It took a holiday in Thailand for co-founders of Indian startup, Eshack.in, to identify a void in the market which their new venture was set up to fill.
"We were in Bangkok celebrating my father's 50th birthday when we noticed beer towers, beer pong tables, and people playing drinking games in bars. It then struck us that for our age group, this is what's missing in India," said Arman Sood, co-founder of Eshack.in.
"My partner Ashwajeet Singh was always amazed by the way startups function and how so many of them become big companies, and he always wanted to work for one himself," said Arman in an e-mail.
Both student entrepreneurs had spent time to brainstorm and come up with ideas in their dorm room. They skipped their law school internships and took the plunge. After a few months of hard work over summer, they launched on November 1, 2012.
Essentially, Eshack is a website that has a collection of innovative and funky bar-party and drinking accessories, which previously were not available to the Indian consumer.
Traditional partying in the opinion of a lot of people was getting boring and repetitive. So the two young founders decided to bring to market innovative and exciting drinking games, beer pong tables, and other interesting accessories to liven up parties.
When the startup launched, no company in India was retailing most of the products it offered. Gradually competition increased but as first movers in this space, Eshack has immense advantage and very loyal customers, according to Arman. The company's product stands out because it ensures quality is impeccable, and customer service and relations are always a priority. It also offer a two to three day delivery turnaround, hence, it can accommodate even customers who prep their parties at the last minute.
Eshack's initial target audience was college-going students and young working professionals who love to party. Gradually, the founders realized there was a larger market to cater to and started retailing to event managers, bars, hotels, extending their focus beyond just house partie. From there, the company gained greater traction.
When the startup launched, both founders were in their second year of law school at Jindal Global Law School. They are now are in their fourth year. They currently are bootstrapped and they have yet to hire anyone, choosing to operate the business themselves. Their key focus was on the site's SEO and social media marketing, but the greatest asset has been word of mouth due to the uniqueness of the brand.
Of course, Eshack brings life to a party and caters the tastes of beer lovers, people who love tequila and vodka shots as well as whiskey aficionados. According to Arman, the company's products aim to address three main problems. It wants to make parties and get-togethers more interactive, personal, and fun. Second, it aims to provide the best gifts to someone who loves to party as well as offer great corporate gifts. Finally, the company wants to help people add to their bar collection at home and assist event managers in throwing better parties.
Arman said seed funding for the startup came from both their parents who were extremely supportive of the idea and passion to venture out and try something new. Since all their goods are imported regularly, the initial funding was higher than the average student startup, but the startup is still able to make ends meet despite bootstrapping, he said.
As for future plans, he said a new look on the website wil be launched by the end of this month along with a new collection of products, merchandise as well as a surprise service which the founders hope will appeal to customers and the Indian market.
Apart from the two founders, the startup uses a freelance Web developer.
Arman explained the route to entrepreneurship: "We are college mates and as mentioned, our passion to have something of our own and that we could work and grow together while in college, and the numerous brain storming sessions, had led to this idea. Our fascination for entrepreneurship and business brought us here."
Also since they are studying at the same university, they're able to make daily plans and divide the work to ensure efficiency. They always plan ahead and work on a schedule so as to effectively balance their studies at law school and still be able to successfully run their startup venture.
Eshack seems quite an interesting venture, considering it's a student startup. No doubt, demand for such funky accessories and materials in India has been on the rise off late with sites like Happily Unmarried, Chumbak, and Tappu Ki Dukaan popularizing the space. Eshack certainly takes the niche route by specializing in one core segment--drinking and party accessories.
While I think the startup's web design needs a lot of improvement, I guess this is just the beginning for Eshack and hopefully it will be able move in a positive direction forward. What say you? Any thoughts on this startup?