Nowadays, BRANDING and Visual Identities play a major role for budding start-ups. It’s a tough world out there if you have a startup and its even tougher if you play in the startup up space. One CEO, a developer and maybe a CTO and a company is born. That’s all you need: your two or three person team, a vision, a little bit of cash and your company is on its way to untold success.
For many, a very crucial element is to turn their startup into a successful company worth of playing in the same space as the world’s biggest tech companies. Startups more often than not don’t think about their brand early enough. But a company’s brand is more than just a way for your audience to recognise your product or pick it out of a crowd of sameness. Your brand, especially when it is good, should be the experience your audience gets from your product.
Think Apple; its brand is one of sophistication, cleanness and simplicity. Apple users feel connected and enhanced by the brand, creating an experience that is more than just usage but an extension of the user.
No matter how brilliant an idea or product is, sometimes it’s quite hard to turn brilliance into profit. Strategically thinking about branding and the story that your brand is trying to tell will inadvertently lead to profit. If your brand cannot be marketed, the chances of profit for an investor are slim and if that’s the case your chances of getting investment is probably zero.
The main motto of a budding start-up should be : Think it, Build it, Brand it!
A good brand has the following things:
A story that different users can connect with. Everything begins with a story and your brand needs to tell the story of your product well and succinctly.
Visual expression, a brand can be expressed in many ways but a well-designed visual expression of what your vision is, which captures the essence of your brand, makes it stick in people’s minds.
Presence. A good brand gives you presence and you must think about the type of presence you want. Presence means market share and market share means money.
Today we are presenting an exclusive interview of Apeksha Vaish, The founder & Director of Appy Designs. This charming, bubbly and young entrepreneur started her own venture recently with just one moto in her mind, giving you a unique & customized brand identity. Appy Designs currently is in business of designing & selling uniquely Mandalas-inspired designer merchandise. their current range includes high-quality laptop skins, notebooks and customised wall frames. Apeksha is a deadly combination with beauty with the brains with an eye for the designs. Her products are used by many small business, startups and large corporates as their marketing & branding material as well as gifting. Lets meet Apeksha and see how her venture is making a difference.
1.What is the Name of Your Venture? Any specific reason for this name?
Its called Appy Designs. Besides being inspired from my name (Apeksha) – it also resonated well with (H)Appy – and it is the ‘Appiness’ that I wish to spread out through my products
2.Who is your target Audience/clients?
We are targeting at any young-at-heart buyers – who are looking at interesting ways to add to their personality and personal aura through using smart & innovative merchandise products.
3.Where is your venture based (city, state, country) & What are your geographical target areas?
While geographically it is based at Delhi, my target market is global!
4.What problems does your venture resolve? What are your products or services?
Appy Designs currently is in business of designing & selling uniquely Mandalas-inspired designer merchandise. Our current range includes high-quality laptop skins, notebooks and customised wall frames.
5.Share the idea or story behind the venture. How did it came to an existence? What motivated you to start your own venture?
Since long, I’ve always been an expressive person – and I loved spirit of adventure, doing unusual things and trying to follow soul-inspired path as opposed to what society would otherwise tell me to. This naturally lead me to series of creative endeavors – and I started my journey as being content writer and corporate trainer. But then, a journey to Himalayas introduced me to concept of Mandalas – and I knew that there had to be way to take the peaceful inspiration of Mandalas amongst the masses – and this thus lead to me start my own series of Mandalas-inspired designer material – and thus, Appy Designs was born.
6.Who are your biggest competitors and how do you differentiate yourself from them?
Designer merchandise is a highly competitive and fragmented market. Eventually, its the strength of your designs and material quality that lets you retain a winning edge. I’m thankful to my clients who have loved my designs so far and have helped us create a unique niche in this domain in such a short span.
7.How did you identify your co-founder? Tell us some thing about your co-founder/s
Currently, I don’t have a co-founder. Though – I have enlisted support of few mentors.
8.How did you hired your first team members? What skills Do you want in your employees/team?
Currently, my team only comprises of few interns who help us with marketing logistics. We have been in market for over 5 months and I guess now is the time that I would start seeking other full time members.
9.What expansion plans are you looking for the next 2 years, next 5 years?
We are seeking to expand the product range and look at setting retail and corporate presence over next 2 years.
10.Where do you want to see yourself in next 10 years?
While 10 years is a very long time – I hope that Appy Designs would be a leading brand in merchandise and spiritual based products – offering vibrancy of bold colors, designs and peace to all its consumers worldwide.
11.What are your goals over the next 1, 3, 6 and 12 months?
As I emphasised before – my next few months – I want to focus on increasing the product range and seeking newer marketing avenues – including hopefully having our first retail offline presence.
12.Have you raised any funding? Or have any plans for the funding?
Right now, I have boot-strapped the business – but yes, we might be seeking funding as we move to expand the business
13.What were the problems you faced during the starting days and how did you resolve them?
As any first time entrepreneur – the key challenges was mis-reading the market to an extent and realising that it takes more time to execute things than what we all hope for. It took me some time to identify & work with right set of vendors and stabilising the current set of products. But in retrospect, I’m happy that it took us some time to establish the market – which we did without compromising on product quality – and hence were able to build a base of highly satisfied and happy consumers.
14.What was the most challenging part of your journey till now? How did you overcome those challenges?
The fact that you are playing in such competitive market, itself is a challenge. But I’m taking each day as it comes – and have confidence in my designs and products. Its been an eventful journey so far and I’m looking towards more adventures!
15.Are you married, single or in a relationship?
16.What are your hobbies? What do you do in your non-work time?
I love reading, listening to music, playing with my dogs and travelling.
17.Whats your favorite food & holiday destination?
I’m a very simple person when it comes to food – and love ‘Ghar ka Khana’. My favourite holiday destination is Himalayas.
18.Whom do you consider your idol or biggest motivator?
My parents. I’d always respect the struggles they have went through to help me become a confident young girl today – and they will always remain my idols.
19.What do you feel is the major difference between entrepreneurs and those who work for someone else?
I guess its all about your self-conviction and courage to follow your own path. Its a very tough and tumultuous journey and definitely not for the faint-hearted – but if you are ready to live life on the edge – then there’s no looking back!
20.If you had the chance to start your career over again, what would you do differently?
I guess I’m at a happy space even right now and would love to continue the journey as it is.
21.How has being an entrepreneur affected your family & Social life?
Well, it does takes you away – as day to day operations keep you pre-occupied and unless a job, entrepreneurship is a 24X7 engagement. But so far, I’ve tried to maintain a balance and does try to ensure that I do take out my-time – which is critical to give me that critical white-space to strategise and look at business from an oversight perspective.
22.Anything, you would like to say to our readers or upcoming entrepreneurs?
Just keep going. The journey isn’t easy – but the joy of winning each day and achieving smaller goals – is immense and should keep you motivated.
23.Tell us something about your education & family background.
I’ve done my graduation and my family has been in their own business.
24.What is your USP which makes it unique & different from other start-ups in similar domains.
As I said – its my designs, product quality and how we reach out to our consumers – which differentiates us
25. What do you think is the biggest threat to the success of small businesses & Start-ups today?
i’m not sure how I can standardize this answer – as each business and startup will have their own challenges. I guess this is a journey where 99 out of 100 things can go wrong – but you have to persistent enough to keep the pot boiling.
26. Do you consider yourself successful and by what means do you measure success?
I guess I am. Coming from a humble background and being able to create my own unique identity in this domain, is no small feat. Ofcourse, there are miles to go – but I’m looking at enjoying & learning all through the journey.
27.Please share complete name, address, phone number, email id & website of Your Business & Contact Person