, homemade jams, squashes, pickles, masalas (such as the pork masala powder which is exclusively available in Coorg and widely used by Coorgis), kachampuli (black vinegar, again an exclusive product of Coorg), and spices. Dried pork, another sought out product in Coorg is also available on CoorgShoppe. All in all, the effort is to introduce and supply authentic Coorg products and delicacies to all those who are new to it or have relished it earlier. All these products are now being delivered all over India.
Recent addition is the concept called Weekend Coorg Kitchen Delicacies (WCKD – I call it wicked!) where the Coorg delicacies such as Pork curry, Chicken fry, Kadambutt (rice dumplings) and Chilli Pork are delivered all over Bangalore on Saturdays! The concept is simple. You place an order for the Coorg dish during the week (from Sunday to Thursday night) and the dish is delivered to you on the weekend (Saturday). And as widely known, moms are the best cooks and my mom cooks for this concept. Thanks to her interest and dedication, people just love these foods!
What is a Day in a life of you like?
Handling multiple responsibilities can be quite challenging and tiring at times. I have a Dental clinic which I take care in the evenings along with which I also take up freelance medical writing projects. CoorgShoppe happens along. I keep checking for orders online and make a list of orders to be processed during the day and handle any customer queries as they come. The packing of the orders happens in the afternoon and evenings. Once the orders to be shipped are picked in the evening, then there is a bit of a relief. Evenings are mainly dedicated for my clinic. Whenever I have some free time in between, I spend the time with my family. Weekends are sometimes hectic with the WCKD food that needs to be sent to the courier guys in time for the same day delivery.
One particular skill you got right and gave you best results.
Persistence is something which has been giving the right results. Although I get disheartened whenever there is a breakage or loss of a shipment, I take it by my stride as they are to be expected.
What have been your biggest challenges in running your Business so far?
Catering to all over India, delayed deliveries, and breakages during transit are some of the major challenges faced.
How did you overcome these challenges?
Convincing the logistics partner and taking the responsibility of packing glass products has helped me cater to orders from areas as far as Shimla. Keeping a track of products from the time they are shipped until they are delivered and calling the related persons in the places to be delivered has ensured timely deliveries in majority of the cases. Constant improvement in the packing methods and taking additional precautions has helped reduce the chances of breakage during the transit.
What have you found the most effective way to get new clients?
I have been currently using Facebook as the major way to get new clients and as in all cases word of mouth is a very vital factor. I have included the testimonials from the customers on my site which helps new clients know more about us and the quality of our products.
What advice do you give to other business owners?
Be passionate about the work, be honest with the customers, accept and learn from your mistakes and never say die!
How did you keep motivated through difficult times?
The support of my wife and mom is something which helps me be on the track and keep going ahead. My close friends also encourage me a lot and this along with the positive feedback received from the clients, builds confidence.
What are your Marketing, Funding and Team Building Strategy?
CoorgShoppe was started as a passion of mine and have currently been using Facebook widely for marketing. I keep posting updates, pictures and messages frequently to draw attention to the website. Along with it, I have subscribed to Google Ads. I also have a blog where I try to post a few related articles infrequently. I started with a minimal capital and am now planning to generate funds for increasing the coverage and range of products available on CoorgShoppe.
I am currently looking for like-minded people who understand the ecommerce business and have the passion to work for it.
Being the first online store to provide almost all Coorg products to people all over India is a major achievement according to me. Have successfully delivered fruit squashes to Shimla from Bangalore, which I feel is also an achievement. Also, within a span of 1 year we have delivered to a majority of the states in India. The recent achievement would be home delivering Coorg dishes all over Bangalore from a single point.
Whats your favorite quote?
Never lose hope
Who inspires you?
My family and friends who believe in my dreams and are always by my side are the greatest inspiration.
Do you have a Business Philosophy?
For me, the following are important and helps sustain a business
- Understand the customer
- Be truthful and polite with them at all times
- Follow up every order and ask for feedback
- Dream big, but be aware of the reality
Startup Freak wishes Dr. Chinnappa, All the Best!