Himanshi Singla and Akansha Roy, Founders of Paperphile, are among one of those young hearts who believed in creating rather than procrastinating. Necessity is the mother of invention and this has been the mantra of Himanshi and Akansha’s journey. Even the largest stationary fair of India was incompetent in serving them and with the right stationery products and they ended up starting something of their own. Himanshi and Akansha today are the Founders of Paperphile which expertise in creating unique designs of frames, bookmarks, badges, diaries and candles.

In her interview with Storiyaan, Himanshi shares how unfathomable the struggle was but the hurdles couldn’t dominate her. She guides us with a piece of advice that said “Open to others opinions, advice and criticisms but don’t get demotivated.

Have a look at her interview to explore more about Paperphile and these budding entrepreneurs!



Questions and answers

What led to the conception of Paperphile and how did it evolve over time?

My friend Akanksha and I were not able to find intriguing designs in the largest stationery fair in India in 2018. The unavailability of such products led us to come up with an idea of starting a company with stationery products. The company started by selling bookmarks and blank journals to our colleagues. We were able to grow eventually but the lockdown hit us hard yet we tried to reach and deliver our customers amidst troubles. We even launched our website in January 2021. The whole evolving process was quite daunting but there is no turning back now.

Your vision is to “cater to the needs and wants of people with new, innovative products and designs at most affordable prices". How do you aim to achieve that while maintaining a suitable profit margin?

We work on a model where our primary focus is to provide good quality at an affordable price. These would attract a diverse group of customers. Being a bootstrap start-up, we focus on our bottom line and concentrate on sales maximization. We try to optimize our supply chain and tie up with different vendors to optimize cost and maintain the best quality possible. In this way, we try to achieve our goals while maintaining a suitable profit margin.

What are some of the strategies that you have adopted to promote Paperphile across multiple digital platforms?

When we first made our online presence, attracting the audiences were slow and difficult but we kept working on building customer trust and provided great customer service. This helped in getting very important engagement. We promoted Paperphile on multiple digital platforms. We targeted the age group and found out where they are majorly active. I believe as a start-up it’s important to focus on the audience not only demographically but geographically as well.

Can you tell us a bit about your procedure of building your client base.

We are majorly catering to retail customers who are obtained through word of mouth, social media promotions, collaboration with various institutes all over India like Delhi University, Narsee Monjee College of Commerce etc. We are also slowly building a business customer base via references, promotions. Our ability to provide good designs at affordable prices is one of the biggest factors that attract our business customers.

Are there any new products waiting to be launched? If yes, could you provide us with a sneak peek into them?

Being a design and lifestyle brand, introducing new products and designs is an ongoing process. We keep introducing new products and new designs of existing products simultaneously. As of now, we have about 5-6 products in production that are supposed to be introduced in the next 2 months. As we have a good reader base, we will be introducing reader-based designs in bookmarks and journals along with dotted journals, and wall posters.

When you initially began this enterprise, what were the hurdles that came your way and how did you gather the capital?

The first hurdle we faced was to decide what should be initial products and designs. It was difficult to find vendors who met our requirements of low cost and good quality but we kept on exploring and reached out to different vendors. Building consumer trust was a slow process but we maintained the genuineness by serving them the right product at the right time. The initial capital was a hurdle but with the support of our family and friends and personal savings, we managed to raise enough capital to kick off.

What would be your message to the readers trying to venture into the world of entrepreneurship?

I believe having faith is one of the most important forces to start something new. If one thinks she/he can make it work, they should go for it. One should be open to others opinions, advice and criticisms but should not get demotivated by them. A very important thing while venturing into the world of entrepreneurship or while coming up with a start-up is proper research and having a well-structured plan on how to function. Mostly in such cases, one never attends overnight success, so having patience is also a big quality. 

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