Aarati Gedam, 34, mother of two beautiful little girls and the founder of Book-a-Boo is originally from Goa and with an educational background in Microbiology and Project Management. She had moved to the Middle East where she worked with the corporate Oil and Gas Industry for over a decade and she believes on what the great Nelson Mandela said – “It always seems impossible until it’s done”.
She told INCUBEES that after successfully publishing five activity books for kids, she slowly added new products and now cater to Unique Activity books and educational toys across India through our e-commerce store Book-a-Boo. (www.bookaboo.in)
INCUBEES: Tell us about your products?
AARATI GEDAM: Book-a-Boo was started with one simple aim- To make learning fun for Babies, Toddlers and Young Children. We deal with unique age appropriate activity books and educational toys across India.
INCUBEES: What makes your products unique and what competition do you see in India and globally?
AARATI GEDAM: It is proven that 90 per cent of a child’s brain develops in the first six years making early learning very important for parents and teachers. When you visit toy stores, it is astonishingly difficult to find toys that are engaging, innovative and thoughtful. At Book-a-Boo, we focus on carefully curated books and toys that can keep children engaged. In the current times, we face tough competition from toy dealers and resellers as kids are learning from home and parents are worked up about keeping kids busy so they can work from home. I see competition as a welcomed challenge that keeps us on our toes and drives us constantly to improve our products.
INCUBEES: What are the changes you see in the market at this point of time?
AARATI GEDAM: It is a pleasant change to see India focusing and promoting products that are made in India. People are now appreciating and recognizing products that are handmade and customized. On the other hand, we are quickly moving to a virtual world. So parents are focusing on Apps and Learning Websites rather than physical books and toys. Keeping your eyes open to spot trends is really a challenge and it is important to have the ability to quickly use the trend in your favor will help you capitalize your business.
INCUBEES: Tell us about your team and what inspires them.
AARATI GEDAM: I manage Book-a-Boo by myself. That means, I am juggling between the kids and marketing, social media, packaging and logistics by myself. However, being a family business, I always have my family’s support and constant motivation. Customer satisfaction and word of mouth always inspires me to bring something new to the market.
INCUBEES: Where do you see your product reaching in the next five years?
AARATI GEDAM: We want to expand and make Book-a-Boo a popular brand across India and Globally. We want to reach out to preschools and nurseries and provide teaching aids and also be a part of every household and bring smiles to the little ones.
INCUBEES: Do you have plans to raise funding to grow your business or allow your business to organically grow?
AARATI GEDAM: Currently we are growing organically and want to focus on branding and making Book-a-Boo a well-known and trusted brand in India.
INCUBEES: What are the challenges you face as a startup?
AARATI GEDAM: “A smooth sea never makes good sailors” and the world of startups is a violent one. As a start-up, we lack guidance on branding and financial management. Money begets money. Small startups rely heavily on financial backups from the so-called investors. At times, when there is a cash influx, small firms, most importantly startups tend to find it really hard to properly manage their finances and they bog down against the pressure. With big giants in every industry, it is very difficult for small startups to win a customer’s trust and we are working aggressively to implement a customer-centric working philosophy to attain sustainable growth.