This article is a part of the CitySparks series sponsored by Verisign
Darshan Dhruv’s FarsanKart sells a variety of farsan (Gujarati snacks, usually fried items, that can be stored for several months), from Methi Khari to Sonth Vati and Bhakharwadi, and a whole lot more. The best part is you can order all of these yummy snacks online from FarsanKart.com.
Darshan hails from Vadodara and decided to base his business in the town he grew up in. He was fiercely independent right from his days as a student. He worked his way through college as a DJ to fund his education. Later, he went abroad to do his masters and worked with a leading multinational firm for four years before the desire to do something on his own led him to return to India. Though his family’s packaging business was available as a safety net, he asserted his independence by taking a risk and starting FarsanKart on his own in November 2012.
Being a foodie, Darshan was sure that he wanted his business to revolve around food. Authentic Gujarati farsan seemed the most appealing choice. At the same time, he also wanted to make use of his knowledge of packaging, gained from his association with the family business. Both these ideas culminated in the creation of FarsanKart.
FarsanKart sources farsan from Vadodara’s popular farsan stores, known for their quality. His customer base primarily comprises Gujaratis from across India and the NRI community. Darshan is now converting FarsanKart into a marketplace where multiple sellers can sell their products via their portal.
For Darshan, choosing the .com domain name was as important as choosing the name of his brand. Naturally, he wanted the brand to symbolise what it offered – farsan. And because he wanted to be able to supply his products globally, he added the universal “shopping” favourite, “kart” to it. The .com domain was a no-brainer. Nothing else lends an online shopping site more recognition and authenticity. And that’s how www.farsankart.com came to be.
"I was sure that the .com domain extension was the best fit for my business as I wanted to reach out to an international market. The name Farsankart was also chosen with the same thought process of evoking a desi name combined with an easy-to-recall word descriptive of an online business."
The next step was to ship the products worldwide, so he set up an international portal: www.global.farsankart.com, which provides USD pricing and lists out shipping rates for various countries. At last count, FarsanKart was shipping to 22 countries. Today, it is most popular in countries like the US, Canada, the UK, the UAE, and Australia. Overseas delivery is promised in 4 working days. Within India, products can be delivered within 2-3 days.
Darshan also insists on supplying directly to the end consumers and not to retailers who would want to resell the products. He says, “My dream is to make FarsanKart a world-renowned brand that sells the best Gujarati farsan. Our website sees around 600 to 700 page views per day.” In the past two years, FarsanKart has catered to 5,000 customers. The site now sees at least 50-60 orders coming in per week, and the number of orders has been growing exponentially of late.
“What has been surprising is the number of orders from countries like Germany and Portugal, which are not known for their huge Indian origin demographics.” Their Facebook page has over 45,000 likes. They have also been doing intensive marketing through email, pamphlets and other online marketing methods.
FarsanKart has been a bootstrapped venture so far. However, Darshan is now considering seeking professional investment. Darshan attributes the success of FarsanKart to the quality of their products. “Whatever marketing one does, the product can be a game changer only if it is of great quality.”
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