We are publishing an interview of Mr. Abbas Akbari, Partner, Tsar Inc.
Please tell us about the founders
Haider Ali Lashkar and Abdul Kadir Bhandari are based out of Indore and Abbas Akbari is Chennai. All three were hostel mates in Mumbai while doing their graduation. Haider Ali is a graduate in management studies from Hinduja college, Abdul Kadir is also a graduate in management Studies from NM college and a post grad in M.com and Abbas is a graduate in B.com from K.C. college. Before starting TSAR Haider worked in a Mumbai based company Wood Ware Pvt. Ltd., Abdul Kadir worked as deputy manager in e-commerce company named Ezzy Bazaar Pvt Ltd, Abbas worked in Ford Motor Pvt Ltd in Chennai.
What is the problem you are trying to solve? Can you share with us any insights that led you to believe that this is a big enough problem?
Our product does not really cater to solving any problem per se. Tsar’s intention of coming out with something like wooden watches was to cater to the youth a product which is a regular one but with a twist. These days watches are not even used for what they should be i.e., to see time. It’s all about the looks and style. Watches are being made in different materials because what people look for in a watch is how attractive it is on one’s wrist. The whole purpose of it to look for time in a watch is gone with the rise of cell phones since the last decade. So now it has all become about how fancy a watch is and how much one has spent on it. We may not be the one who would has innovated something that isn’t found anywhere but it is a product that has existed for a century but it’s made definitely made of a something that is not known to people.
What is the uniqueness about your Startup?
The most basic and standard USP of our watches are that they are extremely light weight. Though being made of wood the watches are water resistant and we provide a free pick and drop warranty for a year. The whole pain of going to the retailer and getting it fixed is gone. Apart from the obvious features we provide, the benefits of wearing wood is just too alien of a situation to a lot of them. Wood is resistant to heat, frost, corrosion and pollution. By making and purchasing products made from wood, we minimize the need for products that are manufactured from carbon-emitting steel or plastic giving wood products a significantly lower carbon footprint. Wood have a certain benefits of the its own that it provides to the wearer. For example in one of our watches we used Ebony wood that is sourced from Sri Lanka and it is useful for bringing creative and intellectual changes in life and removing communication barriers. A wooden watch will most certainly be more comfortable on your wrist than any other watch. And the very well known fact remains that the wood gets better with age.
What is the revenue model? Explain your thought process.
Tsar is like just another product based company so the revenue model is more obvious and regular. We sell both online and offline. But most of our watches are sold online with the major sales coming through our website www.tsarwatches.com. Apart from it, we sell through major e-commerce and fashion websites in India. From all these the maximum sales we get from is Amazon. Through offline we sell directly through retailers and our major presence is in Indore, Chennai, Hyderabad and Ahmedabad.
Who are the consumers that you are targeting? How is this going to affect them?
We at Tsar believe that watches are for everyone. We do not want to narrow down on the customers to a certain class of people or a certain age group. But yes, since our product is in the initial stages we definitely have to break down on our customers to get attention. Only once we garner attention, is when we also get a clear picture of who are actual customers are. In the beginning you have to go on the assumptions on people’s choices. Our target customers are between the age of 20-35. Reason being that this group are open to new fashion trends. And as watches being one of most important accessory to one’s attire, not many think twice to spend a good amount on it. And people are always looking for change and something that is new and out there in the market and something that they can flaunt. And wooden watches certainly caters to all that they look for in a product. And with foreign brands being introduced in India, people are open to options from different brands. So why not give people something very different which other brands do not offer.
What is the big picture of your startup? Will it lead to something bigger? If so, how?
A lot of the watches sold in India are usually Swiss, or American brands. The house hold brand of watches in India is just one i.e., the one that usually people prefer. The time now have changed and people spend and buy a watch of a foreign brand. The whole point here is that why is there not enough brands of watches from India that can cater to the likes of people here. So, why not start a new brand with a completely different design and concept. People are open to new things and definitely open to new brands and innovation. Yes, certainly in the initial stages it is difficult to make the name Tsar known to the majority of them, but once it has made a name people get the confidence automatically and they start buying it and what better than to make a brand of watches from India.
What is the success story of your startup in your own words?
Success is still a long way to go for Tsar. Success never comes over night. And a product like this which is so unconventional will definitely take time for people to accept. When we started Tsar, it just sounded so easy to sell. Because you think its the best product that you have come out with and will go viral. But the way it has been for us is very difficult. We were unable to sell in the first month of our launch. We started google ads, facebook marketing but it wasn’t working out. It started to look like a bad idea. But we waited, we waited till we got our first order from the website and that was more than a month and a half later. That was the start. But problems didn’t stop there. Our sales kept fluctuating after that as well. But all these problems only make us to think more, think better, be different from the rest. One of the few achievement we felt was after we were selected for the Amazon launchpad where they promote new and innovative start ups. This was a good boost for us. Tsar being a self-funded company is very difficult to run since the resources are limited and we’re bootstrapped. But what drives us is the belief in our product, our passion for our work and the urge to not give up. Be prepared for anything that comes your way. Even if there are things that not work out are not waste because you learn something out of it. Everyday we wake up with positivity in us to make everyday as better as possible for ourself and for the company. Success never comes easy. You have to be prepared for the worst, but always stay, be patient and be ready to sacrifice.
Thanks Abbas. Best of luck!