Although the Indian eCommerce ecosystem is going through a boom, it is vital to have a unique identity in order to create a niche for itself. It takes time and perseverance to achieve success, but true ingenuity to build a brand all by yourself. Saurabh Agarwal is one of those individuals who believed in himself and this belief has been the core reason behind his success.
After completing his bachelor’s degree in electrical, electronics and communication engineering, he went to work as a software engineer at Verizon wireless. While working at the communication giant, he got the idea of starting an e-commerce store catering to handicrafts sector. This is where BillionCrafts was born. His main aim is to promote the art and craft of India to an international level. He wants to give a chance to the poor artisans to get a better life and have a good standard of living.
Please provide a brief overview of your product/ service.
We deal a wide range of handicraft products from all over the place. We are a one stop solution for all your home decoration needs. The products range includes marble, wooden, metal, ceramic, paper and beautiful handmade paintings. We have also started a You Design, We Create! concept where we are giving a chance to customers to share their idea with us and we will put the imagination into reality with our strong manufacturing power.
What inspired you to build the above product/ service?
The idea to start Billioncrafts came to me during a trip to Jodhpur where I met very poor artisans working in dim light, making stunningly beautiful craft items but when I talked to them, contrary to their skills they were struggling for their survival. The condition of these people made me realize the condition of the craftsman on a whole who are trying to maintain the culture of our country but are still thriving for basic necessities of life and I decided to help them using the world of internet. The next chapter in this journey was a trip to my Aunt who makes beautiful Home Decor items but doesn’t get any place to sell and just used to give them away to the guests. I realized then that the talent of the hidden artisans needs to be showcased to the world and this is when I quit my job and implemented this idea.
What is your life mantra?
We just have one mantra that keep working hard in a focused direction. Be clear with your ideas and success will get you.
What was the most challenging part of your journey till now?
Initial challenge was to identify these artisans and teach them about the world of internet. These are the people who are living in small villages and do not know anything about the online market. Trust me, it isn’t as easy as it seems. We actually had to enter their lives and influence them. We had to sit for hours to make them understand this shift of the market and get them into confidence.
Inventory management was also a big task for me because the art is so beautiful that you just wish to buy everything. Entering into the small streets and local shops and realizing the worth of each and every craft piece requires a lot of wisdom. Similarly we had to work hard influencing the house hold ladies who refused to trust us and didn’t want to work with us.
How did you overcome those challenges?
The zeal to do something for the society has always inspired me to go ahead in this journey even though I had to face a lot of issues. That smile I brought on the face of a poor old craftsman was worth a million gems. My family has always supported me for this noble cause and thus Billioncrafts is moving forward with lot of new ideas and more collaborations with artisans.
Share some details about the investments that you have been able to fetch for the business till now.
Now we have not been able to fetch any investment, but billioncrafts is a self sustained revenue model. So we are working hard to fetch new customers by offline marketing to get new orders and generate revenue.
How do you protect yourself from the problem of Brain Drain?
I love reading alot. After a load of work I just love to take a book from the shelf and start reading with coffee.
According to you, what are the three qualities an individual must have to achieve success?
In a world where the market is so tough the talent to sell and create is most important. The product you are designing should be designed well and you should have the capability to sell the product. This process takes a lot of time and you have to be a lot of patient if you want to get success. If you loose confident on your venture then you can not get success.
Share any one habit which you think makes you more productive.
Reading makes me more productive every time. Whenever I am feeling frustrated I just take a novel and start reading it.
Share any one habit which you wish to change in yourself.
I take decisions very rapidly and I wish to change that
Answer in less than 50 words
One tip to success:
Be Patient and keep working hard.
One mistake you believe every individual must avoid:
Stop comparing yourself with others if you want to survive in the market.
One most important lesson that you have learnt till now:
Starting a venture is one of the toughest jobs.
What are your plans for next 3 years?
We want to expand the product catalogue to more than 1 lac handmade products and wish to organize workshops for the artisans so that they can learn new things and improve their work with the use of modern technology.
Share a quote that inspires you the most.
“All of us do not have equal talent, but all of us should have an equal opportunity to develop those talents.”