She took her chance in a field which is already been tapped by lots of players. Monica Agrawal, from her personal experiences, noted that there is a need of online portals that could allow the customers to customize their products with luxury type packing.
She finally took the plunge as she launched her online gift portal Gogappa.com
We present an email interview with Monica.
Q1. Tell us about your childhood and your studies.
I grew up in Mumbai and completed my undergraduate studies here. I then went to San Francisco for pursing my Masters in CS. Being in Silicon Valley, I got fascinated by IT startups and worked for a couple of them before returning to India to start this venture of meaningful gifting.
Q2. What prompted you to start Gogappa.com?
While in US, away from my family and friends, there was always a need to send gifts back home; premium quality gifts along with a service that I could trust. I tried so many online stores but was disappointed most of the time. Neither I was happy with the options available nor the condition in which it used to get delivered. There are thousands of online gift stores in India, but majority of them are pretty much selling the same stuff. Good unique products and good service is missing big time.
Q3. What in your views is the USP of your product given that there are many similar websites available?
High quality products along with premium designer packing. We give our customers the flexibility of not only personalization but also product customization. Our business is like arranging a blind date because the one who is going to receive the gift actually has no idea what he is expecting in that box. So, first impression is THE last impression. Both quality & wowness is guaranteed here!
Q4. Have your venture been funded? If not, tell us about it.
No, it has been bootstrapped through personal funds. We have started small and are working towards building the foundation. We have few milestones to achieve before we gear ourselves for outside funding.
Q5. What market you are specifically targeting?
Anyone who wants to send gifts across India. But easy conversion comes from people who understands the difference between our products and others. There are millions of other online stores selling cookies but only the ones who understands what we are selling would be our target audience.
Q6. How has been the response till now?
Response has been truly overwhelming. Last Diwali was our first big season and we cracked it big time. Followed by Christmas, New Year and then the upcoming Valentine’s Day. We didn’t really expect it to happen so soon. And what’s most rewarding is having repeated customers and they giving us such wonderful feedback without even asking for it.
Q7. What promotional activities you use to market Gogappa.com?
Currently, we are focused on SEO. Something really important and something that has no shortcut. Also, in our case, word of mouth has worked wonders for us.
Q8. What plans are there for the future?
In our field, the most challenging part is coming up with new and unique products. We are at a stage where there are thousands of things that we can do. But we really need to be focused. We have set up few short term goals keeping in mind our long term vision.
Q9. Any specific lesson/story you would like to share as an entrepreneur?
Don’t just blindly fall in love with your idea. Be open and always think out of the box. If you have a big dream, its really important to move out of your comfort zone. You never know what eventually you might land up with. Trust me its a long roller-coaster ride, full of adventures.
Q10. A message you would like to convey to our readers about starting their own venture.
Nothing is too simple. Everyday you will face new challenges and learn something new. Just keep going. Maintain a good balance between planning and execution. And one of the most important thing is having rock-stars in the foundation team. No compromises on that.