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An Interview with Raj Iyer, Founder of Icustommadeit.com

25/02/2016
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Open Talk @DSIM

An Interview with Raj Iyer, Founder of  Icustommadeit.com

Icustommadeit.com is Asia’s largest online marketplace connecting individuals looking for unique bespoke creations with curated professional creators globally. Icustommadeit.com, a Pune based Start-up Company that facilitates creation and retail of customized merchandise, founded in May 2013 by Raj Iyer and Kundan Dhake. With the growing need for custom-made products, icustommadeit provides a forum to bridge the gap between manufacturers / creators and shopaholics who love everything custom-made.


Q1. 
Hi Raj, Welcome to DSIM. To begin, let’s talk about your business, how did the idea of icustommadeit come to your mind?  

Ans. I met a gentleman a few years ago, who was wearing an exquisite ring adorned with a 3D Lion cub. He shared that he got it customized from Belgium. That was my Eureka moment!

I started to explore the possibility of an exclusive platform where I could just click the photo of the ring and upload it, and numerous talented jewellers from who have executed similar projects before, could bid on my product and I could then choose a creator based on his past projects, feedbacks, etc.

When I thought deeper, I recognized that this could be extended beyond jewellery and can engulf categories like furniture, wearable’s, and many more. Imagine a world with no boundaries. And that was the driving thought behind ICustomMadeit.

Q2. Raj, Let our readers know about your business model and marketing strategy?

Ans. We are a marketplace for creating and buying of goods.

Marketing roadmap-

  • Increasing brand awareness in tier 1 & tier 2 cities (campaigns, promotional activities)
  • Will be undertaking Marketing Initiatives like – Radio Ads, Digital Ad Ramp Up.
  • Print Ads in major national dailies, promotional SMS
  • Scaling Business Development – on-boarding more & more creators on daily basis
  • Offering improved Customer Experience – overhauling UI/UX as per industry standards
  • Improving user experience on handheld devices
  • Increase in workforce
  • Immediate focus on streamlining operations in India; have tied-up with key logistics partners
  • Intend to go global in next 6-8 months
Q3.  Nicely explained! Can you share the process of developing icustommadeit and some of the challenges you faced along the way?

Ans.  Initially, the challenge was to put the idea into shape and showcase it to the world. Doing the research and designing the website was a real challenge, and explaining the concept through it, but with a very skilled & focused team, we have managed to do just that.

The next part was to scout and find those awesomely skilled creators in our country who are not available on any online platform. We have been very clear and focused on what exactly we look for in a creator and his products as well as interaction through the online platform and timely deliveries and updates. We have had to educate our creators on the immense possibilities in the bespoke industry but it has been very satisfying.

I am proud to say that each one of us involved in icustommadeit.com is very passionate about what we are doing, where we are trending and we have laid the foundation for a very strong everlasting relationship.

Q4. We are curious to know, how do you promote your company and how do you reach your customers? What digital marketing model works best for you?
Ans. We have seasoned social media agencies taking care of our digital requirements.We have 67K facebook likes and 732 followers on twitter.
Q5.  Does the future look promising? Where do you see yourself and your business in the next 5 years? 

Ans. Yes, it definitely does! We aim to go global within the next six months and become a much admired and respected global concern. We aim to empower sellers and brew one lakh millionaires within the next five years from the local artisan pool by connecting them with enthusiastic buyers through icustommadeit.

We are also tying up with various NGOs in the country as they do formidable work with indigenous artists and craftsmen, this would be our humble contribution in promoting & supporting the expert craft of many who go unnoticed.

Q6.  Raj, Let us know more about company’s funding?

Ans.We have recently closed our third round of angel funding ($250,000). Yes, we are looking for funding and currently in talks with several potential VCs. However, we are quite selective about the investors we choose to be associated with. We are seeking support from veteran industry players who will help us to grow & expand exponentially!

“Thanks for taking out time. Our readers will really get benefited from your valuable suggestion. Best wishes to you and Icustommadeit from DSIM.”

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