Sumanti Sen is an English Literature graduate who believes "there's just one kind of folks. Folks.".
30-year-old Rajas Paranjpe from Mumbai was only 23 when he started his own firm and specialized in producing marketing videos and eCommerce websites. Fascinated by how entrepreneurship works, Rajas always dreamt of doing something new and bringing about a significant change in the marketing world.
Three years ago, a ground visit changed his vision towards entrepreneurship.
“While shooting for a documentary on prosthetics for heavy animals, I visited a gaushala for the first time three years ago, and I got an insight into the difference between indigenous desi cows and Jersey/Holstein cows. That one visit to the Gaushala was an eye-opener for me,” Rajas tells The Logical Indian.
“I spoke to the head veterinarian at the Gaushala to understand exactly what was wrong with the cows there. What came to my notice was that the Desi cows were abandoned by some farmers due to the relatively less quantity of milk they yield. The cows became unaffordable to farmers but they didn’t want to send them to slaughterhouses. As an animal lover, I took this to my heart and decided to do something in order to help make rearing desi cows sustainable once again,” he adds.
After over two years of extensive research on the importance of desi cows, benefits of A2 milk, A1 vs A2 milk, etc, Rajas ended up conceptualizing his start-up – Bodhishop – which is now a major success in the industry.
Bodhishop is not only run by Rajas but also his wife, 26-year-old Gautami, who is the co-founder. Having worked in AdFactors PR in her media days, Gautami comes with her knowledge in traditional and modern PR necessary for any start-up.
“Many people don’t know that the average life of cows is around 20-25 years. The cow produces milk upto 13 years. Whether the cow is milking or not milking, it still needs around 50 kg of food per day. To sustain such costs, products apart from ghee and milk must be monetized,” Rajas explains
Once they began dispatching orders, they realized that packaging cannot be overlooked. Owing to her natural organisational skills, Gautami ultimately took over the task of making sure parcels reach safely to customers while Rajas gets to explore the latest and best eco-friendly ways of sending fragile items within India and outside.
“Within three months, netizens started noticing Bodhishop and customers were impressed by our initiative,” Gautami says.
I was in a really monotonous 9-6 job then. I had started feeling like my job did nothing to really make a difference. I was seriously considering a change in the field. There was an unexpected rise in sales and inquiries from visitors kept coming to Bodhishop every single day,” she continues.
“The need for a completely dedicated resource for content and customer care was identified by Rajas very soon. Because of experience in writing content and media, Rajas felt that I would fit the role well. In September 2018, I finally decided to take the leap of faith and quit my job to work full time on the content and customer care department. When I started packing some of our parcels, I discovered my interest in the field,” Gautami adds.
Rajas and Gautami host products from genuine and verified Gaushalas only on Bodhishop. Their primary focus is to promote the existing Gaushalas/Producers. They always encourage the farmers to sell their products by their brand name.
They have started providing free consultancy regarding packaging, branding, product development, etc. to new/next generation farmers who are producing genuine products. Their aim is to make the existing Gaushalas sustainable by selling products by their brand name only.
Bodhishop.in is an E-commerce marketplace that hosts Desi Cow Domain products. It works as simply as Amazon or Flipkart. The customer can add the products of their choice to their cart and checkout by selecting the payment option.
“We accept Debit Card, Credit Card, UPI, Paytm, Net Banking and almost all popular wallets. We also have a Cash on delivery system available in India. We accept payment in 52 currencies from across the globe and deliver worldwide except the UK,” Rajas says.
Once the customer has placed the order, the product is packed and dispatched with their trusted delivery partners.
“Regarding the revenue, we have grown 10x in revenue from the date of inception (1 August 2018), and we have a customer base of 2000+. We ship orders within India and Worldwide,” says Rajas.
Rajas says that the biggest challenge they face is related to vendor verification.
“Customers often call us and want to know which is the authentic brand. Every producer says that their product is the best, but whether they are telling the truth or not is not always verified,” Rajas says.
“Milk industry is the one with the highest percentage of adulteration. Customers want a third-party who would do the job of manually verifying the source of production periodically,” he adds.
“In the times when most people in society are extremely cautious about all the products that they buy, they are quite misguided by viral videos and posts which are seldom true. The toughest job is to make genuine information reach these people, who want to buy genuine products for their family. Lack of genuine content about the desi cow and the benefits of using desi products is a challenge that we are trying to overcome with our own original content. We are trying to inform and educate people,” Gautami says.
Bodhishop is ready to expand its marketplace and reach its domestic and international consumers. Bodhishop is now looking to raise funds to create its own milk logistics to fulfill the heavy demand for desi cow’s A2 milk.
Rajas and Gautami are confident that with their unique plan in the market, they will be the first to create a sustainable milk logistics channel and marketplace where at any given time the source of milk can be traced.
In a final message to young entrepreneurs struggling to do something new, Rajas says, “Self-motivation is a vital ingredient to start any business. Don’t depend on anybody else to encourage or motivate you. You have to be completely invested in your idea. Also, start with whatever resources you have. Try to figure out what you can do in the limited resources you have.”
“There is never a right time to start something. One thing or the other will always hold you back from taking the leap,” Gautami says.
“I know it is very scary to quit an existing job because it drastically changes your way of life. But if you believe in what you are trying to do, go ahead. Don’t let the fear of an uncertain lifestyle hold you back,” she adds.
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