Renu Bisht never aspired to be an entrepreneur, but in 2014, when she took the plunge to join the start-up world in an effort to fill the need gap in the market.
Renu founded VanityCube along with Pragya Upadhyay, an organised marketplace for Beauty Salon services at your doorstep. Their mission is to provide beauty salon services which are reliable, hygienic, consistent and affordable. Till date, they have served 50,000 customers in Mumbai and Delhi. And, now Renu is ready to scale this idea to the next 6-7 cities.
SheThePeople.TV met Renu to chat with her about her venture. Read on to know more.
How and when was the idea behind starting ‘VanityCube App’ born, how does it work and what are your future plans?
Pragya and I worked as management consultants, we had a hectic schedule with literally no time to for ourselves there was no time to make it to a salon. During one such discussion, we realised that we both are facing similar issues. We quickly got our questionnaire ready and spoke to 150+ female friends and neighbours and the sentiments were actually the same. This was even more prevalent with expecting moms and moms with young kids. We saw the need gap and the market size was big enough to jump on the bandwagon and bring innovation in the way beauty services were delivered so far.
A customer can log on to our App or website or even call us and choose the required services, date, time and request a specific therapist. At the backend, it will be assigned to a particular therapist. The customer gets an automated SMS confirmation of the service once a therapist is assigned. Our beautician then carries all the necessary equipment (steamers, towels, pedicure tubs, hair spa machine) to the customer’s premises to perform the service. We plan to spread the business to all the major cities by 2020.
How did you manage to fund for the base operations initially?
We bootstrapped ourselves with our personal savings. In 2015 we raised funds from friends and Unicorn India venture.
What makes your App so special than other competitions?
Our business model is a combination of technology and services, so both are important and work simultaneously. Our simple and easy-to-use mobile app help customers book an appointment and our backend app helps us track our therapists and provide availability to our customers instantly.
What got you interested in Digital Media?
I am a computer science engineer and this field always fascinated me. No wonder I ended up in digital business. Look at everything around you, how technology has simplified human life. It’s so fascinating to recreate a process which is more efficient with the help of technology.
Who are your inspirations to start-up?
A lot of people, I learn every day from every entrepreneur. Everybody has something very unique in them. But if I have to name one, then it would be Steve Jobs.
What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced as an Entrepreneur?
Working as a consultant, you get habitual of managing excels and word documents, but getting your hands dirty in operations was a new territory. Identifying the first staff for our business, customising our kit to make it lightweight, to dropping the girls for orders were the initial challenges we faced.
What do you consider to be your greatest achievement so far?
We turned two last year in August and we survived through a lot of ups and downs in these two long years. We are operationally in profit now and growing double digit month on month.
What do you think of the New Digital India? And, how does it empower women?
Information is readily available on the internet like never before. Google is one of the best tools. You are in trouble, just Google it and you find your answer. You have a great community online via different platforms like LinkedIn and you can leverage that while working or building a company.
In today’s scenario, marketing has a great role to play in any field. How do you market your venture?
During MBA, we learned the 4 Ps of marketing. So, when we started the business, we tried to actively use these principles, but it’s easier said than done. Your first 100 customers are your ambassadors.
If you have a quality product; the right word of mouth is great to start with when you have a low budget for marketing. We actively do social media marketing and offline marketing to create awareness about the brand.
Could you also tell us what does the term ‘women entrepreneurs’ mean to you? And, how important it is for India’s progress?
I don’t consider myself a woman entrepreneur; rather I would love to call myself just an entrepreneur. There is nothing which men can do and women can’t, but yes, there is one thing which women can do and men can’t, that is producing babies. With more and more women joining the top management roles in India it will definitely create a better work environment for women and to India’s overall progress.
What are the innate strengths women have which make them successful entrepreneurs?
Women can persevere. To build a great business you need perseverance because while you are building a company you will hit lows and high and it’s important to not lose hope and keep trying and pivoting.
India today is rising with women entrepreneurs. What do you think about this change?
This gives inspiration to more and more women to join the workforce and builds great business. Not everybody has to be in the technical business, build what you are good at Art, Science, or coding.
What advice would you give to young entrepreneurs?
If you believe in your idea, just go for it irrespective of what people think about it. A great family support always helps you keep calm and grounded.
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