If you have an idea, start there. If it doesn’t work out, it’s worth the experience.
– Aditya Bhansali, Founder, ThePenWorld.com
Let, us introduce you to Aditya, a regular 3rd year mechanical engineering student with an unusual story. While most students are complaining about the cruel curriculum of their engineering classes, he went above and beyond his expectations. His mind was set, his will was determined, his focus was clear and just a little spark ignited his passion for business. In his very 1st semester, he decided to take the plunge into starting his own online business. With entirely his personal savings, he launched The Pen World. He has been successfully managing it single-handedly since the past two years. Let us here the story from Aditya himself, and find out how he does it all.
Before we begin to hear your wonder story, tell us a little about Pen World. What is the store about and what products do you sell?
The Pen World as the name suggests is an online store which exclusively sells luxury pens. On Pen World, you can find most of the luxury pen brands like Lamy, Shaeffer, Perrie Cardin and more. So if you are a pen lover, then Pen World is your ultimate destination.
What’s the story behind you taking the plunge into e-commerce and starting your own online store?
I started Pen World in my in 1st semester of engineering. Since I was very clear that I wanted to start my own business, I was open and vigilant to any business idea. One day during a casual conversation with a friend, he randomly mentioned that in smaller tier 2 cities there is a shortage of luxury pens. As I am a fan of fountain pens myself, the idea struck me. It was then that I decided to start selling luxury pens online.
As a college student, how do manage your time between your business and your demanding mechanical engineering curriculum?
Since, I am the only one who manages The Pen World, I have to be careful with my time management. I travel to Chennai almost every other weekend for inventory management. Other than that, I dedicate around an hour, every day for marketing and maintaining the business. On most weekends, I upload my catalogue. However, exam time, the scenario is slightly different. Like any other engineering student, a couple days before the exams is the crunch time. So during exam time I only run the website and dedicate less time.
How do you source all the luxury pens?
So, I started dropshipping, when I did not even know what it meant. Since I have lived in Chennai, I found 2 dropshippers and started with them. At this point I have over 13 dropshippers located all over India.
How did you convince the Dropshippers to do business with you initially?
In the 1st 6 months I only purchased 2 pens and gave the dropshippers 100% advance. I made sure I delivered whatever I promised. So dropshippers trusted me and they started giving me pens with good margins.
Where did you get your initial capital from?
I started with only Rs. 25,000 which was all from my savings. However, now my revenue has crossed over 10 lacs. For all my transactions, I have been using my savings and by managing the revenue I generate.
What all marketing channels have you dabbled into since you started? Which ones have shown you maximum returns?
I have used Google Adwords and Facebook marketing.
But, it was the word of mouth which really worked for me. A lot of my customers are from metro cities. But around 40% of my repeat customers are from smaller towns, where I guess word of mouth really works.
Apart from your online store, what are some of your other point of sales?
I sell on a few marketplaces like Flipkart and Snapdeal. But that is mostly just for quick revenue.
Keeping the same levels of enthusiasm every day is not easy. What keeps you inspired and motivated?
Starting the business was a big decision in itself and now I am pretty clear, that this is what I want to continue. When I initially started, I only had a few customers. But second year onwards, I started having a lot of repeat customers. The challenge and commitment required to keep my customers happy, gets me going. It makes me very happy to know that customers appreciate my products and service. This recognition keeps me motivated.
What is your vision for The Pen World?
I want The Pen World to be synonymous to buying pens and create a name for myself in the luxury pens industry. Slowly I am also planning to expand to other luxury items such as luxury ties, watches, etc.
If you could give one piece of advice to other internet entrepreneurs who are trying to make money with their online store, what would it be?
I am a little too young and new in the field to be giving advice as such(shy laugh). But going by what I did, I would say that if you have an idea just go with it. There is no harm in experimenting. If it does not work out it is worth the experience.
Since you have a long future ahead of you, and you seem very motivated, do you have any other business plans?
Well about that, yes. I have started another company. Since I got credibility via The Pen World, a business incubator is helping me with my next venture. This company is for building black boxes for race cars. These can take data to enhance the performance of the car.
We wish Aditya, a very successful journey ahead. You can check out ThePenWorld on Facebook or drop in an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Do you think you have what it takes to be an entrepreneur? Then what are you waiting for?
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