Shubhra Chadda Curated
Co-founder and HOP Chumbak
CURATED BY :
How imperative is customer experience to a brand?
Customer experience is as important as the product. Our decision to open large-format stores dealt with providing a good experience. Initially, we had opened pop-up stores in high traffic areas. But as we expanded our plethora of offerings, we wanted to add colour to people's lives and provide a special experience. We wanted our stores to look and feel a particular way and to elevate customer moods. That is not possible with pop-up stores and hence, we closed them down.
How has the brand progressed in terms of products and experience?
Though our initial thought pertained to souvenirs and refrigerator magnets, our aim has been to provide products that have a design sensibility and to which our customers, who are not only tourists, but also well-travelled individuals, can connect at a personal level. We have been bringing out new products on a regular basis to keep up the customer excitement and momentum. We are a happy and colourful brand. And now to enhance the customer experience, we have launched products around a theme, like the tropical theme that is adorned with our signature leaf prints, pineapples, flamingo, toucans, florals and other elements that bring in freshness. Rather than merely introducing new product ranges, here we are talking of a theme around which our products have been designed.
What is the good, the bad, and the ugly of working with your spouse (or sibling)?
It’s very encouraging to see millennials in the startup mode, founding companies with their friends and families. This trend suggests that there is a considerable amount of trust, confidence, and conviction to work together, but of course there will be a good and a bad side to working with someone so close to you. First, the bad part. Vivek and I work well together but since we spend the entire day together, there aren’t any hi-honey-how-was-your-day kind of conversations. Initially, we had to make an effort to get used to the fact that we were seeing each other all the time leaving us with no “me” time. We have a common, unfaltering focus on the two things that are most important to us, our family and how we raise our daughter, and the vision we have, that is to grow and perpetuate the Chumbak brand. So that is the good part. The other good thing is that because there is an already-established comfort level, it’s easier to walk up to him and tell him something that I don’t like. So it makes the working relationship quite transparent. I can’t think of anything that’s in the ugly category
What about work-life balance? If you’re working together all day with your husband, does work naturally go back home with you?
Honestly, this comes with practice. We’ve made a conscious decision not to discuss work at home, come what may. It gets so taxing when you’re working 10 – 11 hours a day that to come home and discuss work would be criminal. We like to dedicate our “us” time to our family when we are at home. We’re committed to the quality time our daughter needs. The good thing is that we have passions other than Chumbak that we pursue when we are not at work. I’m learning how to play the keyboard and I love to read. Vivek is very serious about photography and he loves to cook. There is so much more you can do with your time at home, so why discuss work?
When you started out, how did you and your husband, Vivek, decide which verticals each of you was going to manage?
I think the choices were based on our passions and on our respective fortes. I am passionate about design and integrating it with my vision for Chumbak, hence, design automatically came to me. And since design and the product are directly related, I oversee product development as well. Vivek is great at managing operative functions. He is more passionate about the overall vision for the company and the business aspects so he oversees all the other business functions.
What has been your biggest learning?
What roadblocks did you face when you were starting out?
How Chumbak evolved from a Souvenir brand into Lifestyle brand?
How did you start Chumbak?
How did you build Chumbak?
What was the idea behind Chumbak?
How were you as a child?