Sharath Dev, the innovator of India’s first men-centric shopping portal is a multi tasker who sees no end to ideas. He is the founder and Underaman, which is apparently the one of its kind shopping platform for men of India. Apart from this, he acts as director of Bartersphere Pvt as well as First Copy Technologies. The idea to create Underaman came from an advertisement with tagline- women’s only.
With the support of few friends, and family members he started this venture with all the funds in hand. The project is still at a nascent stage but has collected huge popularity and appreciation. Sharath’s belief in himself and sheer perseverance keeps him going despite the obvious hurdles. Read more about his startup journey n this interview.
Please provide a brief overview of your product/ service.
We are India’s First & Only Men’s Exclusive Online Retail. We are working on a store-in-store concept that is still in the very early stages. We currently have four categories. Stay Out caters to the adventure and travel needs of a man. Bath concentrates on grooming. Fitness, well like the name says it is for the men who believe in being fit. Cycle On, is for the cycling aficionados. We have limited products currently, but are working towards consolidation of the existing catalogue. We have 129 brands and 19,000 products for sale currently. Men can also look for more categories related to music, biking, a general wear section, a section called secret drawers and more in a few months from now. Apart from that we have a current team favourite called Man Basics, which should go live in a month’s time.
What inspired you to build the above product/ service?
There are a lot of women centric products out there in the market. Or just a common Marketplace. An ad about a women’s only tagline, a year and a half back, is what ignited the spark. It was just a spark that was discussed and deliberated. The whole team came together and decided we are going to take this forward. Once we finalized and started bouncing this idea with random people, we started getting positive feedback from most of them. We thought this was a pain point that can be addressed, at the same time give people an experience store. It is yet to be seen in full, we have only just started.
What is your life mantra?
Live and Let Live!
What was the most challenging part of your journey till now?
Keeping the motivation levels high. Everybody in the team are really passionate. But when smaller hurdles started turning into major obstacles, it lead to a lot of frustration. When frustration kicks in, it becomes really hard to focus. Thankfully we are past that phase.
How did you overcome those challenges?
The only way to overcome the challenges was to put our head down and work. That’s what we did. That’s what we’re still doing. We had our favourite punching bags too, to beat the frustration. They are the people who have kept us going. We know we still have a long way to go and just warning those people to expect more rubbish from us. Passion is the fuel that helped us overcome all the challenges and I am sure that is what will help us keep going forward as well.
Share some details about the investments that you have been able to fetch for the business till now.
Not much till date. A small seed fund from family and friends is what that has kept us going till now.
How do you protect yourself from the problem of Brain Drain?
We have a very small team. So honestly, we’re yet to face that hurdle. When it comes to the existing team, it’s the humour that keeps us charged up. We make fun of one another, pull each others’ leg and laugh out loud (at the others’ expense).
According to you, what are the three qualities an individual must have to achieve success?
We are still a long way away from success. But Patience, Perseverance and Persistence is what I believe are the three.
Which online tools/ services/ apps do you use the most and would like to recommend as well?
Anything and everything that we can find for free. We use a lot of them: Google Analytics, Google Insights, GTmetrix etc.
Share any one habit which you think makes you more productive.
Laugh at myself and keep the ego at bay.
Share any one habit which you wish to change in yourself.
Nothing I guess. But I wish to tone down a bit of sarcasm.
Answer in less than 50 words
Staying honest and committed to oneself.
- One mistake you believe every individual must avoid:
- One most important lesson that you have learnt till now:
Neither everything nor everybody is perfect.
What are your plans for next 3 years?
We want to grow Underaman into a brand that people love. Make it an experience store the way we have envisioned it. We want to stick to the basics of the service industry and provide an exceptional service to the end consumers. We would love to take Underaman to newer shores if all goes according to plan.
If you get a chance to start your career again what would you do differently this time?
Just nothing at all. But will probably answer that before I sign off my career.
What are your top three getaway destinations?
Any place that is a blend of wilderness and peace.
Share a quote that inspires you the most.
“Once something is a passion, the motivation is there.” – Michael Schumacher