Have you ever thought of giving your laptop a personalized look? If yes, then what is the method that first flashed in your mind. More often than not, putting up some stickers or perhaps a skin would flashed. And yes, this is one of the easiest and best methods to impart a personalized look on your gadgets.
To cater to this need and demand, a startup theskinmantra.com has come into play and they are doing good. The venture is started by VIKITOS and they are into business of manufacturing and selling laptop skins.
We talked to Akash Sachdev about their business.
Q1. Tell us how you got the idea to start theskinmantra.com?
The idea of Laptop skin stuck me in stages and was not a eureka moment. I used to constantly think that how there are so many ways and mediums where individuality can be expressed . but people in India in general do not celebrate individuality. So when I got sick of my Managers Job in a BPO, I saw laptop skin in US and quickly realized that not one vendor was doing a decent quality laptop Skins in India. Over a period one month I decided to take the plunge and opened an Online store and quit my Job. I wanted to do something online as well as creative . This seemed like low entry barrier venture where most of what I wanted would be fulfilled.
Q2. What types of studies were done to explore the market potential of such a product?
Our study or home work was pertaining to the quality of the Laptop Skins and material that we would be using but not much study for target audience, purely based on gut feel.
Q3. What types of customers you cater to?
Primarily Youth, however we were surprised to get calls from very reputed companies to design and manufacture skins for them, even though we never consciously targeted them. Some of our biggest orders has been to B-Schools and Educational Institutes. We have done laptop skins for some movies as well. Since then we have also changed our pitching to suit corporate structure .
Q4. How has been the response till now?
There are 2 ways to answer this question. The response from the people who have discovered us and purchased our product has been phenomenal. They have done everything that one could do because the Product is really quite unique and the laptop becomes an extension of your personality.
The other side is that the concept has not caught on like Wild Fire and we are partly responsible for that. We have not really taken many out of the box marketing approaches. We are usually busy fulfilling existing orders than to focus on growing the market for our product.
Q5. What promotional activities you use to market theskinmantra.com?
1) Paid Web Advertising
2) Referral Incentives
We also wanted to explore the Deal Site option , but the way of working of most Deal Sites will make any genuine vendor cringe. To give you an example, when we wanted to given small (10% 20% ) but genuine discounts, we were asked bluntly to inflate the Price Point to show a heavier discount value. The users and online buyers are smart these days, and do not fall for these gimmicks and that’s why you hear so many online stores getting shut. We feel unless there is real value at offer, IT biz cannot be sustained.
Q6. Is there any competition in the market?
Yes, there is….initially we used to be jolted as soon as some one new would come up with laptop skins. But our effort to give best possible quality at very attractive Price Point has stood the test of competition even from some very big players.
Q7. What plans are there for the future?
We have been long wanting to enter into Gadget Skin Category but were not able to do so because there were practically very less options to give quality material.
Finally, we have been able to grab hold of great raw material from Germany, and should be starting soon with Skin across various Gadgetry. Apart from skins, we feel that anything which has blank space is a REAL ESTATE for expressing creativity , so we will launch some Mugs, Car Bumper Tags , Designer Laptop Sleeves
Q8. A message you would like to convey to our readers about starting their own venture.
There are many many things that I would want to share. But if it would be just one thing, that ‘Be Passionate about the Final Vision’. The most difficult part of starting up is not starting but ‘staying on the course’ especially when things don’t go as planned. There are countless obstacles that will come your way. This is only possible when you have lots of passion for what you are starting.
If there is lack of belief in your concept or you are looking for security from the outset, I would suggest borrowing money from one of the “rich uncles “that everyone has and opening a franchisee of a proven business.