Meet an Engineer Turned Entrepreneur Faran Imam. Managing Director Walham Group & Founder of Wings backpack

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As soon as holidays approach, we start planning for a trip to visit and explore the world around you. The very thought of going on a trip or cruise or tour is refreshing and fills us with extraordinary energy.

Now, the first thing to do in such situation is to pack according to your needs. We tend to take a lot of things just in case we require them, and so end up keeping in our bags many things that we might not require. But the question is why take chances? So, in order to solve this problem, we should have a backpack which can also accommodate our extras while keeping our swag intact. We all know that today style and durability are of much importance. Everyone is conscious of what he is carrying and what brand he is wearing. It’s a fact.

Therefore, Wings, a backpack manufacturing company brings you a high range of backpacks which cater to all age group. The design, pattern, space management, quality and durability –everything is covered in their products. it is important to have a high quality backpack rather than something mundane. You never know when that mundane backpack might betray you. The backpacks from Wings is unique. Most high end brands are extremely costly, but Wings combines the best of both the worlds. It fits our pocket with the quality and style that other high-end brands offer. So, in the hour of excitement and joy, let’s make a wise decision and carry a Wings backpack in the next trip we go.
Let’s hear more about the true essence of Wings backpack from Faran Imam, Managing Director, Walham Group
1. What is the name of your venture? Any specific reason for keeping this name?
The name of our company manufacturing high-end, low cost, durable and world class backpack is Wings- Fly High With Wings. The reason for choosing this name is that our products are light weight yet durable. We offer a complete range of some uniquely designed backpacks which are light weight and long lasting.

2. Who is your target Audience/clients?
Our target audience is youth, within the age group of 10-30, mainly the
school-goers, college-goers, students, young travelers, trekkers, etc. However, we also cater to professionals, sportspersons who are into trekking and gyming.

3. Where your venture is based (city, state, country) & what are your geographical target areas?
We are based in Bangalore. Our geographical target area is whole of India.

4. What problems does your venture resolve? What are your products or services?
We are into manufacturing of high quality backpacks. Also, it has unique designs which appeal to the youth—my target audience. Our
products range mainly include school bags, college bags, gym bags, laptop bags, sling bags, sports bag and so on.

5. Share the idea or story behind the venture. How did it come about? What motivated you to start your own venture?
In a market survey, we found out that backpack industries are highly unorganized. Though the market size is very high, there are only a few
companies who are well organized. However, they cater to only 30% of the total market available in India. Between organized companies and unorganized companies, there is a huge gap in terms of offering good quality products having durability, design and most importantly lower price. So, that creates a niche which is known as QDDE( Quality, Durability, Design and Economic). We cater to this niche and this niche has a high potential. And we are trying to pitch our product and develop a brand equity into that niche. The motivation came from an urge to stand out in this niche.

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6. Who are your biggest competitors and how do you differentiate yourself from them?
As far the competition is concerned, we are not competing with any high end brands such as Skybags, American Tourister ,Wildcraft etc. Our competitors are the local and unorganized brands. in the niche about which I talked about earlier, these local companies are somehow lacking, and there we come into the picture. Our design & pattern as well as quality makes us different from others in that niche.

7. How did you identify your co-founder? Tell us something about your co-founder/s?
No co-founder.

8. How did you hire your first team members? What skills do you want in your employees/team?
We came across a gentleman called Umesh Hookeri, who proposed this idea of starting Wings. And rest is history, and he is the one who made our team.

9. What expansion plans are you looking for the next 2 years, next 5 years?
As a matter of fact, we want to be recognized in every corner of India, starting from  North and South to the East and West. Secondly, during the market survey, we found that there is no such backpack brand which specifically caters to the lady’s segment. We are planning a market potential specifically for women like, working women and housewives, school girls, college girls, etc.

10. Where do you want to see yourself in next 10 years?
In the next ten years, we are planning to diversify into other brands as well. As I said for ladies we will have an exclusive brand in the future soon. Secondly, our target is to enter high-end brand segment, where we will be specifically catering to the international customers.
11. What are your goals over the next 1, 3, 6 and 12 months?
To expand my products and business and keep on adding exclusive brands as per the requirements of the public.

12. Have you raised any funding? Or have any plans for the funding?
We have our own investors who are ready to fund, but we haven’t raised any fund yet. In future as we grow, we will definitely plan on raising funds in order to sustain.

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13. What were the problems you faced during the starting days and how did you resolve them?
During the early days, since we were not so much known in the market, the channels from manufacturers to distributor, distributor to retailers and then finally to the end users would restrict our growth. The distributors were very reluctant to take the distributorship. Once we overcame that problem, the retailers would not keep our products in their shops. But due to our efforts and some developing relationship in the market, we got our first breakthrough. In Gujarat, we had some friends who helped us get over this problem. And so the first sale we made was in Gujarat. From there, there is no looking back, today we have appointed 8 distributors. By word of mouth, we started getting other distributors. So, now we have distributor in Kerala, U.P,  Delhi, Punjab, Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa, Maharashtra and Hyderabad– we have got it all covered.

14. What was the most challenging part of your journey till now? How did you overcome those challenges?
Basically, developing the products was really very challenging. We needed to synchronize the team of manufacturers with the design & pattern team. We had good designers, good pattern masters, but the problem was to see the product in reality. We had to put in a lot of effort to synergize between these two teams (Design and Manufacturing). We overcame the problem and as a result produced products that comply exactly with the design, and as a result we are now accepted in the market.
15. Are you married, single or in a relationship?
Married

16. What are your hobbies? What do you do in your non-work time?
I play indoor games like Table Tennis. I am a social-media addict as well.

17. What’s your favorite food & holiday destination?
My favorite holiday destination is Himalayas ( North India). I like local foods. The local cuisine of any place.

18. Whom do you consider your idol or biggest motivator?
Ex CEO of Ford, Mr. Lee Iacocca. He was chucked out from Ford when Ford was at its peak. He then joined Chrysler Motors. At the time of his joining Chrysler Motors was on the verge of closure. However, with his untiring effort he raised it from its sinking state. Today it’s one of the biggest car manufacturers in the world. That happened because of team effort. He first formed a team and then took on the challenge. That’s the way I was motivated to go. I also built a good team first.

19. What do you feel is the major difference between entrepreneurs and those who work for someone else?
For an entrepreneur, it is mandatory to be a great motivator. He should think in terms of strategy not task. And you have to have a clarity, for sure, to fit into the role of an entrepreneur. On the other hand, an employee has a certain task to do and once that is done with, he is
free. So, the growth potential of an entrepreneur is very high.
20. If you had the chance to start your career over again, what would you do differently?
Basically, I am a water treatment expert. So, if I started my career again I would become a water treatment expert.

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21. How has being an entrepreneur affected your family & Social life?
Initially, it was very challenging because I took up a new responsibility and unless I made some sense out of it, I wouldn’t let that go. So, the drawback was that I couldn’t spend some quality time with my family and friends. All day I was busy in figuring out strategies and planning out good deals out of my business. It affected my family big way. But now things have settled and that phase is over.
I do spend quality time with my family.
22. Anything, you would like to say to our readers or upcoming entrepreneurs?
One of the important things is to not get affected by failures. Failing is inevitable, but that doesn’t mean you will give up. If you give up at that point, you will never realize success. Another important point is that the entrepreneurs are very offensive about fund-raising. Funding is not a problem, if you have a good concept, good idea then people will fund in your product. So, focus on your concept your ideas and most important develop your skill sets to make success inevitable.

23. Tell us something about your education & family background
I am an MBA. My father was a government employee but I chose to work in a private company of my own. I am married and have 3 daughters. My father is no more and my mother lives with us.

24. What is your USP which makes it unique & different from other start-ups in similar domains?
The product design and my team gives me an edge.

25. What do you think is the biggest threat to the success of small businesses & Start-ups today?
The biggest threat to a small business is lack of innovative ideas.

26. Do you consider yourself successful and by what means do you measure success?
I wouldn’t consider myself as successful now, but may be later. I think I will measure my success once my brand is known all around the world.

27. Please share complete name, address, phone number, email id & website of Your Business & Contact Person

Faran Imam
Director
Walham Group
1250, 10th Main, 2nd Stage, W.O.C Road, Mahalakshipuram, Bangalore-560086
Ph. No. +91-7676205060 Mob. +91-9955990142
www.walham.in
www.wingsbags4you.com

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