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Sarim started Dexpel in 2009. They detail the beginnings of their company in their Starter Story interview: 
Q: How did you get started on Dexpel?
By core, I am a programmer and back in 2005, I was doing PHP and web-based projects as a hobby. Eventually, I formulated a company and started making web sites for different clients. I was making good money.
But I always wanted to start a company of my own with a B2C manufactured product. I was really impressed by what zazzle.com was doing and in 2008 I had the idea of creating a similar company here in Pakistan. Since I live in Lahore, which is the capital of our province Punjab, it was very easy for me to get hold of different printers, laminators, manufacturers and understand the process.
In 2008 I started off with cards, decals, door skins, and mobile skins by investing a mere $2,000 from my freelance earnings. We started off with 3-4 products and then by 2010 we had over 20+ unique products.
Since I was a programmer and a digital marketing expert, e-commerce was not new to me, and I made sure that our online store should be state of the art as far as the tech was concerned. I always wanted an online customizer and we became the first company in Pakistan to house an online customizer.
The idea of making products online and seeing the live preview of the printing was fascinating for our customers and we gained a lot of traction in the online space.
I then started digital marketing along with conventional marketing. We would conduct different workshops in universities and book stalls for our products. We would also post ads in magazines and on different websites. We also invested quite a lot in Google ads and were ranked #1 in Pakistan for customized products.
Our best moment was when we emailed the Zazzle co-founder Jeff Beaver about our company and that how we started this business, we got an email from him appreciating our efforts. That was a proud moment for our company.
In 2009 there were big companies already operating in physical stores for apparel and merchandise. But our USP (Unique selling point) was that we were online and were delivering nationwide. The competitors took quite some time to understand how big is the online space and they started copying our web sites idea in 2012
Contributors to this article:
- Pat Walls, Founder @ Starter Story
- Wiki Updater