Entrepreneurs Suhas Dutta and Vyom Khandelia’s brainchild Koolskool is an endeavour to provide students with all their academic needs under one roof. A specialised multi-channel venture, it sells books including academic textbooks, stationery, hobby and craft items, educational and various other CDs, DVDs, competitive examination material, computer supplies, games as well as sports equipment for school children.Anisha Mehta from YourStory.in catches up with co-founders Suhas and Vyom.
Suhas Dutta is a global professional with a vast amount of experience in retail, management consulting, and IT strategy while Vyom Khadelia has worked with variousUSand Indian companies in software engineering, project management and client support functions. Koolskool was born out of their personal experience. When Dutta and Khandelia’s kids were ready to start schooling, they went through a lot of trouble to procure educational supplies for their children. “It was impossible to find all supplies under one roof. Be it our neighbourhood stationer or large retail chains, neither had stocked the required products. Also, many school suppliers sell books and other stationary material at inflated prices. We realised that the market requires a one-stop shop where parents can go and buy everything that their child needs at school,” says Suhas. He adds, “We believe that we are still evolving as a venture but our core values will continue to revolve around convenience, availability and affordable price.”
Koolskool uses two separate channels to sell products. It used the e-commerce space and is also affiliated with schools wherein they supply books, notebooks and stationery at the beginning of the year to students. The second mechanism is unique because Koolskool has integrated their site into their business process wherein students or their parents can also order their entire book set online and get it delivered home.
Suhas and Vyom’s venture has been bootstrapped since its inception and they feel that the response they have received has been very encouraging. “We receive orders from different cities across the country including parts of Jammu & Kashmir and Kutch. Majority of our orders are small towns and cities,” says Suhas.
Their challenge now is to convert their offline customers into online clients. Explains co-founder Suhas, “The existing market is big enough for many players to fit in. But this gives rise to competition and therefore being niche and different becomes important for any e-commerce business to survive. We are a specialty retailer. Large players in this product category today cater to all age groups, and offer all types of educational merchandise. On the other hand, the market has niche players, who sell merchandise for children in the age bracket of 4-5 years, but they offer limited products like toys for instance. It is here that we have an edge. We are a click and mortar company because we believe that a large part of our customer base will like buy from traditional sources initially. Therefore, we first build on our association with different schools, supply books and stationery to parents through them. We try and remain in touch with students and parents through school exhibitions and later on urge them to buy from our site.”
Suhas and Vyom have a small team of nine people working under them but they are planning to hire more people as they want to expand. “We are planning to work on our affiliations with schools wherein a school will not necessarily have to hand over their annual year beginning sale to us but can tie up with us for a whole year. Students and their parents will be able to buy the educational material we offer throughout the year. Even if a student or parent buys through our site, the affiliated school will still earn a commission. It is a win-win situation,” remarks Suhas.
Go to www.koolskool.in for further details!