Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?
We commenced our journey in 2009 when we were more of an eCommerce solution provider. Today, we are a full-fledged B2B and B2C web-to-print software solution company facilitating web to print software, services, and customized solutions integrated with online design tools for the printing industry.
Since the beginning, we have always been dedicated to offering competent web-to-print solutions to our clients so that they can deal with the challenges of running a print business and boost their ROI. Today, within a short span of our existence, we have been able to acquire clients in more than 40+ countries which include the United States, UK, Netherlands, Germany, Australia, Switzerland, France, Canada, Denmark, and Brazil. 80% of our USA clients belong to the 4 major states - California, New York, Florida, and Texas and we are now aiming and working to expand further.
Our hard work and struggle helped us earn a turnover of 1.5 million dollars and 1000+ clients across 60+ countries currently and now we are expecting a growth of 50% in 2021-22 financial year.
What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?
In 13 years of my career, I have worked on many business ideas. While some turned out to be a failure, I managed to turn three of them into successful businesses among which Design'N'Buy is our core business right now. It is true that for running a successful business you need a partner at some point and I am blessed as I got the same in my life partner Nidhi Agarwal who is the CEO and Co-founder of Design'N'Buy.
The idea of Design'N'Buy was conceived all because of our customers, which is why we are committed to working for the best of them. One fine day we simply received a request from one of our prominent customers to develop a Flash plug-in for them as one of their customers had expressed an interest to personalize the t-shirts and other merchandise of their online print store. Since my team is always on their toes for trying out something new, we buried our heads researching and studying the market and realized that there are already quite a couple of solutions available in the market but they were either too complex or lacked important features. It was then we decided to come up with a customer-friendly solution that meets all requirements, and thus web-to-print was born.
Our team of developers came together and poured their best of knowledge and expertise to create our first-ever fully functional t-shirt design software and e-Commerce web store in 2009. Well, this can be termed as our "aha" moment as we had never thought of developing something like this even in our dreams. Although initially, we were worried about the success of it, when we stepped into the market and started getting positive responses because of the unique features of the design tool which made it an instant hit among the end-users and provided a stable and secure interface for the website owner, we were filled with gratitude that we took the right step.
All of this gave us the confidence to grow further, and we prepared the blueprint for our own web-to-print and online design tool solution that became our major stepping stone. Soon, within 6 months, we were ready for the market with our well-tested and technically proven online web-to-print design software.
Coming to the expertise/background then we were a software development service and hence had well-enough knowledge about software but when we started observing quite a several requests regarding web-to-print requirements from our clients, it was then we decided to step into it fully. We chose to provide our clients; both established printers and entrepreneurs interested in the printing business, with a standard product that is easy to adapt and get started with.
Take us through the process of designing, prototyping, and manufacturing your first product.
We follow a simple and customer-oriented approach as we believe that ultimately it's them who decide the future of any business.
Our manufacturing and design process starts with a discussion because until and unless the requirements are understood properly; there's no point in designing or manufacturing anything. So, a deep understanding of our customer's requirements is the first step of our approach.
Then we move on to a detailed analysis where our experts define workflow and study the feasibility. Next, a quotation is established based on the services/offerings sometimes; we even propose solutions as per the cost followed by approval from all regarding the authenticity of the product/service and move on to implementation. A prototype is formed which then undergoes development testing and reaches the UAT and review meeting which finally is passed on to the support team for its enhancement and maintenance.
Our support system is our other pride as it is rock-solid and always on the toes. We have 4 channels of support i.e help desk, live chat, email, and phone, and our average response time is 3-4 hours due to which we have scored 9.2 out of 10 for our client satisfaction.
As said before, since we were already an eCommerce solution provider there was no building from scratch but yes we followed complete legal formalities to become a full-fledged web-to-print solution provider.
Describe the process of launching the business.
The launch of Design'N'Buy happened with a lot of fears and doubts as it was a totally new world for us. We were stepping into an almost untapped area because although many print software was available in the market, a complete package of it wasn't yet discovered which we took the risk of but, today we feel very happy and proud that we made that decision.
Since we were skeptical about our move, we decided to start small and hence, commenced with developing our first web-to-print solution for apparel and promo products, thereby joining the web-to-print software bandwagon with a bang. To our surprise, it wasn't very long since we started getting positive responses as our solution was widely accepted and appreciated in the industry such that it paved the way for our deeper penetration into the printing industry and launched web-to-print solutions for other niche segments for years to come.
In the following years, due to the emergence of 3D printing technologies, 3D visualization became the de-facto standard for the online printing industry. So, following the trend and demand, we started working on an all-new product personalization design studio. As a result, in 2015, Design'N'Buy emerged as the first web-to-print solution provider to offer a complete 3D Design Studio that allows buyers to create stunning products online and get a 360 preview to order made-to-order products.
Similarly, we continued to keep up with the trend and so in the year 2018 when the digitally printed textile came into fashion, we introduced a web-to-print solution for textile manufacturers and fabric decorators using which they can allow their customers to buy customized textile online.
Next, due to the insurmountable growth of online retail and eCommerce, the importance of packaging rose like never before. When big brands and companies started focusing more on their packaging, sensing the demand we came up with another innovative and complete web-to-print solution for the packaging and label industry that allows customers to personalize the packaging products in 2 dimensions with clear cut and fold margins and check the live 360-degree preview for real-time visualization.
Thus, as demands rose, we expanded ourselves and designed, developed, and launched our website for print companies, customers, and others to easily take a tour of our solutions.
Talking about finances then of course, like every business we too faced many roadblocks and had to depend on various sources like loans, credit cards, etc., at our initial phase to keep going but, now we are standing strong and sailing on our only because of the intense hard work and firm determination of our entire team.
The biggest lesson that I learned from the conceptualization to the launch of Design'N'Buy is to “Never Give Up.” It is common to face challenges, failures, downfalls, hardships, roadblocks, etc. in a business but all that appears to be the end only if you consider it as so. If you confidently get up and believe that you can do it, then nothing is impossible, and no one can stop you.
Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?
At Design'N'Buy, we follow the principle “customer first” which means the customer is at the center of our universe so whatever we do they are always on our mind which is the only reason we have been able to achieve such a vast customer-base today.
Ideas are worth nothing unless backed by the application. The smallest of implementations is always worth more than the grandest of intentions.
I have one simple piece of advice for aspiring founders or entrepreneurs that never be in a notion that just because you have a website or a mobile app means customers will find you and come to you. Remember, the competition is getting fierce every second and you have to put some effort to capture the attention of customers as for them you are just like every other flower on a tree. So, to make them find you among the crowd, you need to market yourself. You need to shout out loud.* *
What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?
My answer to this question is always the same and one and only one - 5 AM Club by Robin Sharma. We all know what a great author Robin Sharma is. His self-help books literally blow the mind. The concept of the book is based on a revolutionary morning routine that will help maximize productivity, activate the best health and bulletproof serenity in this age of overwhelming complexity.
I loved the way he crafted a fictitious story about a billionaire mentor teaching a struggling artist and an entrepreneur about the importance of waking up early to show how revolutionary it is for success.
Here are some of the biggest lessons I’ve learned from this book:
- Waking up at 5 a.m. will provide you with solitude and an improved brain state to perform like the pros.
- Don’t live the same week a few thousand times and call it life.
- The great women and men of the world were all givers, not takers.
- Balance your four “interior empires” - mind, health, heart, and soul to achieve self-mastery.
- Don’t waste time when you wake up early, use the 20/20/20 formula i.e. dedicating 20 minutes to three highly-valuable activities each.
- Don’t let the pain of an imperfect past hinder the glory of your fabulous future.
- If everything seems under control, you’re not going fast enough.
- All change is hard at first, messy in the middle, and gorgeous at the end.
- The belief that disturbs you, the feelings that threaten you, the projects that unnerve you, and the unfoldments of your talents that the insecure part of you is resisting are precisely where you need to go.
- Ideas are worth nothing unless backed by the application. The smallest of implementations is always worth more than the grandest of intentions.
- Lastly my favorite - Dream big. Start small. Begin now.
Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting?
Indeed, starting a business is not easy but then it is not impossible either. Yes, there are risks associated with the business but that does not mean you should not even give it a try. You will definitely experience failures, falls, and slow-growth but remember patience and belief in yourself is the key.
Roadblocks are not the end. Consider them as a pause for you to think the other way. The common mistake that we all make is rushing for things. Never rush for success, fame, money, and growth as it will make you lose your focus. I firmly believe in slow and steady wins the race and hence go with the flow, work on your skills, stay focused, and try to make yourself better each day and then you will see how all success, money, fame, and growth will follow.
Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?
We always have a place for talents as we believe it’s not they who learn from us but we too get to learn a lot from them. At present we have openings, visit us on this site.
Where can we go to learn more?
If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!
Hey! 👋 I'm Pat Walls, the founder of Starter Story.
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