THE STORY OF HELMETS NEPALPosted On: August 20, 2017 By : AutoLife Team
Being an entrepreneur is hard; it is tough to start something from the ground up. Being a young entrepreneur is even harder. With significantly less experience and small ideas, the entrepreneurial journey of young people is usually fraught with a couple of difficulties. Besides, they are also subjected to certain social attitudes and stereotypes that make it even more difficult to be successful. However, many of today’s young entrepreneurs are trying to change this notion by overcoming these odds. Such is a pair of Prarthana Saakha and Sajal Joshi, the founders of Helmets Nepal. Helmets Nepal has been making its rounds in the local motorcycle community for quite some time now with a reputation for offering customers a one-stop-solution for genuine motorcycle helmets and accessories at reasonable pricing. To know more about their story, we caught up these young guns in a short tête-à-tête. Excerpts:
HOW DID YOU GET YOUR IDEA OR CONCEPT FOR HELMETS NEPAL? WAS THAT PASSION AND SKILL SET SOMETHING THAT SURFACED LATER IN LIFE?
As business students, we wanted to do something in this sector. That’s when entrepreneurship fascinated us. We were looking for an opportunity where we could probably create a lasting impact. A small incident triggered us to get into the automobile industry. We realized that the after-sales industry failed to reach motorbike riders in many aspects and we knew something could be done to fill this market gap. But, we fell short on the capital and lack of support from our well-wishers as we were just students.
However, these challenges made us more determined to make it happen. We took the leap of faith and faced it with our inexperience, low resources and time constraints. But our determination, perseverance and vision kept us going. This is how Helmets Nepal started. It was our platform to learn, grow and make a difference.
WHAT WAS YOUR MISSION AT THE OUTSET?
When we first started, we aimed at providing utmost comfort and convenience to our customers: home delivery, emergency delivery, value for money and many more. But looking in depth, we found out that the problem was not with people lacking time to purchase the product, but it was about people not getting genuine products despite of their willingness to pay for it.
Where genuine products can save lives during accidents, more copied products are distributed in the markets. On top of that, deteriorating road conditions and hazardous infrastructures are also equally contributing to road accidents.
Blaming the government about poor roads is useless, but thinking what can be done and actually doing it can be more impactful. Although, we still envision for convenience, we are now more focused on making genuine and authorized products available here in Nepal.
NOW YOU’VE OPENED A SWANKY NEW STORE, TO WHAT DO YOU ATTRIBUTE YOUR SUCCESS?
Instead of being alert all the time about what other competitors might be doing, we were able to think what we can do to increase our service credibility. We researched on the product, the market and the need of the consumers. We figured out that the trend of online sales would not be that suitable. Therefore, to address the need of general customers, we opened our showroom in Maitighar to connect with our customers personally. We designed our showroom in such a way that it combined both aggression and style.
Besides, our success would not have been possible without the support from our mentors, teachers and support from our family and friends. We feel grateful that we have been well received by our customers.
WHAT’S YOUR COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE AS COMPARED TO RIVALS?
We do face many challenges but we are more focused on what can be done to serve the market better rather than how to overcome our competitors. Our first major disadvantage was not having an online competitor. Had there been any competitor in the same industry, we could have learnt from their mistakes or followed the trends that worked in the market. But, since we are dealing directly with the importers, it is a competitive advantage for us as we can get in touch with the manufacturers directly and share feedbacks and complaints.
We make sure that anyone willing to make a purchase at Helmets Nepal gets a genuine product. Once they are associated with us, they are no longer our customer, they become our clients. We are trying to change the notion that Helmets Nepal is not just another helmet shop but a company where we follow organizational guidelines and ensure all relationships are well maintained.
WHAT WERE SOME OF THE BIGGEST LESSONS THAT HAVE IMPACTED THE WAY THAT YOU WORK? WHAT WAS THE LESSON, AND WHAT WAS IT LIKE BEFORE AND AFTER?
Startups are all about making mistakes and learning. During the initial period, we were focused on achieving our dreams and goals at any cost.
Aggression has been one of our biggest learning. We tried to make things good on the surface ignoring the foundation. That’s when we went wrong with our initial idea. Without any proper research and need analysis, we went out to serve the market. After realizing our mistakes, we decided to have a proper planning with clear vision and objectives. Success is uncertain; accepting the failure and learning is the most important thing.
IF YOU HAD ONE PIECE OF ADVICE TO SOMEONE JUST STARTING OUT YOUNG, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
Our advice to someone just starting out would be to consider the process and people rather than just concentrating on the product. Market leaders or big companies may or may not have the best product – what they have is the best strategy of selling of these products.
Youths are generally considered as rookies in terms of starting a business. We rarely see any industry led by young change makers. But, change is inevitable.