Bookish Santa | A startup that brings original book reviews from other readers to your desktop
- ByStartupStory | November 17, 2022
“Don’t take it out on Instagram gurus and influencers, who say if you follow your passion, you’ll definitely be successful in a year or so. When you start something, it’s going to be a long and difficult journey. There will be both, ups and downs, prepare to face them. When you transition from regular employment to entrepreneurship, be prepared to struggle for at least 5-6 years. You have to fight against all odds and keep surviving, only then will you see growth,” Rajesh Kumarfounder of Bookish Santa Claus in an exclusive interview with Startup story.
Rajesh was pursuing his CA internship in Gurgaon when he realized that it was not his area of interest and he would not be able to do it long term as he did not like his job . When he and his friends were discussing something, they mentioned that they both wanted to start a new business. He had spent his childhood reading stories and comics and that’s where the light came from! He suggested starting something related to books.
They immediately started working and researching how to create a start-up and launch an e-commerce platform. They did everything from scratch and even created their first logo in Microsoft Word! They decided to name their company — Bookish Santa Claus because they wanted to evoke a feeling of joy in people.
“It was all the YouTube tutorials that helped us, we were very impulsive, we picked the first colors from the color palette for our website logo and built it with GoDaddy”voiced Rajesh.
Grow the business
They started by posting about the books they had on Instagram and used that as an initial channel for growth, and brought it all to life in one day. The next day they received their first order. They reached around 1000 subscribers in one day. This motivated them enormously and pushed them to continue. Eventually, they started connecting with book sellers and offering to sell their books online as they started getting more and more orders.
“If you don’t change you won’t survive, you can’t operate with the same morals you used last year, convince people to change and show them that they can make improvements to an already existing traditional method. was the biggest challenge for us.added Rajesh, explaining the obstacles encountered so far in their journey.
Getting through the pandemic
They weren’t very well prepared when the pandemic hit and thought they couldn’t survive, but they didn’t give up hope. As the warehouse was near Rajesh’s house, he slept in the warehouse and they started working on their website and increased the amount of content available there.
On the contrary, the team has become much more connected because of the pandemic. No one has left their team since the start of their journey. They had all their staff vaccinated, while Rajesh was still in the warehouse trying to get books shipped. Bookish Santa was one of the few functioning websites and was tirelessly delivering books during the first phase of lockdown. Their growth quickly doubled during the first three months of the pandemic.
Establish their unique presence in the market
“Some websites may say – we sell books with very lower margins, some may say – we sell the widest variety of books, but apart from all that, we also help people discover new books, from past three years, we blog about books regularly every day.replied Rajesh when asked how they differ from other platforms in the market.
They have a huge collection of reviews from a community of avid book lovers. People who have a knack for reading and writing can join them to write freelance. In addition, works published by writers, approved by the company’s publisher, can also be paid.
“Every website has a list of bestsellers, but we help people find new books, we help them discover the books they’re going to love thanks to the large amount of book reviews and a loyal community. Not only that, we also help new authors who are not on the bestseller list to get discovered, we write for them, promote them and help them sell their books”he commented again.
Projects for the future
They have been investing in paid ads and marketing lately. In addition, organizing events such as book fairs and community meetings is part of their plans. They have started their packing center in Bangalore, as statistically more than 50% of their orders come from Bangalore, and also plan to open another one in Kolkata by December. Not only that, but they also plan to bring in local publishers from cities that are not available on other platforms.
They are also working on creating software that will help bookstores with inventory management, billing systems and website creation. Moreover, they help local bookstores who are unable to sell their books online due to various reasons and subsequently grow their business quite effectively.
“By March our plan is to roll it out nationwide, we plan to include over a million bookstores, even if they don’t have computers and printers, they can go online even with the help of their cell phones. , we will reduce shipping costs and delivery times by getting you your favorite book at the bookstore nearest you”Rajesh added.
At this time, they have no plans to fundraise as such since they have already raised a funding round from an HNI. In addition to this, they also generate revenue from their e-commerce website.
“We can do Series A after we launch our software,” he finally added in conclusion.
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