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Exclusive Interview with Collegiatestore Team


Interviews are a platform to learn new things,to express new ideas . For the  interviewers , interviewee and the readers , an interview is a big source of knowledge,specially when the head of an institution/Startup interviews some one of same platform.Here we brings you the online interaction between Mr. Mrudu malay Mohapatra (Founder of OdiaLive .com ) and Mr. Smruti Ranjan Mohanty,the Founder and CEO  and Mr. Ankit Acharya , Marketing Head of Collegiatestore

Welcome again to our  exclusive online  interview with Mr. Smruti Ranjan Mohanty,the Founder and CEO of Collegiatestore and Mr. Ankit Acharya who is currently the Marketing Head of Collegiatestore and would soon be joining Smruti as the co-founder. They would take us back to the story behind the company, where they aspire to be and a lot more.

Bhubaneswar is generally regarded as the city of art and culture and a short stop for tourists on their way to Puri. Quietly, it is shaping up as an entrepreneurship capital of the state. Launched back in 2013 , CollegaiteStore is surely looking to make a change by being the first custom based e-commerce company to start operations in Odisha.

Smruti 25, has done his B.Tech from JSS Academy Bangalore and MBA from NIT Rourkela. He has worked and interned for many big names before starting this venture in 2013 .

While Ankit 19, is due to join a graduate college this year. Ankit has done a course in digital marketing and has worked as a Freelance Consultant & Advisor for a custom based company in Bangalore. He joined the company a month back to help Smruti take this company forward.

Exclusive Interview :

1. Hi Smruti and Ankit. Welcome to OdiaLive. First thing, why Odisha ? Like we all know Bangalore is considered as the startup capital of the country and you two have spent a lot of time in staying in that place. What really made u choose Bhubaneswar?

-> Ankit : That is something Smruti can really answer, I still haven’t found out the reason behind the same ..

-> Smruti :
First of all Bangalore already has a lot of custom based companies based out there and being one more was just adding to the crowd. And secondly my heart and soul stays in Odisha. And the way the custom based business running in Odisha was really disheartening. So many offline retailers were literally looting the people. There had to be a change.

2. Tell us about Collegiatestore?

– The collegiate store is our very own store which is basically of the people, by the people, and for the people. We aspire to be a leading online store in this segment. The main idea behind starting up this venture was to make this store the final destination where you can find t-shirts, hoodies, etc to suite your needs as well as the occasion for which it is being made.
At “the collegiate store” it is you who designs the merchandise according to your requirement and we will take the honour of making your ideas and dreams come true at the convenience of your door step. In addition to this in case you are a bit doubtful about the design then our executive designer will take care of all your worries.

3. How big is Collegiatestore now? What scale are you working at?

Collegiatestore consists of 9 people now who are spread across sales, marketing, hr, website development and production. Along with the 9 permanent employees we have appointed a large number Campus Managers in many colleges.

4. How has the response been?

As a startup it usually isn’t easy but for us the response hasn’t been all that bad. In less than 6 months we have worked with over 50 clients which includes premium institutes and companies like IIT BBSR, IIT Delhi, IIT Kharagpur, XIMB BBSR, NIT Rourkela, Nirma University, IIIT Jabalpur, SIBM Bangalore etc. Our corporate clients info data has been kept confidential and recently we have also acquired our first international client.

5. Tell us a bit about how your manufacturing process?

Currently we out-source our products. But as we do not really want to compromise the quality, we ensure that each and every product goes through a serious quality check before being dispatched. We have a dedicated team which ensures that our clients are never disappointed.

6. As the Marketing head and the soon to be co-founder how do u really plan to market the brand, Ankit? Given such a huge competition that awaits you? Who do u thing are u major competitors?

– Ankit: As a startup its usually a tough job but it really isn’t an impossible one. For now “word of mouth” has been really helpful and not to forget Social Media Marketing. It might be a new concept in India, but it really is the best form of marketing according to me. In the future, as we grow. We would definitely look up to the offline platform of marketing but for now we are just sticking onto the online form.
if u look at our competitors in Odisha, we really don’t have any online competition except the offline retailers but again when we look Pan India, there are a lot of big.

7. Tell us about your product line?

Currently our product lines include Round Neck T-Shirts, Collared T-Shirts, Pullover, Zipper Pullover, Sweatshirts, Personalized Mugs, Mobile Phone Covers and Books (a new inclusion) . And very soon we would be introducing Wallets, Jackets and a lot more accessories.

8. How many t-shirts/orders have you shipped till now?

We have shipped around 18,000 units in the past 6 months.

9. Where do you want to take the company?

Ankit and Smruti :
Currently we are looking into strengthening our brand, ensuring happy customers and taking the same forward. We really haven’t planned a lot about the future, but whatever it is, we are sure its for the best.

We have one guiding principle: we value good business. What does “good” mean to us? Simply put, we think a business should provide a service that adds value to other peoples’ lives. A good business should benefit the customer: you.

10. You’re 19 Ankit, how seriously do people take in the fact about what you’re doing? Given the fact that you’re known as the bindass, tensionless freek.

Well I am sure half my friends and family members would end up laughing reading this article. I myself would I am sure. But yeah to be frank my friends and family members still give me the “Whhuuutt is up with you” look but again u gotto explain to them what u do, what this all about and why you’re doing it. Uske badh still 70% of them end up laughing, while the rest 30 push u take forward whatever u have decided to start. My closest buddies Aishwarya, Soundarya, Uzma, Sayan and Devina and yes my parents they still are surprised and occasionally counsel me, but yes I am sure they are proud of me and If they aren’t i promise I will make them a lot more in the coming years.

11. And you Smruti? What about you?

Well I started this company at the age of 25 , so I obviously dint face so much trouble as Ankit, but yes its how u pitch your concept and ideas. There are lot of people who will distract you from your goal, pull u down. But its again as to how you buck up and make a difference. And I am sure I have managed to make a little difference till now.

12. Last but not the least. Why did u choose the path of Entrepeurship? Who is your inspiration?

– Ankit : Every Entrepreneur wants to grow, make a brand, get interviews, get featured. But for me its about spreading the concept of “Entrepreneurship”. To show the society that “yes, there is a lot more than engineering or medical”. Even though it’s a different fact that I aspire to be an engineer but I really don’t look forward to making someone else’s dream come true.?
Haha. I get inspired by every next person on the planet. But if I really look up to someone, it certainly is Bill Gates.

Smruti :
This question is something I really couldn’t find an answer to. But I feel it’s the passion within me that pulls me to do something like this. It isn’t really easy to take up this path one fine day, but the risk at times does yield profits and also the idea of giving something back to the state I have grown up in, inspires me. I started this company alone 6 months back, without any help. But then slowly when happy customer messages started to pop in, the stress disappeared.
I second Ankit on the inspiration part, Bill Gates is the man.

Thanking you Ankit and Smruti, it was really nice talking to you and we really do hope that CollegiateStore goes a long long way ..

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