TheSouledstore : Aditya Sharma

Q1.How would you describe TheSouled Store in under 50 words?

The Souled Store is an online brand that offers a wide range of quirky and licensed merchandise like t-shirts, backpacks, phone covers, boxers, posters, badges and a lot more. Inspired by pop-culture, the unique merchandise available on The Souled Store is for people who love to express themselves creatively and freely.

Q2.Who is the team behind your venture?

The Souled Store currently has 3 co-founders - Aditya Sharma, Vedang Patel, & Rohin Samtaney. The idea for The Souled Store was conceived over evening chai in the canteen of our previous office. I was looking to start something since a while, but was stuck with the mundane corporate work life. We wanted to focus our work and effort into something we could call our own. We figured that if we had to take any risk in life, now was the time.

Q3.What is your work style?

We believe in a professional yet a chill fun loving culture at work. Our office timings are 10 am to 6 pm 5 days a week. The office an open door policy which helps the junior most employee connect to any of the Founders. Here are a few things which define the workstyle
• Recreational Room with Bean bags, Board Games, Floor Cushions, a Bookshelf (books can be borrowed), Huge Speakers and unlimited access to the internet
• Gaming Sessions which include hosting Counterstrike or NFS tournaments on the office LAN
• Festival celebrations and annual office trips

Q4.What are the future plans for growth?

Yes. We have a lot of plans lined up for 2017. We aim to be India's largest brand for quirky & licensed merchandise by the end of this year. We currently have the following brands on the website.
• A wide range of licensees - DC, Marvel, Star Wars, WWE, FRIENDS, The Big Bang Theory, Lord of The Rings, Pokemon, Harry Potter, Looney Tunes Scooby Doo, Flintstones, Mortal Kombat, Southpark, Spongebob, Peanuts & Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
• We are exclusive partners for music bands like Nucleya, SICKFLIP etc, comedians like AIB, SnG, Zakir Khan etc, Kabbadi Teams like Bengaluru Bulls, Bengal Warriors to name a few

Q5.How did you acquire your first customers and what has been the learning along the way?

We use both online and offline channels for marketing :
• We are active on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram through our social media channel (thesouledstore). Most of our spending is on Facebook and Google ads
• We collaborate with music festivals and do offline events to increase our reach to college students
• We also have a referral and loyalty program on the website which helps us get new customers and retain them as well

Q6.Who is your typical customer?

Anyone interested in pop culture and quirky merchandise is our audience. Although, most of our sales come from people between the age group of 16-28 with girls contributing to 40% of sales

Q7.What would you say is the biggest lesson you have learned while running ‘The Souled Store’?

Anyone interested in pop culture and quirky merchandise is our audience. Although, most of our sales come from people between the age group of 16-28 with girls contributing to 40% of sales

Q8.What is the biggest hurdle you have faced or are still facing?

There were a lot of hurdles we faced while starting the business. None of us were from the industry we were going to enter. Issues ranged from figuring registrations, licenses, accounting and compliance etc. to unprofessional business ethics. Since we are very particular about the quality of our products, the biggest hurdle till date has been ensuring proper timelines and quality.

Q9.If you could only give one piece of advice, what would it be?

There are a few things that I learnt while starting the business
• Be Patient - No product or venture will succeed without patience from the Founders for achieving their vision
• Love what you do - Do not force yourself to work or do things just for money or fame. You will fail most of the times
• Do not give up - There will be a lot of moments when things will not go as per the plan. Try the same thing differently but keep going
• Whatever you're thinking, think bigger - Dream big, plan small

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