At the age of 19, when everyone was busy studying or doing internships or fooling around, amidst a usual student’s life goals, we never thought we’ll end up starting a company.
It all began 2.5 years back, when I gifted a handmade card and photo album to one of my friend on his birthday. We never knew this gift would change our lives completely. The appreciation of the gifts was beyond expression. My friend could identify the creative potential in me and motivated me to take up orders from friends and relatives. I got a lot of enquiries from my own network. He would guide me on how to take new orders, work on the pricing and deal with customers. I experimented with new designs and tried doing something different than the conventional system of greeting cards. We made a great team with the perfect combination of strategy and design. Now that we knew we were playing good, we decided to play at our best!
We did a lot of research before investing into the raw material and design tools which costed a few lakhs. Orders started flowing in from all over Delhi as a result of our strong network and uniquely handcrafted products. We realised that we had reached a milestone when we got our first two international orders from France and London.
In a span of 3 months, we reached the break even with more than 300 customers across the globe. We devised engaging campaigns across colleges to increase sales and brand awareness.
The journey didn’t seem an easy sail with our college exams, CAT coaching and blah blah blah. We also faced a little resistance from our family and seniors who wanted us to prepare for our secured backup options in life. However, amidst daily fire fighting, we could experience our moment of joy from this little venture of ours.
Our customer base was escalating and so was our product range. To keep up a pace with the growing demand, we connected with NGOs, trained the women to make our products which helped them in their upliftment and supported our company’s growth. Just as the product side was flourishing, majorly focused on handicrafts, we also started experimenting with digital design.
People in our network consulted us for guiding them on interiors of their homes, branding ideas for their startups, logo design and almost every concept in which they thought we could be of help to them. In no time, Shamoor was gaining recognition as a design hub for its end to end design solutions. Having no knowledge of business or design, we could now realise that some skills were always meant to be a part of us and were unknowingly leading us to where we always wanted to be.
All this while campus placements were going on. A little pressure from our friends and family influenced us to sit for the placements. We knew we were in a good place but we also knew there was bandwidth to gain some more experience. I joined Mckinsey & Co. and Akash, Zo Rooms. We learned a lot, got industry exposure, client facing opportunities but somewhere inside our heart we always knew that we were always ready, and these jobs were at much lower benchmarks than we had set them to be. Though, our family and friends were comfortably happy with our present lifestyle, but we had bigger dreams which could only be achieved after crossing these boundaries. We quit our jobs after four months and resumed with all the energy to disrupt the markets!
We geared up again with an even stronger ideology & its foundation in Strategic Design. We moved on to design out of the box décor products. Our strength in wooden handicrafts helped us develop a skill in interior design products as well. On the digital front, we got our hands dirty on graphics, web & animation which helped us a lot in building a strong brand identity.
We were scaling up exponentially. We started building our team, the Shamoor family, hired talented people, and soon we were executing projects one after the other. By this time, we were getting 80% of our business through word of mouth.
People either knew us, or wanted to know us. And, those who knew us, wanted to know more. Most of the them liked our concept, many could see the growth escalation and some even wanted to associate with us. Luckily, this worked like a charm for us, and our fellow seniors, college alumnis and angel investors began approaching us to invest in our company. This is how we got our first seed investment. Hurrrahh!!!
Currently we’ve been designing our own Studio in Pitampura with the craziest interiors ever and with tons of other things in pipeline waiting to make a dent in the design world.