“Because I’ve a better shot at glory”: Bharat Sethi, Founder PosterGully

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“At PosterGully.com we don’t just sell posters & a huge range of merchandise we sell happiness, we sell spices to jazz up your life.

PosterGully is designed not to be just a store but an experience, a space that engages you and inspires you to find your identity.”

This is how PosterGully Facebook page introduce itself. Well before you conclude it as bragging, visit their store once. I am pretty sure you’ll be convinced they are not exaggerating anything.

PosterGully was launched in June 2012 with aim to offer customers legal firangi maal (foreign merchandise) at desi (affordable) price. Its founder Bharat Sethi who is crazy for merchandise especially for posters since his childhood, is an Economic Honours graduate from Hans Raj College, University of Delhi. Bharat who now heads the operations and strategy department of PosterGully, has worked in past for a strategy consulting company (start-up) based out of IIM and Gerson Lehrman Partners. Back in 2012, he risked 2 lacs of his saving to materialise PosterGully. If you ask him what inspired him to take such a big step, he says “I am a part of PosterGully simply because I’m a problem solver. I have a passion for what I’m doing and that’s why I’m doing it. Whether it’s the supply chain issue or partnering with the next hot brand, I love it. It inspires me. It makes me feel safe & comfortable. I feel at home doing it. And there’s nothing else I’d rather do. Nothing.” Above all, he feels he started up because he has a better shot at glory. Many of the world’s most admired people are entrepreneurial.

Another ambitious risk taker Nimish Gopal joined Bharat in Dec’12 to spearhead PosterGully. He is a Bachelor of Biotechnology from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Roorkee and works in the domains of Marketing and Brand Development apart from heading projects of Community Building & Campus Ambassador.

Dave McClure (Founding partner and Silt Lord of business incubator 500 Startups) has once defined start-up as a company that’s is confused about

1. What its product is?

2. Who its customers are?  And

3. How to make money?

To prove Mr Dave McClure wrong is not my intention but for sure same is not the case with these guys.  They have answers, better to say reasonable answers. About product thing Bharat says “PosterGully is a platform that lets people choose products from the latest pop culture phenomenon to favourite hobbies, activities, & interests; one-of-a-kind designs & merchandise. Our marketplace is focused on creating unique designs & we’re stringent with the kind of products we offer. We’re currently targeting products with high utility & a rather easy-to-build backend.” Now it does not take a genius to figure out because of nature of product PosterGully offers, majority of the customer will be based in metro cities. Bharat confirms “We’ve seen strong traction from 16-25 year olds in Metro cities. We’re currently trying to launch products for the masses & would then geographically target Tier B & C cities as well.” So they do not only understand their existing customer well but also have a plan to attract new customers in future. And this is good enough to answers Mr Dave last question. You have to agree there is be no better way to generate money then increasing customer base. Now when he is talking about future let me ask him what is next for PosterGully? “We’re currently in talks with some of the most high profile angels in India. We’re focusing on fund raising now & realize that it’s a full time job & a trade-off between building your business and taking it to the next level. Also as far as our bouquets of offerings are concerned, we’ll continue to create awesome merchandise.” He says and then adds “Our key focus will be on technology in the coming few months. Leveraging social behaviour & the vast product category, we’re building a customized product stream for every user taking into account his/her online social engagement.”

We all know being an entrepreneur is tough. But Bharat is so much passionate about PosterGully that he does not make a single complaint about the nature of work. In his words “Scaling up, or taking PosterGully to the next level every day has fortunately not been a challenge so far. Initially, the problem lay in low human capacity, finding the right mix of talent & grappling with a spurt in orders every week. Putting the systems in place starting from the best order management software to lubrication of the supply chain still takes up majority of our bandwidth.” He finds the journey extremely fast paced, rewarding but stressful at the same time.

What are his tips for aspiring entrepreneurs?  “A couple of them from the top of my head would be to consider yourself a solution-provider. Do your research & be direct. Focus on outcome and at the same time stop selling your product/service and start selling the people behind it.”

I am hopeful this venture will earn Bharat and his team success and fame. Cheers for them!

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