Q: Hi Madiha, most of the startups emerge out of personal needs. Do you have a similar story?
A: Yes, my story is not any different. I am a working woman and remain occupied till late night. I don’t get enough time to run around shops because of my work responsibilities. Therefore, I prefer online shopping. When my child started going to school and it was time to get her uniforms, I searched for an online store selling school uniforms and accessories. But to my dismay, there was not even a single vendor/shop of such kind. So, I had to take out time and go to the shops, only to find out that all of them were over-crowded and running out of the required sizes.
It was a huge hassle just to get all the school items. I came across other mothers facing the same problem. I have more than 5 years’ experience of working in the technology industry, so it occurred to me to find a digital solution to this problem, and this resulted in the advent of Kharidoo.pk.
Kharidoo.pk was among the top 25 startups of TIE Islamabad 2015 and among the top 100 startups in startup expo 2015
Q: But do you think an online shop for school uniforms is a good idea, the parents physically go to the shops in order to find the perfect size for their children and still there are a lot of problems regarding fitting, since some children are chubby while others are too slim. How does an online store cater to this problem?
A: I completely understand this problem. We have introduced customized stitching to address this concern for the parents. The uniforms are displayed in standard sizes but if there is a different requirement we tailor or stitch it accordingly.
Q: Do you have any contract with the uniform whole sellers or brands or are you manufacturing it on your own?
A: No, we are not manufacturing it on our own. We have a contract with 4-5 vendors and some tailors who do all the altering and embroidery etc if needed.
Q: Do you take only individual orders or are you working with the schools?
A: Up till now we have been taking individual orders and I believe that is what is more needed. Contracts with different schools are in process; soon we will be announcing them. I want to step up slowly and gradually. As it is a completely new idea, so our priority is to build our reputation and gain trust in the market. Focus on customer service. That’s why we are taking baby steps to make a big impact in future
Q: Did you face any challenges while approaching the schools and what was their response to your idea?
A: Not really, all the schools we approached till now have appreciated our idea and the response has been positive.
Q: How have you distributed responsibilities among your team?
A: I manage all the tech side while others look after the orders, booking and marketing. For logistics we have two courier services working with us, BlueEx and TCS.
Q: Any reason for having two courier services?
A: Actually, it depends on the urgency of the orders. If there is an urgent order than we deliver it through TCS otherwise BlueEx is more
Q: What are the delivery charges?
A: The delivery charges are 250/- PKR only for orders below 2000/- PKR. For orders above 2000/- the delivery is completely free.
A: Most of our customers fall in the middle class financial hierarchy, so it’s important to see the product cost. Together with providing online convenience of shopping, we also want to be economical to the parents. Revenue is not our concern yet. We have a small revenue part in the manufacturing only.
Q: One of your claims is good product quality. So we would like to know the kind of fabric you are using. As you intend to become every parents solution, one of the biggest concerns is the fabric, most uniforms are made of thick KT material which is very difficult for the students to be worn in summers. Are you using the same material?
A: That is true; fabric makes a lot of difference. Since I am a mother, I can understand this concern. The KT material usually used for uniforms is very hard and cannot be worn in summers, and it’s very hard to be washed as well. So we are using cotton fabric to make uniforms. That’s why our uniforms are easy to wear in both summers and winter; they are easy to wash as well.
Q: Have you ever refused a customer’s order? If a parent calls you to place a single order and it’s of an entirely new school. Would you take up that single order and purchase all the new fabric for it? If yes, is it going to be economical for you?
A: We have never said no to our customers. Single order or multiple, we make sure our customers’ needs are met. Well in this particular case we will accept the order; I actually see this as a whole new customer line building up because it’s more about word of mouth these days. That parent is going to promote our name in their circle; we are more likely to get more orders then. That’s how we will grow and develop a reputable name in the market.
Apart from uniforms we have school shoes (Brands: Bata, Service), books and bags. We aim to introduce other accessories in future as we see ourselves becoming a solution to every parent’s troubles while buying new school accessories.
A: Yeah we are well aware of this fact. First of all, we have the advantage of being the market opener. First mover advantage.
We have served over 400 customers and have started building a positive name. Secondly, our product quality and customer satisfaction will make us stand out in the market. Our team makes sure that the customer is completely satisfied. We handle all customer queries and verify the order before processing and then confirm the delivery after it has been dispatched. Our amazing customer service makes us different from the rest. Our value proposition is empowering the parents. So for the ease of our customers there are different payments options, Online Bank transfer, Cash on Delivery and EasyPaisa services. We have received positive feedback from our clients that motivates us and strengthens our belief in our idea.
Q: The new school session is just a few weeks away. Have you got any special plans?
A: Yes, the team is prepared and ready to take up the orders. Our short-term plan for this is to set up a facilitation desk at schools so the parents can place their order right there. Our every move is to cater the needs of the parents and to provide them with ease. The parents will visit the school for collecting results so having a desk at the same place will really help them out.
Q: As you said you are taking small steps to progress. Where do you see Kharidoo.pk in the long run?
A: In the long run, I see Kharidoo.pk growing and developing a trusted name in this domain. In the near future, we look forward to introducing more categories for an even easier way to save the day. Building an excellent and worthwhile partnership with more schools, so we can proudly hear parents referring to Kharidoo.pk for all their children’s school accessories purchase.
In the future I see Kharidoo.pk becoming a great brand name for kids, their parents, schools and colleges.
Thankyou Madiha, we appreciate your efforts and wish you Goodluck for your future plans.