This Entrepreneurial Story is about Khushboo Agarwal who Founded ‘Campus Sutra’ located in Bangalore, India.
About the Team - Khushboo Agarwal, Sonal Agarwal, Ravi Kabra and a team of experienced industry professionals.
- Khushboo, after acquiring an MBA, specialized in Operations & Finance. Her work experience, including her experience at handling crucial matters in Order Book, a corporate gifting venture, ignited that spark that she could own a company of hers too. On the other hand
- Sonal graduated from National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) and worked with companies like Quetsel following it by working as a designer.
When Started: Conceptualized in September 2013 but started functioning from April 2013
Location - Headquartered in Bangalore. Also have offices in Mumbai, Siliguri and Dubai.
What motivated you to start your Business?
The idea emerged in Khushboo’s mind, when she returned disappointed from her visit to an Alumni Meet conducted in her college. As she recalls, while walking out of the Meet, she visited a stall put up in the campus selling customized merchandise. Disappointed with the quality of the products on display, Khushboo decided to enter the competitive market and make a strong point. This is how, Campus Sutra came into existence.
Tell us about your Business
In its basic terms, it’s a customized merchandising brand, which unlike other brands, provides high quality products swiftly across regions in the country and also, abroad. Through its astonishing range, varying from t-shirts, jackets, hoodies to accessories like bags, cups, mugs, badges etc., we believe in keeping up pace with every customer’s specific demand. For not disappointing customers who fear lethargic service because of their location, our widespread supply chain reaches out to the customer within ample amount of time in hand. Not to mention, the prints and the quality of the products make our business known among people beyond boundaries.
What is a Day in a life of you like?
After the birth of Campus Sutra, everyday has become a story about working at Campus Sutra. It has not only become an important part of life but instead has become the life in a way. The daily schedule largely consists of work in office which starts with analyzing customer data through Google Analytics, a check on production schedule and shipment, developmental activities to review of daily reports. In spite of the effort each one of these works requires, it has never been detrimental.
One particular skill you got right and gave you best results.
An eye for crucial details and persistent pursuit of quality in the products has proven to be a major contributor to Campus Sutra’s success. To add, the fact that we devoted enough time in strengthening our back end setup, rather than just setting up the front end, has done wonders to the smooth and efficient functioning of the company.
What have been your biggest challenges in running your Business so far?
Whenever anyone spoke of getting customized merchandise, it had been a belief that a low quality product would be delivered after a long wait. Directly challenging this notion, both in terms of quality and delivery, was a major challenge that we set to fight against. Subsequently, a cliché associated with e-commerce, that all it meant was to run a website, was something that we had to get done with once and for all.
How did you overcome these challenges?
In order to tackle the prevalent paradigm, we decided to put together an efficient and consistent supply chain and delivery chain. We pledged to provide the customer with highest quality of fabric embellished with lasting print or embroidery swiftly across the country and even abroad. Clearly, the aim was to change the common notion and also, acquire customers’ belief in our brand. Coming to the second challenge, we dedicated persistent efforts to improve the commerce in e-commerce. Getting our back end setup, which includes supply and delivery chain, to function without any hiccups become our crucial strategy in dealing with e-commerce at a new level altogether.
What have you found the most effective way to get new clients?
Projecting our success and honoring our commitment are ways in which we approach new clients. The mention of the facts related to the quality of our products and most importantly, arguably the fastest delivery of products, makes a major part of a proposal. A figure which says more than 70% of our sales are attained from previous customers goes to show our ability to retain the confidence of our existing customers because of the quality of products and service. In today’s realm of social networking, we have utilized social media marketing effectively over a period of time.
What advice do you give to other business owners?
Believing in the fact that you can enter into a highly competitive market and get one of its major players thinking is the first and foremost thing to jot down in your mind. And, in order to achieve it, you have to know your business at every level. Being someone indulged in e-commerce, you should not forget to get the commerce working perfectly, rather than just concentrating on the technology part of it. Setting up a website and hoping that people would visit it and order for products wouldn’t serve the purpose at all. Get your thoughts and facts right in a strategic order.
How did you keep motivated through difficult times?
Self-belief and belief in what you are doing are by far the best ways to keep yourself motivated through difficult times. Confidence on our business model and our capabilities as a team together has always pushed us to go that extra mile.
What are your Marketing, Funding and Team Building Strategy?
- We put our word across to the prospective customers mainly through online and offline marketing, Search Engine Marketing (SEM) and word-of-mouth. Continuous up-gradation of the marketing strategies has helped in reaching out to many spread across borders.
- Coming to speak of the funding, at present we are a self funded company but as the business model is fixed in the coming two years, we expect to look for external funding aimed at growth and expansion.
- The mantra that we follow to keep our team together and ready for any challenge, is by making each one of them familiar with every single step of the whole process. This not only improves their knowledge of the company’s functioning but also increases their productivity across various arenas of the company.
On one hand, where successful orders completed for esteemed clients like Harvard University, IIT, IIM, XIMB, Amity University, Airtel, 3M, Tata Docomo etc., we celebrate our achievements in retaining our customers who have come back and contributed to more than 70% of our sales. The gratification that our customers have acknowledged quality of our products and our service cannot be replaced with anything else.
What’s your favorite quote?
“If you keep your eye on the profit, you’re going to skimp on the product. But if you focus on making really great products, then the profits will follow.” – Steve Jobs
Who inspires you?
Steve Jobs / Sunil Bharti Mittal
Do you have a Business Philosophy?
Our business philosophy has been to change the status quo and establish a unique image that would remain in the minds of the customers for long. Another aspect of our business philosophy includes our belief in what we do and most importantly, keeping things simple and organised in order to make sure that they deliver whenever required.
Startup Freak wishes Khushboo and her Team, All the Best!