We talked to Aman Hans about Bigsmall.in, an online gift shop for unique, funny and creative gifts for guys and girls. He had the following to say about it:-
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Aman Hans: Initially, it was hard to manage both work and personal life and get in a routine to balance the time. The lack of knowledge during the initial stage of lockdown and the panic over the unknown was understandable, but with time things slowed down, and we had a better grasp over the situation. Slowly everything started to open up, and we managed to navigate around with social distancing in place. We can’t say everything is back to normal, but we have learned a new way to live with the pandemic.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Bigsmall.in.
Aman Hans: I am a computer science engineer by education; however, my interest in e-commerce and the online industry peeked me in starting Bigsmall.in along with my brother, who is also my partner in this business. Entrepreneurship was certainly a new experience for Yatin and me – before we embarked on the Bigsmall.in adventure, both of us had good jobs in top companies in our respective industries. However, we both had this unstoppable urge to create something new, to make a difference in the world. This awakened the entrepreneur within us. We recognized a gap in the gifting industry – the lack of unique gifting portals. The time was also right – the e-commerce industry was booming, and it was easy to enter. Eventually, we decided to take the plunge, creating Bigsmall.in.
How does Bigsmall.in innovate?
Aman Hans: We are on the constant lookout to add unique and creative gifts from all over the world. We recently tied up with various international brands and local brands/manufacturers/artisans who deal with creative products to add a unique gifting experience for all kinds of people. We also provide products based on the ongoing season/major festivals and current scenario. The requirement of the consumers with a hint of quirkiness is always first on our mind.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Aman Hans: We are an e-commerce brand operating in pan India and work on an inventory first model. Our warehouses are in several cities and the pandemic impacted our logistic cost and warehouse cost. As there is a lot of work that cannot be done remotely, it created severe challenges. Like, the photographer can’t shoot from home, and even the editor faces challenges working remotely as things like color correction require them to hold the product physically. Also, the operational and packaging team cannot work from home and are required to be present in the office for things to work smoothly. The limited staff across different industries like delivery services also becomes a challenge. To cope with these challenges, we revised our work processes so that our efficiency and productivity doesn’t drop. Most importantly, our availability and service levels to our fanbase and customers remain at the topmost level.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Aman Hans: Yes, every business requires choices that do not make much sense initially but are fulfilling in the long run. We wanted to have full control of the operations and manage how the packages are shipped out. We ensure that the items are sent as one particular gift, and this was a challenge as everything is done from one point of source. But we realized that to scale up, we have to think beyond that and manage the workload wisely. I would say that keeping our website barely simple and easy to navigate while ensuring that the customers are not spoiled with choices makes everything a lot easier. But the most difficult challenge is to continue to stay ahead of the market and ensure that our product line is not similar across other brands.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety? How do you project yourself and Bigsmall.in in the future?
Aman Hans: We promote team building activities like having lunch together and playing games together in our free time to destress at the workplace. We have seen significant growth over the last 3-5 years and want to continue doing that. We aim to build a brand where anyone who thinks of creative gifts thinks of us. Be it internationally or nationally, we want to create a platform for all those who make creative and innovative products. A platform that presents all that is quirky and unique – is what we see in the future.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Aman Hans: Any retail or e-retail brand that deals in gifting products become our competitor. Nowadays, it is easy to open e-commerce, as social platforms like Instagram makes it easy for anyone to operate with minimum inventory. We try to stay a step ahead by bridging the gap between offline and online shopping by helping customers with real-time photos and follow up orders to build trust. We also add new and smart products and sellers frequently to stand out among other similar brands.
Your final thoughts?
Aman Hans: We want to spread the love of gifting and not just make it a must-do or a grueling process. We bring a perfect amalgam of necessity wrapped in uniqueness to brighten your day and believe that even if there is no occasion, acknowledging the very person you are, a little happy gift for yourself would just be ideal.