In today’s world to say that online shopping is very common would be an understatement. You can find a plethora of big online retailers, selling products manufactured by big brands. But not so much when it comes to handicraft. India has a rich and varied handicraft industry. Yet people take little notice of it and let it die. Mr. Amit Khullar, fortunately enough,was not one such Indian. He was one with a mind curious enough to enquire why big online retailers were not capitalizing on the opportunity to sell handicraft too. Finding not much of an answer, he got up and did it himself, starting FleAffair.com with his own team. FleAffair is an online portal which deals exclusively with handicraft products. To add , the products are not only cheap, but also pleasing, be it according to aesthetics or practicality. It is the first of its kind, an online flea market in the country.
It was indeed a pleasure and privilege to have a conversation with Mr. Khullar. It stands to be said that he is, to say the least, a man of great insight into the world of entrepreneurship.Excerpts are here for your reading.
Vyapaari: Every entrepreneur has a goal in mind. That is what makes it different from other companies. What is the goal that your start up aims to achieve?
Amit: FleAffair is the Etsy for India. The main idea was to build a marketplace which can uplift small entrepreneurs who may or may not have online presence but surely do have niche products and provide them global presence. If you see a Long Tail graph, the number of available niche products outnumber the hits by several orders of magnitude, and that is the market we want to address. When customers are offered infinite choice, the true shape of demand is revealed. People gravitate towards niches because they satisfy narrow interests better, and in one aspect of our life or another we all have some narrow interests. This is just a tip of the iceberg – it has a huge growth potential at both domestic as well as international levels.
Vyapaari: What, in your opinion, gives you an edge against big fishes like Flipkart or Snapdeal?
Amit: Fleaffair came up with a unique concept of promoting India’s handicraft online. It is India first online flea market .Gone are the days when people thought handmade to be unnecessarily costly. Most of the people are now aware of the uniqueness and the value of the handmade products. We did not want to be another Snapdeal and Flipkart. So we chose to bring handmade products just a click away. These other companies sell anything and everything. FleAffair.com is not in that domain. We recognise the need to maintain our niche and provide only niche products to the masses.
Vyapaari: There have been reports of online retail stores overloading courier employees with deliveries. What steps does your company take to maintain their welfare provided the fact that they are an essential part of any online retail store?
Amit: We have a Dropship model where either the Vendor is handling the shipping through his own courier company or if it’s through us, we use FedEx for the same, which is appropriately scaled up to handle such loads.
Vyapaari: There is an increasing trend that start ups show young graduates dreams of taking them to the top and later on turn back on their offer. Does this trend prevail in your company or is it one of those who respects your employees’ loyalty?
Amit: We value the relationships with our employees. We really value skills, talent and believe in giving opportunities to the youth by providing ample opportunities for innovation and growth. For us, our employees are our family who have been working hard towards the growth of the company. Hence, no such trends exist.
Vyapaari: Clearly, yours is an online retail store focused more towards women. Why the divide?
Amit: Though there are more items that are women oriented, we do have a lot of items for men too. There is no divide. It is just based on the research conducted by our research team that found that women are more active in online shopping than men. So we are just trying to cater to their needs and provide them exclusive and niche products.
Vyapaari: Every employee has expectations when joining any organisation. Many of them are difficult to fulfil in a new start up. How do you ensure that your employees stay content with their jobs?
Amit: We are a young startup and we believe that the growth of employees and the company are interdependent. So, we keep them engaged by providing ample opportunities for innovation, learning and growth. This keeps them motivated.
Vyapaari: Please share some kind words of wisdom with us and all the future entrepreneurs reading this.
Amit: As always. If you chase your dreams, follow your instinct, believe in hard work and remain loyal to your work, none can astray you from your goals.
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