Entrepreneur Name: Abhisheik Kamal
Business Name: Siddharth By MKC
Welcome to #eoindia #startupstories Episode 18.
Each week we will ask an Indian entrepreneur 11 questions so that we can all be inspired by their stories.
Siddharth By MKC is a luxury home products producer. Their focus is bringing luxury bed linen, fragrances and bath products to the Indian market – without the high price tag. They partner with small family businesses that take great pride in their tradition, craft, and reputation. They also take advantage of technology, to remove unnecessary steps in getting the products to the consumer. Everything is directly shipped from their studio to the customer. This strategy helps them bring luxury to you at a competitive price.
Sounds great, so lets meet the founder Abhisheik Kamal and hear his #startupstory. Welcome to EOIndia Abhisheik.
1) How did you get your idea for this business?
The idea came from the need to solve different problems. We had firsthand experience and heard from numerous people, expressing dissatisfaction with the combination of quality and prices in the home furnishings market. I also wanted my work to contribute towards uplifting our community in whatever way possible. Thus we decided to empower our NGO – Siddharth Kamal Foundation – sustainably whilst removing its dependence on personal funds.
Fortunately we were able to come up with a common solution wherein we responsibly create products that possess value based on their inherent quality without relying on a brand name to sell. Additionally, a portion of the proceeds from all our products are contributed to the Siddharth Kamal Foundation.
2) Why is “now” a good time for this idea to exist?
I believe there are a number of favorable factors at play. The number of people that choose high quality products are increasing. It’s a step away from the past norm of rapid mass production designed for quick replacement towards products that are meant to last. We’ve started caring more about what we buy, where it comes from and how it was made.
Consumers, in general, are also a lot more receptive of businesses operating in the online space thus it allows us to leverage on more cost effective distribution and marketing. This really helps us in maintaining our commitments to make our products available at accessible prices.
Additionally people are more supportive and vocal about companies that try to make a positive difference to the world. Everybody likes to have a positive impact, no matter how big or small.
3) What was the reaction from your family when you first decided to become an entrepreneur?
My family has always encouraged me to be exploratory in nature, bet on myself and take risks before my responsibilities increase. I think it has been excellent advice and they been extremely supportive in more than financial and emotional ways. I really value the experience and different insights they offer as a sound board. During our discussions my mother and I arrived at the common solution the different problems we wanted to address and founded Siddharth by MKC.
4) What was your biggest failure in business and what did you learn from it?
Thankfully we haven’t had such a failure yet and our home furnishings have been got excellent reception. However, I would like to say that the product development has been difficult, especially with our home fragrances.
You’re going to work with a lot of people to get to where you want. Its essential that the people who are key to your success share the same level of passion and vision. This is so often the difference between success and failure. OR It’s essential that the key people you work with are just as adept and passionate about their own work. While developing the fragrances there were many times when it felt like we were going around in circles or that we couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Such instances truly reveal the character of the team involved.
5) What is your biggest obstacle in the next 12 months and how will you overcome it?
Our biggest obstacle will be conveying the quality of our products through digital mediums. The extremely soft touch of our bed linen, the fluffy feel of our towels and the evocative yet effective home fragrances.
6) What habits contribute to your success?
I do like organisation and things being done properly. But I don’t think I am very habitual in my work.
7) If you had the opportunity to start this business again what would you do differently?
I wouldn’t say that we would do things differently. Our logic and processes have been good from the start and we’ve learnt from the outcomes. I also think that one should judge a process more than a specific result. The funny thing about results is that today you may think of something as a missed opportunity, next month you could be relieved that you dodged a bullet.
8) What is your favourite inspirational quote?
Wow, its really hard to pick just one. Plus I’ve got my favorite inspirational quotes for work, social relations, mischief and so forth. I guess right now it is “Promise me you’ll always remember: You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” by A. A. Milne
9) Where do you find inspiration?
I am into designing tangible objects, so even though at times inspiration does come randomly without call, I mostly find inspiration by actively experiencing and processing my environment. Your surroundings are filled with objects each with their own stories and characteristics. Notice, analyse and make mental notes of what inspires you.
10) What is your favourite book?
11) What advice would you give to someone starting out?
Be prepared for the mental battles. There are going to be moments of doubt, moments that require just grinding the work out and others that are best dealt with tomorrow after a moment’s break.
Thank you Abhisheik for sharing your startup story. I like your advice to Be prepared for the mental battles. It is not far from the truth to say that starting a business is one long mental battle of self belief. Only the strongest will win. We wish Siddharth By MKC. every success in the future. Check out their facebook page and their Instagram feed.
Don’t forget to check out the great books that Abhisheik mentioned. We will be back next week with more #startupstories