The Souled Store is an online store which sells incredibly cool stuff. Its more like a community of like minded people getting together and expressing them through work. In a very short span of time the company has managed to provide a wide range of products which include T shirts,boxers,shorts,bags, notebooks,Mugs etc.We are continuously experimenting and have much more products in the pipeline as told by the Director of The Souled Store Mr. Vedang Patel.
Why Souled Store? What is the secret behind the name?
It makes for a great pun on the word ‘sold’, since we ‘sell’ stuff. But more importantly, The Souled Store was born out of the idea of loving what you do – “Following your soul.” The philosophy is that life is short. Don’t spend it doing something you hate. There are too many Monday mornings, and you can’t go dreading every single one of them.We, at The Souled Store, love what we do – designs, products, content, and everything in between. Our goal is to give everyone something they’ll love, something they can use to express themselves, and, simply put, something to put a smile on their face. So whether it’s superheroes, TV shows, pop culture, music, sports, or generic funny stuff you’re looking for, we have something for everyone.
The Souled Store makes amazing Merchandise? Whose idea was this and what were the challenges you faced while pulling up your brand?
The Souled Store was born on June 7, 2013 to Aditya, Vedang, and Rohin (ex-colleagues, friends, brothers from other mothers) and was conceptualized over sev-puri at an office canteen with the intention of being a one stop destination for all fan and quirky merchandise.The idea arose when we realized that there was no good outlet for buying fan merchandise. The only options were a limited range of extremely expensive and badly designed imports from the US (which ironically were made in India) or sub quality fakes. Being true nerds who loved TV shows, comics and everything pop culture, we knew that this could be done better and at affordable prices.We started out of random coffee shops in Bandra, with free wifi (because no business can start without wifi). We launched the website with t-shirts, badges, and wall art and now have more than 15 products on the website.
It wasn’t all that easy getting here, though. The startup faced all types of hurdles in the initial phase. From problems like registrations, licences, compliances to unprofessional business ethics by suppliers and manufacturers. We realized later that delays were just something we had to assume when doing business with the unorganized sector.
How much do you think Social Media is important for maintaining your brand, and what are your strategies to gain popularity from social media?
We love what we do and you’ll see that in- the products we sell, on the calls to our customer care team and most importantly in the content on our social media pages. With over 1 million fans on Facebook and over 150K followers on Instagram, our social media is as kickass as it can get.
The content is fun and engaging captioned with some great puns.
With series like #HowOurDesignersKillTime (a quirky series made fun of everyday objects), #SoulStrips (our very own weekly comic strip), #LateNightsWithTheSouledStore (our random midnight ramblings) and others, we try to engage users with not just product images but everything else fun!
What are your future goals and how do you plan to achieve them?
With zero-cash burn, we have been profitable since day 1. But our plan is to make The Souled Store a global brand for pop culture enthusiasts. Our growth strategy is two-fold. First is to increase our range of products and offer more to our current customer base.Second would be to diversify our TG by introducing more women-centric products. Our eventual plan is to also transcend into kids wear as it would be a direct extension of everything we do currently.Lastly, there is also the plan to open pop-up stores in Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru and Pune. Our pop-up stores will revolve around creating interactive experiences for our customers which will be integrated with the merchandise we sell. We want to change the game with how retail is traditionally done which currently is only about selling the product. We, on the other hand, want to sell an experience.We plan to make TSS a global brand that resonates with all things pop culture where people can express creatively and freely.
With so much competition in the market, how did the Souled Store stood out?
Our most important go-to marketing tool is our designs. Our designers don’t just simply do the regular logos and copy paste merchandise. They make the designs witty. Even if it’s Batman, they will go beyond just the usual logo and sell something quirkier. The conversion rate on our website is multiples of the industry average, showing that people love the content. We sell fun. Not just products.
For example, you could receive an authentic Sheldon’s roommate agreement in your Big Bang Theory order that is personalised for you. You get a personalised official Hogwarts acceptance letter exactly like the one Harry gets but with your name on it. Even when you call our customer service, you may be surprised when the call ends with a May The Force Be With You, if you ordered some Star Wars merchandise.And that has been the secret sauce, as we believe that a good product and great service promises great word-of-mouth marketing.
What would be your suggestion to the budding entrepreneurs?
My advice would be to simply keep going!There are going to be an infinite number of problems and hurdles that you’ll come across when you begin something of your own. The solution is to keep working harder and believe in what you do. The results will show.