You never forget your first - your first friend, your first car, your first date, etc. Similarly, we’ve had a ton of firsts all in our first year of launching YOUR SARISTA that we wanted to share with you.
Our first meeting
We rented out a boardroom at a nearby hotel for our first meeting. Yea right! Like the start of many Canadian ideas, ours also started with a large steeped tea at Tims, double cupped of course to share #studentbudget. Our first meeting was a brain storming session, where Banuja diligently took notes on a small note pad found in the trunk of her car. That’s right, we weren’t completely ready for this meeting, but we didn’t put it off, we made the best out of what we had, and before we knew it we were bouncing ideas off one another and laughing while doing it. It was fun! We have no idea how 3 hours flew by but we managed to talk/complain about the struggles of saree shopping and tried to find a solution to it all. 1 year later, Tim Horton’s is still our hot spot for meetings and brainstorming.
Our first online customer
We had a great turnout at our launch party in July of 2014 where we ran a small pop up shop and sold many of our collections in person. This was wonderful, however, being one of the first online saree retailers, what we really wanted was an online sale. So we waited patiently, and then waited some more. We were quite disheartened 4 weeks later when we still had no online sales. Nevertheless, we stuck to our game plan, continued to add to our collections everyday, made those social media posts on our way to work, and supported each other emotionally along the way. Finally 5 weeks later, BAM our first online sale! We were ecstatic to see the fruit of all our hard work and slowly after that the online orders started rolling in! We felt the same way when we received our first international order from Norway.
1 year later, we consistently stuck to our game plan and are proud of achieving over 500 online sales by focusing on our processes rather than the goal.
Our first return
Everything seemed to be running smoothly, until 4 months into our venture when we received an email from an unhappy customer. Instead of simply processing the return, we openly communicated with our customer to find out what they were expecting and how our product fell short of their expectations. Truthfully, it is difficult to build relationships with online customers, as there is no face-to-face communication and little e-mail communication. Even though this felt like a setback, we realized the importance of using this as an opportunity to connect with our customer. We listened to our customer and quickly learned what she was specifically looking for, and she was right, this saree was not for her. We processed the customer’s return, and a couple months down the road we found a piece that fit exactly what she was expecting. Since we had established the connection with our customer, we reached out to her to gauge her interest in the piece, and to our surprise she ordered the new saree and was completely satisfied! We love a happy Sarista!
1 year later, we’ve had many more setbacks and just as many opportunities created.
Our first competitor
When you enter a business, your friends and family unintentionally become private detectives. Our detectives updated us on every single online saree store, which popped up over the last year, or should we say our competitive intelligence team. Initially, when we found out about a competitor we would get very nervous and anxious. It was similar to the anxiousness we felt at the start of the business when we were unsure of how the market would react to our idea of selling and renting sarees online. It was only later that we realized competition was actually a good thing! New competitors must have seen the positive reaction from the market and also believe in the potential and opportunity of our idea of online saree shopping - thus validating our idea even further! Once we changed our mindset, competition never felt so scary again. The concept of online shopping for sarees is brand new, and it would be very difficult to take the saree industry digital all on our own. We learned that as long as we stand strong with Your Sarista’s business values of efficiently delivering quality products with exceptional customer service, competition should not be feared; it should be welcomed.
A Recap of Our Launch Party
During our first year Your Sarista had many more firsts, from receiving our first shipment of sarees to delivering our first international package! All of this wouldn’t have been possible without the support and inspiration of all our Saristas! We are very excited to be celebrating our 1 year anniversary and would be honoured to have you join us as we host a 1970’s Saree Soirée!
Event: 1970’s Saree Soirée
Date: Friday July 24 2015
Location: Madison Event Centre 17 Vinyl Crt. Vaughan, ON
Event Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/476793939162752/