Hi, I am Anupama and in my current role, I am the Co-founder of Unfactory.
Unfactory is a marketplace for independent artists who make handcrafted & handmade products. As the name suggests, we are everything that’s not mass produced. We launched Unfactory (the beta version) in June, 2016.
Q – Who or what inspired you to begin this company ?
The concept and the thought of a ‘people-to-people’ marketplace had been brewing for a while. The biggest inspiration was to know that there were a whole lot of people who were creating and making things that have a socio-cultural value through their own independent ways and resources. Apart from this, as a team, we all shared a passion for all things indie – daily needs, books, films and music. In a nutshell, this is how Unfactory took off.
Q – Was it your dream to start a pop up collaborative? What separates you from the other pop-up companies out there?
Our focus was to create a ‘people-to-people’ marketplace. A platform for independent artists, designers & makers to showcase and sell handcrafted and handmade products. There’s so much talent and so many beautiful products being made out there and it was the right moment for us to embrace and support the development of independent communities. We aspire for more and more people to embrace handcrafted products.
At Unfactory we constantly search and curate things that are rare to come by. Products, that are high on aesthetics, quality and adds value to the consumers lives. As part of our journey, we want to create a sense of community forming meaningful relationships between the maker and the buyer.
Q – What were the hurdles you faced when you began this company? Your milestone journey.
Being on your own is a different ball game than being employed in a setup. You are not restricted to a role. You are not an ‘account manager’ servicing a client. You are the CEO and the intern, and everything in between!
You are the key person maintaining relationships between artists, the team and the customers; You are the sales executive making calls to artists; You take care of all finances of the company, making sure that all payments to artists are done on time; you are the service executive clarifying to end customer, and answering to customer queries on social platforms and mails; you coordinate between the logistics company onboard and the artists, making sure that the orders are delivered safest and fastest; you are the photographer for a couple of the artists and end up having a shoot on your terrace when your baby is asleep and also you sometimes end up modelling for the artists because you are bootstrapped and can use all resources on hand! 🙂
When you are not restricted, you experience creativity and makes you discover your own talents you never knew existed. Pushes you to stretch the limits. The end result can be something that’s beautiful.
There will be times when there’s just way too much to be done and it can get overwhelming. What works for me is to focus on key tasks and one task at a time. I strongly believe in making notes, strike them off when done. I always knew that time management is going to be a challenge particularly, being a first time entrepreneur and a new mom at the same time. Lot of times I resume work when my daughter falls asleep at night – I call this my second shift! ☺
I also experienced that one of the biggest challenges anywhere is expectation vs reality. You expect certain things to happen at a certain pace. But in reality, they always end up the way you didn’t expect it to. So, it becomes critical to review and redefine expectations move forward with renewed goals.
Q – What was the best and the worst advice you received when you began your company?
I heard this quote from another entrepreneur that one must run a business for a minimum of 1000 days and whatever happens, not quit before that. This is something that I strongly believe in too.
Q – Do you believe in dreams? How would you motivate the people who wanted to follow their dreams but are afraid?
All things begin with a dream. But I believe in the saying that ‘You get what you work for’. You may have the grandest of the dreams. But it will not translate into reality if you don’t work for it.
So here’s what i would say –
Start small. Begin somewhere.
Many a times when we have an idea, we tend to think about the idea as a whole and dwell a lot of time in analysing all the possible obstacles that we don’t start at all. The key is to start somewhere. Start small. We get a lot of clarity when we sink in our teeth and get going.
Prioritise. Focus on one task at a time
When in college, life is not like how it was in school. And when you start working, life is not like how it was in college. Life keeps changing and so does our priorities. So it’s important we don’t look in the past and always move forward. Prioritise the tasks that we have on time, focus on one job at a time and get things done.
Have goals. Short term and long term.
Many a times, it’s easy for us to get carried away with the sheer number of things to do.
So it helps to have daily tasks and to strike them out when it’s completed.
Have tangible goals. Keep an eye on the numbers.
Make life a little easy on yourself!
We all tend to adorn different roles – mother, wife, working professional, friend, daughter, daughter-in-law. And it can get hectic, trying to juggle all those roles. So it helps to build a support system around you.
Get some “me” time
It’s important to spend some time with ourselves too. So there’s nothing to feel guilty about getting some “me” time. So go out there and get an evening of guilt-free fun, not worrying about home, work or the baby!
Q – How do you feel about your company at this point?
We are still at an early stage. The experience so far has been wonderful. Response to what we have to offer and how we want to run our business is very encouraging. I am very thankful to that.
Everyday is an inspiring day, because we come across so many talented artists who share a common purpose with us. And this leaves us confident in contributing to the overall handcrafted sector in our own little way. Here’s to exciting times ahead!