Niche E-Commerce Brands In The Making: Art And Decors & Gizmofashion

Inspiring Stories

16 November 2017

Niche E-Commerce Brands In The Making: Art And Decors & Gizmofashion

  • Posted by Awfis Editorial

#inspiringstories @Awfis is an initiative by the Awfis Editorial Team to showcase the brilliant business ideas and the journey of our start-up member community.

Having worked for 10 long years, Divyan Gupta decided it was time to find inspiration elsewhere. In 2008, he took a conscious call to move from his rewarding career at one of the most prestigious Fortune 500 and FTSE 10 companies. An MBA degree from Boston offered him the opportunity for a much-needed time-off from his professional life, after which he went back to working in the U.S. and a little later, in India.

However, in 2012, Divyan was all set to take off on a different route. He had already comprehended the infinite scope for disruption in literally every industry before taking a sabbatical from his blooming career. Brushing shoulders with people from different walks of life like academia, government, professional and business worlds had further fanned his entrepreneurial streak. Thus, his brainchildren – Art and Decors, and Gizmofashion took off.

While both of them are curated e-commerce brands, Art and Decors specialises in India’s first affordable luxury brand for décor items and lifestyle products that cater to the preferences of global citizens.

The brainwave for dealing in paintings and artifacts struck Divyan when finding quality décor for his new home in Delhi turned out to be a task for him quite unexpectedly. He discovered that there were hardly any places from where he could source quality and affordable home décor that met his personal choices. The options tapered down to either purchasing ‘whatever is available’ from the flea markets or settle for the ones from the private art galleries that showcased elitist and premium artworks that were devoid of sufficient information.

Another challenge for him was that “even for the décor products, the only choice was between imported products from Asian countries with really no legacy or pedigree and quality or products made in local markets but being sold as high-end décor products.” Discovering that this problem was definitely not unique only to him, he knew he had experienced his ‘Eureka moment’.

 

In a separate instance, Divyan faced technical problems with his 3-month old smartphone that he had bought from a popular e-commerce ‘marketplace’. He took it to the service centre only to be told that the warranty had already expired.

He felt cheated, understanding that a refurbished phone had been sold to him repackaged as a “new” unit. Knowing that this cannot be a one-off incident, he decided to address the plight of the Indian masses who are regularly duped by online marketplace sellers. Thus his second venture, Gizmofashion, was born.

What had started as a brand for fashionable accessories like cases and covers for mobile phones, laptop, among other types of gizmos, diversified into manufacturing 100% genuine and manufacturer warranty-backed electronic products as well.

 

Since the last 5 years, Gizmofashion makes gizmos from global tech giants available to people as is, offering their products directly to customers without being a marketplace. Currently, it has collaborated with companies like Apple, Samsung, Canon, Gitzo, National Geographic, Sony and many more.

Their constant efforts in innovation has earned them prestigious honours and recognition of being an ‘Innovative Startup’ by the Government of India under their flagship Startup India program, Top 100 Companies in Asia by Red Herring, among others.

Divyan strongly believes in maintaining a lean team structure and enhancing efficiencies through automation. He owes a large part of the success of his business endeavour to his brother, Katyayan, for managing a part of the business along with his job. A competent team of engineers and designers further contributes to the success story by improving the products and services through innovation. Last but not the least, their customer service bot, Anya, helps them leverage automation through artificial intelligence to delight customers. This makes them the first e-commerce brand to have a bot. Both human efforts and Artificial Intelligence has set the pace for success and are taking him closer to his dream of building “profitable niche e-commerce brands from India that are within the top 3 global brands.”

Divyan strongly feels that discipline is critical to every sphere, more so for entrepreneurs. Distractions while working from home and at coffee shops are a well-known evil, making co-working spaces score over these options. Besides, it saves them from the hassles of undertaking the non-core activities of managing their own workspace. Besides, he concurs Awfis offers him the opportunity to network with other people and gain inspiration from them. While the community feel and professional yet jovial team at Awfis makes it a fun experience for his team to work here, he would have liked it a bit more greenery around his workspace. We will keep that in mind, Divyan!

We, at Awfis, cannot but agree that Divyan’s journey so far has been an inspiring one, and are proud to foster such inspiring stories in our co-work spaces.

Ever wondered what kind of a leader are you?

Inspiring Stories

15 February 2019

Ever wondered what kind of a leader are you?

  • Posted by Awfis Editorial

Most of us have our favourite leaders, either direct managers or more famous people, who we admire and look up to. As is wont to happen, we instinctively pick up traits (hopefully, all positive) from each of the leaders that we come across, and that often defines what kind of managers we become.

If you thought that most leaders get lumped under two categories – good or bad, with an average thrown in – you’ll be surprised to know that you are mistaken.

Yes, leaders can be good or bad, and mediocre, but the type of leadership they display is often determined by the role they have to play, the people that they lead and the demands of the situation. Yes, leadership styles often change and the same person may be found donning more than one type of leadership hat.

The list is quite exhaustive, so let’s plunge into it right away, shall we?

#1 Democratic Leadership

Here the leader actively involves subordinates in the decision making process. Of course, the final responsibility lies with the leader, but there is greater delegation of authority and autonomy. The most interesting aspect of such a leadership style is that communication flows both ways. This is the ideal form of leadership and it is identified as fair, creative, courageous, intelligent, competent, and honest.

The only flipside to this type of leadership is that its processes are slower and it might not be the most effective in organisations where quick decisions are needed.

#2 Transformational Leadership

As the title suggests, this leadership style entails bringing about change – be it in the organization, teams, individuals, and in oneself as well. A transformational leader looks for ways to motivate others to exceed their expectations and their abilities too. They set more challenging goals and often even obtain greater performance by creating an environment that is intellectually stimulating. Since transformational leaders empower their followers, this type of leadership sees deep commitment and more satisfied employees.

#3 Transactional Leadership

In this form of leadership, roles and expectations are clearly defined. The leader outlines a process in which followers get immediate, tangible rewards for implementing the leader’s instructions. This type of leadership might sound rather rudimentary, or transactional, and in a manner of speaking it does have a clear chain of command. However, in any form of leadership it is important to state expectations clearly, give directions, share feedback and allocate rewards.

While many believe this to be an effective method to achieve targets and complete short-term goals, it often doesn’t allow employees to reach their full creative potential.

#4 Team Leadership

This leadership requires presenting a powerful image of the team’s future, what it will achieve and what it stands for. The idea is to inspire and impart a strong sense of purpose. Team leadership means working with the hearts and the minds of the team members. This is a slightly risky leadership and it may not always succeed as it mainly depends upon how effective the top leadership is.

#5 Coaching Leadership

Coaching leadership requires teaching and guiding followers. This type of leadership is useful in settings where there is a need for quick results or to see an improvement in performance. In this leadership style, followers are guided on improving their skills. Coaching leadership motivates its followers; it inspires and encourages them. To perform effectively, a coaching leadership requires continuous monitoring of group dynamics, offering process recommendations and bringing timely interventions to keep the group on track.

#6 Strategic Leadership Style

This style of leadership needs the input of a leader who is the head of the organization but isn’t limited to the top of the organization alone. It caters to a much larger audience, across all levels, who are aiming to create a high performance team or organization. The role of a strategic leader is to close the gap between new possibilities and practicality by coming up with a new set of ideas and habits.  If the organisation is to see a change, it requires strategic thinking through effective leadership.

#7 Laissez-faire Leadership

Here departments and employees are given the authority to work as they wish to, with minimal or zero interference. This leads to reduced accountability and has been shown to be the least satisfying and least effective management style of all.

#8 Cross-Cultural Leadership

This leadership is mostly found in organisations where the business works in a global market and has various cultures within its society. Such organisations are often international ones who require leaders with the skills to tweak their leadership approach to suit different cultures.

Conclusion

These are the many ways that an individual can lead an organization or a group of people. Not all the styles are perfect for all the situations mentioned. It is up to you, eventually, to see which one fits your personality, your organisation and mainly the situation that requires you to take up the leadership mantle in the first place.

 

Image Source: Google Image Search (lancersglobal)

2018: The year that was, and what a year that was!

Inspiring Stories

31 December 2018

2018: The year that was, and what a year that was!

  • Posted by Awfis Editorial

We’re deep in the holiday season, with New Year celebrations in full swing. The mood is upbeat, work is a little relaxed and businesses are gearing up for the coming year.

As we approach the end of 2018, let’s stop and look back at all that we achieved.

It has been an incredible journey at Awfis. We set ourselves challenging goals and we are delighted to have achieved most and even surpassed a few of our expectations.

Last year saw us expand our services to 55 centers across 9 cities, with the latest addition being the Awfis center at Chandigarh.

Awfis Center At Chandigarh

Our Product innovations like National Pass & Virtual Office continued to resonate with our audience. The Rewards program with its many alliances allowed the community to enjoy perks and benefits through the year.

Operating in a niche, constantly evolving, and still relatively new sector requires us to reinvent ourselves all the time. This is amply illustrated through the many initiatives that we took and the several milestones we achieved.

 

The year started on a fit note. Under the aegis of Awfis Moments we organized a Fitness Edition in association with Fitternity across our centers. From a bike ride in Kolkata, to Tabata in Bangalore and Bolly-fitness in Delhi, it was an exhilarating experience. The culmination in the form of a Morning Fitness Party happened at Powai in Mumbai. From quick workout sessions of Yogalates, Zumba, and Bollywood dance to healthy munchies from Epigamia, Get Baked and Mo Super Foods; the party had it all.

A few months post fitness, we got the community grooving to the Bollywood Edition of Awfis Moments. This spectacular evening, with its pulsating music, people dressed for the theme, delicious food and a busy dance floor, was a blockbuster event, held simultaneously across cities.

 The fun didn’t end there, but continued through the year with all the festivals that followed. We organized Holi, Diwali and Christmas parties at all our centers pan-India. The themes were different for each, but the underlying idea was the same – to have a great time and to get the community to engage.

Besides festivals, the year was replete with joyous birthday celebrations, delicious food fests, Karaoke evenings and Awfis parties. The launch of #HumFitTohAwfisFit saw the community adopt a healthier lifestyle and garnered enthusiastic participation in Awfis Premier League, Awfis Run and trekking expeditions.

Goodbye 2018

The year-that-was was undoubtedly exceptional. However, there is still plenty to achieve and we see the coming year already lined up with several opportunities for success.

As 2018 comes to an end, it is time for us to thank all our partners, customers and team who have supported us and been part of this momentous journey.

From all of us at Awfis, best wishes for a fantastic new year.

 

Staying on top your competitor’s strategy just got easier with these must-have tools

Inspiring Stories

27 December 2018

Staying on top your competitor’s strategy just got easier with these must-have tools

  • Posted by Awfis Editorial

It isn’t enough to just be good at your calling and expect customers to troop in. You need to have your finger on the pulse of the market, but more importantly, you also should know what your competitors are up to.

Short of peeping into their office or sending in a spy, what can you do to know your biggest competitor’s business strategy?

Say hello to technology. Thanks to numerous business tools, it is easy to keep a tab on what competition is doing from the comfort of your air-conditioned office. Or even when on the go.

Let’s get cracking, shall we?

#1 Google Alerts

One of the best ways to monitor the web for interesting new content, google alerts is not just easy to use but it’s free too as well. The features are simple and well-suited to beginners.

Here’s how to get started and leverage this tool to the fullest:

Click here and based on your specific query, such as your firm name or any topic you wish to track, create your alert.

Next, you can customize your alert based on whether you wish to track all your online mentions or simply news, videos, etc. Select how often you want to receive these alerts and choose to track all results or only the best ones. To refine your search further and to eliminate unrelated additional notifications, remember to add quotations around your search query. This way Google will send you a notification only when the words are strung together in order.

#2 Alexa

Besides playing music and being a family’s digital companion, Alexa has plenty of tricks up its sleeve for businesses as well.

Several organizations already rely on Alexa’s ability to rank websites and display traffic related data. However, not many are aware that it can perform competitor analysis too.

Most competitor research tools require you to know who your competition is – brand name, domains, and keywords. But what if you aren’t aware who you are competing against? That’s where Alexa can help you.

With Alexa, you can track other websites in real time and also compare your website to industry benchmarks. Additionally, Alexa can help you discover sites that you can partner with or even write a guest post for.

#3 Social Mention

A vast majority of small businesses understand the importance of using social media to gain customers. With Social Mention, you can track competitors on all social media platforms and see what people are saying about them.

All you have to do is type in keywords or brands, and the tool will do the rest. You can use the tool better by understanding why a competitor received a lot of negative comments and avoiding making the same mistakes. Likewise, for positive comments, where you can improve upon their strategies.

#4 SEMrush

One of the challenges of competitive analysis is converting data into actionable insights. SEMrush makes it so easy. This all-in-one tool takes care of various digital marketing aspects, like PPC, SEO, content, and much more.

Enter the website URL that you wish to study and SEMrush will conjure up a graphic report with relevant data including traffic, rank, ads, and keywords. You can also use the tool for a comparative analysis of various sites, including your own.

Do check out alternative tools Woorank or Ahrefs for detailed competitive analysis, including link targets and backlinks.

#5 Pro Rank Tracker

As the name says, Pro Rank Tracker is one of the smarter tools out there to research keywords.

All you need to do is input your competitors’ websites and the tool will throw back a bunch of keywords and their rankings. You even have the option of deciding which search engine you wish to track these keywords on.

The kicker with Pro Rank Tracker is that you can localize your search and thus optimize your local SEO strategy. If you’re a small business that is still operating locally, this is a fantastic tool to have in your competitive analysis arsenal.

#6 SimilarWeb

SimilarWeb is quite the handy tool to have when you’re conducting competitor research. It’s been designed to help you keep a sharp eye on your competitors’ online strategies and analytics.

This resourceful tool will help you dig deep into various sites, apps, and platforms. Simply type in the website or mobile app, and click ‘search’. With SimilarWeb you can compare statistics from multiple competitors, identify emerging industry trends, and even understand customer behavior. The tool extracts data, processes and organizes it, and then prepares a report with all that you need.

#7 SpyFu

The last one on our list turns the whole competitor analysis into a spy game. This tool will unearth all the information that you could need on their online strategy.

SpyFu can tell you which keywords your competitors have bought on Google Adwords recently. You can check their organic search rankings and even view the variations of their ads. Other information, like how many clicks they got, or how much they pay for each key phrase, is critical when planning your PPC campaigns.

Conclusion

Your competition is one of the biggest factors to influence your business. To stay a step ahead of them, you need to keep an eye on what they are up to. Pick the tool that you think works best for you, and build and improve your marketing strategy accordingly.