This Entrepreneurial Story is about Two Entrepreneurs who Founded ‘Aniika.com’ located in Bangalore, India & New Jersey, USA
- Meghana Rao (co-founder)
- Shamim T (co-founder)
Tell us about your Business
Aniika.com is a virtual curated bazaar for the International end consumer to shop for lifestyle products directly from emerging designers and artists with an Indian connection. We are currently open only to the US market.
The buyer on Aniika enjoys the reliability and curation that comes with a retail store together with the luxury of buying non-mass produced products directly from the emerging Indian designer.
As far as the sellers are concerned, we promote design entrepreneurship by providing them the opportunity to brand and sell their products to a large international consumer base with minimal operational hassles.
What Motivated you to start your Business?
Apart from the co-founders’ interest in art and eye for good design ( Meghana comes from a long line of artists and Shamim is an artist herself) , the business idea originated from the fact that there was no one stop shop in the US to buy contemporary Indian products online that too directly from the makers.
Also, while big Indian designers and artists were everywhere and easily accessible, emerging designers and artists had limited opportunity to share and sell their work on an International platform and create a brand for themselves in the Global market.
Aniika was founded to address this gap. We aim to be ‘The curated bazaar’ to buy and sell designer lifestyle products from a New India.
What is a Day in a life of you like?
Our day is no different from any other entrepreneur; always action packed, never a dull moment. Every day is a different day with a new learning experience.
One particular skill you got right and gave you best results.
We don’t think it’s any particular skill that helps us through. Rather, a few aspects of our business such as our proximity to customers (Meghana is based out of US) and our stringent curation process have really helped us achieve some of the best results.
What have been your biggest challenges in running your Business so far?
Our buyer market is very matured when it comes to e-commerce, where in India is still evolving. Since our buyers are in the US and sellers in India, matching the customer expectations has been a big challenge for us. The average Indian designer is not familiar with International selling standards such as quality and related aspects.
In addition, cross- border businesses always has its own logistics related challenges which we have to deal with regularly.
How did you overcome these challenges?
We educate our sellers on international selling standards including those around product quality and delivery time. Since products are stocked with us, we check each product for quality before it is even accepted on our site. Stocking also ensures timely delivery to the buyer.
What have you found the most effective way to get new clients?
We have supplemented our online marketing efforts with offline marketing, which has really helped us in building the Aniika brand.
What advice to you give to other business owners?
Not sure if we have reached a stage to give advice to other business owners but one thing we can say from experience is to never lose sight of where you are headed.
How did you keep motivated through difficult times?
Having a co-founder really helps as you need someone to share your ups and downs with. Having a friend in your co-founder helps even better! We have been close friends for a very long time now and it is easy for us to motivate each other.
We got two rounds of funding within 9 months of launching Aniika and that is a big achievement for us.
What’s your favorite quote?
“When I thought I couldn’t go on, I forced myself to keep going. My success is based on persistence, not luck.” – Estee Lauder
Startup Freak wishes Best of Luck to Aniika and Team!