An Excerpt from the Interview:
What made you start your venture?
Well, I used to work in Merrill Lynch. I decided to take a break when my first child was two years old and I was expecting my second child. Those days, I was finding it difficult to evaluate and purchase toys. On a whim, I made a few toy videos on put it up on YouTube under the channel name – Toy Tasting – to help other parents while they were researching what toy to purchase. That channel today has 250 videos and 15 million views. The inputs and encouragement from that venture, led me to launch an online toys store in India . The toy store is called Yellow Giraffe, and the mascot is named Mumba.
What has been the key to your business’s success?
Both the businesses Toy Tasting and Yellow Giraffe have been structured around the consumer – kids and their parents. I think that’s what’s been helping us. When visitors come to our online toys store, they immediately recognize that we’re not stocking just any toy. Only when we are convinced that a toy can add value to a child’s upbringing, we stock it.
What are the major challenges in your line of business and how did/do you overcome them?
In India, getting quality toys is very difficult. We have to interact with a whole host of manufacturers. And because the Indian retail market is largely unorganized, international manufacturers don’t extend their distribution facilities to India. But in many ways it’s more satisfying when you are solving a genuine problem.
Do you have a mentor who guides/advices you on matters of the business?
We’ve had the benefit of interacting with a host of toy industry experts. Some of our advisers are Richard Gottlieb and Reyne Rice from the USA, John Baulch from the UK.
Have you benefited from the use of any specific technology for your regular operations?
Technology is very important for us. We use a host of software applications for our video making. For our online toy store, we aggressively leverage Cloud Computing technologies. The key challenge in the area of technology is to keep adapting as the technology improves.
What strategy do you follow for Customer Satisfaction & Expansion?
I think for us the primary driver is to ensure that the consumer purchases a toy from which the child benefits- say by learning a new skill. In some cases that may mean guiding a customer who has already bought Remote Control Cars to trying out a construction toy set. We’ve found a lot of positive feedback by recommending Leo toys in India. The other important driver for us is to ensure that the delivery of the toy happens in a timely fashion.
A lot of our orders are gifts. So the toy must reach in time and in perfect condition. What, according to you, are the top 3 skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur? Primarily, I think being successful in anything requires capability, hard work and luck. If I had to talk about capabilities, I would say being open to ideas from others is pretty much the most important one.
Get Playing! Visit their website: http://www.yellowgiraffe.in/