LET'S TALK ABOUT...

Launching your business with Sanjay & Shashi Aggarwal

#btconversations #launchingabusiness

‘Let’s Talk About’ is our series  of videos offering practical digital skills advice to help make your life easier.

In this episode, Sanjay and Shashi Aggarwal, founders of artisanal spice and tea company, Spice Kitchen, share some tips for launching a business online.

Take risks

Be visible online

Share what makes your story unique

Listen and learn from your customers

Understand your limitations

Conclusion

Sanjay:

Hi, I'm Sanjay and this is my mum, Shashi, and together we built a business online.

Shashi:

Sanjay's suggestion came up, let's take a spice tin, put it on eBay, took the first picture.

Sanjay:

What kind of was almost a bit of a silly idea on Christmas day, we realised that actually there was some demand for it. Still didn't really realise at the time how much demand.

Shashi:

The things have gone just completely out of hand after that. It's history now.

Sanjay:

Suddenly we got an email from a company in New York who wanted, sort of, 10,000 of our spice kits. Literally day and night for a week, I was working to grind the spices, make the spice blends, hand pack each one. I had to call in family and friends, help me pack this order day and night and amazingly we managed to do it.

Shashi:

It was like literally jumping and getting all excited that it worked.

Sanjay:

Yeah.

Shashi:

It's important that you take risks, but sometimes you have to be careful and do it wisely.

Sanjay:

But also, it's really important to take the risks in the first place, because if you don't take any risks, you're not going to grow, so...

Shashi:

Yeah, but you've got to be careful.

Sanjay:

But you've got to take them. Online gives you an amazing opportunity.

Shashi:

Yes.

Sanjay:

So it was really important for us to have our own website. I knew nothing about e-commerce. I knew nothing about selling online. We've definitely made a lot of mistakes and e-commerce is very much about trial and error. It's not something you can get right from the start. It does take time and it takes lots of tweaks, from photography to content, to just other little, small things that you need to do. But I immersed myself in the technology. I immersed myself with other e-commerce shop owners and learnt all the tricks of the trade that I could, and implemented them myself.

Sanjay:

You've got an option just to have a landing page, if you don't have a full-blown website, which is just a bit of information about what you're doing, the products you're making or the service you're offering. An alternative to that, if you don't even have a landing page is just to use social media. Our social media is just a really true portrayal of what we do day-to-day. We don't have a strategy. I never have. I've never employed anyone to help us with it, and to be honest with you, I just literally share what we do on a day-to-day basis.

Shashi:

I have a nickname called Mama Spice. So I have got to be… still be everybody's Mama Spice now.

Sanjay:

I think it's the difficulty of having a small family business and mum's very much the face of the brand as well. So, when she's not there, people are like, "Where's Mama Spice?"

Shashi:

Everybody wants to see me in the front line, kind of thing, and I'm just loving every minute of it.

Sanjay:

I think it's really important to get your story down and to really share the content about, kind of, your business online. Show the making process and everything that goes behind the scenes. We've really found that people go from just, sort of, liking our products to actually loving us as a business, and we do get inundated with positive feedback.

Shashi:

The customers are teaching us lots of things.

Sanjay:

Yeah, we're learning.

Shashi:

On social media kind of thing. They tell us what to improve and what not to.

Sanjay:

Yeah and it's silly not to kind of take that feedback and learn from your customer base because they're the people paying the money for your products, so they're the best people to teach you.

Sanjay:

Branding is really, really important, and we have made mistakes in the past. We were initially quite naive in terms of how much packaging played a part. When we launched our products to the shops and the retailers, we used to print these kind of packaging sleeves on our own home printers, and we just found they weren't selling as well in the stores as we had hoped.

Sanjay:

As an entrepreneur, you've got to spin a lot of plates and you've got to wear a lot of hats. But at the same time, you really need to understand your limitations, and there's certain areas that you just can't do on your own.

Shashi:

You can always employ somebody else to do it for you.

Sanjay:

And for us, it was the best thing that we ever did. Found the right company who understood our product and they just created something incredible that I could never have done myself.

Shashi:

Anybody who's got any simple or any kind of ideas, just start from very small and just expand from there. When you're online, you've got access from not just the local market, but the whole world. So just try it. If it works, it works. If it doesn't, then at least you're small, and you can pull back.

Sanjay:

Also, there are really good resources to work out what you actually need to do to get online. You can delve deep, learn the basics and almost become an expert, you know, with time.

Shashi:

It's well worth it.

Speaker 3:

Awesome.

‘Let’s Talk About’ is our series  of videos offering practical digital skills advice to help make your life easier.

In this episode, Sanjay and Shashi Aggarwal, founders of artisanal spice and tea company, Spice Kitchen, share some tips for launching a business online.

In 2012, mother and son, Sanjay & Shashi Aggarwal, launched Spice Kitchen, a family-owned artisanal spice and tea company. They quickly learned that digital skills were crucial to launching a successful business. Lucky for us, they offered to share some tips on how to launch a business online.

Take risks

Be visible online

Share what makes your story unique

Listen and learn from your customers

Understand your limitations

Conclusion

Sanjay:

Hi, I'm Sanjay and this is my mum, Shashi, and together we built a business online.

Shashi:

Sanjay's suggestion came up, let's take a spice tin, put it on eBay, took the first picture.

Sanjay:

What kind of was almost a bit of a silly idea on Christmas day, we realised that actually there was some demand for it. Still didn't really realise at the time how much demand.

Shashi:

The things have gone just completely out of hand after that. It's history now.

Sanjay:

Suddenly we got an email from a company in New York who wanted, sort of, 10,000 of our spice kits. Literally day and night for a week, I was working to grind the spices, make the spice blends, hand pack each one. I had to call in family and friends, help me pack this order day and night and amazingly we managed to do it.

Shashi:

It was like literally jumping and getting all excited that it worked.

Sanjay:

Yeah.

Shashi:

It's important that you take risks, but sometimes you have to be careful and do it wisely.

Sanjay:

But also, it's really important to take the risks in the first place, because if you don't take any risks, you're not going to grow, so...

Shashi:

Yeah, but you've got to be careful.

Sanjay:

But you've got to take them. Online gives you an amazing opportunity.

Shashi:

Yes.

Sanjay:

So it was really important for us to have our own website. I knew nothing about e-commerce. I knew nothing about selling online. We've definitely made a lot of mistakes and e-commerce is very much about trial and error. It's not something you can get right from the start. It does take time and it takes lots of tweaks, from photography to content, to just other little, small things that you need to do. But I immersed myself in the technology. I immersed myself with other e-commerce shop owners and learnt all the tricks of the trade that I could, and implemented them myself.

Sanjay:

You've got an option just to have a landing page, if you don't have a full-blown website, which is just a bit of information about what you're doing, the products you're making or the service you're offering. An alternative to that, if you don't even have a landing page is just to use social media. Our social media is just a really true portrayal of what we do day-to-day. We don't have a strategy. I never have. I've never employed anyone to help us with it, and to be honest with you, I just literally share what we do on a day-to-day basis.

Shashi:

I have a nickname called Mama Spice. So I have got to be… still be everybody's Mama Spice now.

Sanjay:

I think it's the difficulty of having a small family business and mum's very much the face of the brand as well. So, when she's not there, people are like, "Where's Mama Spice?"

Shashi:

Everybody wants to see me in the front line, kind of thing, and I'm just loving every minute of it.

Sanjay:

I think it's really important to get your story down and to really share the content about, kind of, your business online. Show the making process and everything that goes behind the scenes. We've really found that people go from just, sort of, liking our products to actually loving us as a business, and we do get inundated with positive feedback.

Shashi:

The customers are teaching us lots of things.

Sanjay:

Yeah, we're learning.

Shashi:

On social media kind of thing. They tell us what to improve and what not to.

Sanjay:

Yeah and it's silly not to kind of take that feedback and learn from your customer base because they're the people paying the money for your products, so they're the best people to teach you.

Sanjay:

Branding is really, really important, and we have made mistakes in the past. We were initially quite naive in terms of how much packaging played a part. When we launched our products to the shops and the retailers, we used to print these kind of packaging sleeves on our own home printers, and we just found they weren't selling as well in the stores as we had hoped.

Sanjay:

As an entrepreneur, you've got to spin a lot of plates and you've got to wear a lot of hats. But at the same time, you really need to understand your limitations, and there's certain areas that you just can't do on your own.

Shashi:

You can always employ somebody else to do it for you.

Sanjay:

And for us, it was the best thing that we ever did. Found the right company who understood our product and they just created something incredible that I could never have done myself.

Shashi:

Anybody who's got any simple or any kind of ideas, just start from very small and just expand from there. When you're online, you've got access from not just the local market, but the whole world. So just try it. If it works, it works. If it doesn't, then at least you're small, and you can pull back.

Sanjay:

Also, there are really good resources to work out what you actually need to do to get online. You can delve deep, learn the basics and almost become an expert, you know, with time.

Shashi:

It's well worth it.

Speaker 3:

Awesome.