Great Companies: How did you get your idea or concept for the business?
Vikas Sharma: I had been actively involved into organic farming since 2009. With due course of time I realised that there exists lack of trust among end users due to absence of verification method of the authenticity of the product, I started on working to come up with the solution to this problem. Being inspired from block-chain methodology which happens to generate trust from a decentralised source I started up working on building a community network which could bring people together to work for a common cause. And this is how Shop Apni came in to existence.
Great Companies: What are the various Services provided by Shop Apni
Vikas Sharma: We lease out 500 sq ft mini farms to our customers and grow organic vegetables of their preference. Once the produce is ready it is moved to virtual community market from where client can sell and purchase desired produce from each other. Besides, we also empower home entrepreneurs who prepare natural edible products. They can list and sell their products at our web platform which helps them increase the market span of their product hugely. It increases their visibility and generates more revenue. Additionally, we also enable local dairy farmers to sell indigenous cow’s A2 milk to our customers
Great Companies: What makes Shop Apni different from hundreds of other similar service providers?
We are similar in the sense that we are providing the same products being already sold by hundreds of other e-commerce companies. But in terms of concept there is no second, so far. Today any customer can find organic products in his city but only we can assure the genuineness of the product because hundreds of our customers, the entire community has verified the same. We are inspired from the idea of locavorism which goes hand in hand with the idea of vocal for local. Our home makers not only provide fresh, natural and chemical free products to the customers but also help boost local economy.
Great Companies: What are the struggles and challenges you face?
Vikas Sharma: We are getting tremendous response from our customers. But the market size is huge. Sometimes it becomes difficult to cater this huge market with a small team and limited resources. The other factor is unpredictability of climatic conditions.
Great Companies: How do you plan to grow in the future? What does 5 years down the line look like for Shop Apni?
Vikas Sharma: We are gradually growing in terms of our customer base but we are looking forward to expand in few more cities in near future. We have identified few tier-2 cities like Jaipur, Indore, Dehradun, Vadodara and Surat for expansion.
Great Companies: If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?
Vikas Sharma: Do what brings peace, happiness and satisfaction and solve the pre-existing problem with your product or services at the same time.