This is the interview of an Indian Entrepreneur Ayush Baid – Founder of Ellementry – Handmade Luxury Home Decor Products Online Store and Indian Handicraft Exporter.
1. Tell us a little about yourself
I come from a business family from Jaipur. My father, Mr Dileep Baid, is a known Indian Handicraft Exporter.
I studied data analytics and nuances of e-commerce during under graduation at UCL( University College of London).
2. How did you get your idea or concept for the business?
Due to my father’s business, I got exposed to Indian art and culture at a very young age. After my studies, when I came back to India, I used my knowledge to promote my father’s B2B export business of handicraft products.
While doing the data analysis for my father’s business, being a data enthusiast, out of curiosity, I also did a data analysis of the Indian market.
I found an untapped domestic market for handmade home products, especially in the niche category of fusion (marble-glass, terracotta-wood) kitchenware.
This realization led me to research, consumer needs across India. I met local artists and explored the demand for branded handicraft products of everyday use.
After doing this thorough analysis of the B2C Indian market, we launched Ellementry in 2018.
Ellementry is the first Indian brand that establishes a manufacturer to customer relationship.
Based on the observation and conclusion of the market and consumer research, six brand pillars were created.
These brand pillars are- the fusion of materials, handmade imperfection, sustainability, form and functionality, cultural revival and food safety.
Today after two years, I am proud to say that Ellementry has created a space that allows local artisans to showcase their talent and flourish.
It is the beauty of our artisans’ hands, combined with the knowledge passed down from the ages that make our products soulful.
3. What service(s) or product(s) do you offer?
We offer handcrafted lifestyle products starting from kitchenware, tableware, entertainment, accent furniture and more.
4. What is unique about your business?
As I have mentioned before, ellementry is the first Indian brand that establishes a manufacturer to customer relationship.
This way we can have quality control in our hands and our turnaround time of manufacturing products is fast.
We can have a competitive price for our products and no dead inventory as we don’t have to procure products in bulk from outside.
In terms of products, we focus a lot on creating products which are often tagged as boring, mundane everyday products, into beautiful, useful things.
One significant apprehension associated with Indian handcrafted products is food safety. So, that’s why every material which goes into the creation of our products is entirely food safe.
Owing to our expertise, we follow strict international food safety regulatory standards because we care about our beloved consumer.
Our products are rigorously lab checked and tested extensively before releasing in the consumer market. We use them daily at our homes, our workplaces and our Collab store in Bangalore.
5. What made you choose this type of business?
Due to my father’s business, I have grown- up seeing the magnum opus of Indian culture and its craft. Somewhere it has touched me and stayed with me.
I feel the art and craft of India hark back to the rich culture of India, and it sets us apart from others. So, starting ellementry was destined for me sooner or later.
As we generally go for things that we love, I went a step further and turned my liking into a brand.
6. What was your mission at the outset?
Ellementry comes with a core promise to make your everyday beautiful. Our products are connecting people back to their cultural roots.
It is bringing joy in the life of people by creating products that perfectly blend form and function and thereby eliminating the need to choose between form and function in everyday products. Inspiring people to lead a sustainable, eco-friendly lifestyle.
7. How many employees in your organization?
We have 60 employees in our organization, and we are also providing full-time employment to more than 4000 artisans. Inspire people to lead a sustainable, eco-friendly lifestyle.
8. What’s your company’s goals?
Creating and offering quality, design-backed home and kitchen products that are sustainable, craft-led and high on food-safety.
9. How do you build a successful customer base?
The customers of ellementry are on an increasing spree- new one as well as the old ones.
People buy ellementry products for the uniqueness of our brand, as we are promoting cultural and sustainable living most beautifully.
We innovate and draw from Indian culture, using natural materials and taking the culture value forward. Our products have the essence of India, albeit with a modern twist to suit the contemporary outlook.
When customers buy ellementry products, they don’t make their everyday beautiful but also empower Indian artisans and nurturers various handmade art forms.
Even in this pandemic, we connected with our consumers not just as a brand but as a friend, sharing common goals of staying positive and healthy.
Instead of taking a step back, we reached out to consumers, providing support and strengthening existing relationships.
This is the reason in these two years of inception, and our followers have organically grown to 114k.
10. What have been some of your failures, and what have you learned from them?
I have learned a lot from challenges. There were a few challenges that we faced initially. For example, to make people believe in handmade products and their quality.
Though ellementry products are everyday products, people were a bit apprehensive of buying handmade products online.
To solve this issue, we created a strong customer care team to make people understand about our products.
Our range of products are a visual treat; people like them online, but still they want to touch and feel the product before buying.
So, within the first year itself, we opened our retail outlet in major cities of India like Delhi, Jaipur, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad.
It was accelerated by our good advertising in the Times of India and their online portals.
This way, we were able to showcase our products to our customers physically as well as on the digital and print platform.
During this pandemic, it was a daunting task for us as a young organization to sustain the growth momentum during this time. We responded to the situation by
- Reworking our strategies
- We are giving more emphasis to ways to cope with uncertainty, working on our team strength and gaining a deeper understanding of our stakeholders and customers.
- Engaging with our consumers through social media and online marketing to help us understand the mindset of people in real-time and, rework our strategies and channel resources accordingly.
11. Who has been your greatest inspiration?
My most significant source of inspiration is the Indian art & artisans, and the six pillars on which Ellementry is standing.
12. What are some of the biggest mistakes you’ve made?
We all make mistakes in our life at some point in life. Unless we are aware that we are making mistakes, we will never be able to learn from them.
In my professional career, what I have learnt from my mistakes is always to hire people who are smarter than you and know more than you.
It keeps the inflow of knowledge and advancement in business, and it eventually leads to growth.
13. If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?
Success is not a one-day thing, and it needs hard work (you need to be at it day in and day out), perseverance, love what you are doing, and stepping outside the comfort zone.
Develop strong relationships with your employees, and boost their productivity and efficiency, and it will also create a very healthy atmosphere in your company.
14. Does your company help the community or society?
At Ellementry, artisans are our artists, not the machines. We are giving respectable employment to more than 4000 artisans.
It is the beauty of their hands, combined with the knowledge passed down from the ages that make our products soulful. That is why an Ellementry product is not like any other.
In two years of operation, I feel pleased to say that ellementry has created a space that allows local artisans to showcase their talent and flourish.
We are also reviving the dying art of India; for example, our Eco-mix products are genuinely handmade.
Like this, we are planning to revive the dying art of every Indian state and provide means of survival to Indian artists.
In a way, we are trying re-contextualizing Indian craft for contemporary living and putting the craftsman at the forefront through ellementry.
We hope you find the inspiring interview of an Indian Entepreneur, Ayush Baid – Founder of Ellementry useful and inspiring through your entrepreneurial journey and will keep you inspired.
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