A picture holds many memories, you don’t have to share it or like it to cherish it. Gone are those days, when you pick up a photo and smile in reminiscence. These simple pleasures of life are vanishing with every step in technology. A picture speaks a thousand words and born out of this belief is an idea, simple yet necessary. Ungal Design is the name and passion for print is the game.
Janani, an alumnus of CEG, is the Proprietor of Ungal Design. She graduated in 2009 from Printing Technology. She has been to Germany representing our college in her pre-final year for a 10 day program. Then, she went on to work with a research oriented software company in her core line. She worked there for three years in which time she went to London for more research. After which Ungal Design was formulated. This Sole Proprietorship’s main product is online photo printing services. Here is an excerpt from an interview with Janani.
Why printing photos?
I was very much into my core subject. I loved to print photographs especially. I wanted to easily connect people living away from their home to their parents or grandparents. In India not all moms and grand moms have computer knowledge to get their digital photos on their laptop. Even though there are other players, they don't offer photos with custom messages like we do - we have something called 'Photo Letters' that allows one to send their photo along with their message.
For a start up, that too an e-commerce start up the main problem is getting people to know you exist.
What are the difficulties faced in this one man showdown?
For a start up, that too an e-commerce start up the main problem is getting people to know you exist. And as always you have all the other small issues that will be blown big if unattended. For instance, even if you send a product with the highest shipping rates, you cannot guarantee 100% delivery on time. If you have promised your customer a time, you need to stick to it. For this you need to be very prompt in following up with your logistics partner.
Does Ungal Design have a workspace?
Yes, even if you are an e-commerce guy, you need to have your workspace. Only if you are dealing with drop shipping type of business model you will not need space (even then you need space for your employees). We have our own space as we are working with photo prints - we have 5 state of the art printers, equipments like cutting, trimming machines and a bulk of supplies stored in our storage. You need to have a dedicated space for storage too, for this kind of a business. And you need to have accounts, marketing, and many other records properly set up in your space to ensure that a systematic workflow happens. This will only take you to the next level.
A sneak peak at the behind the scenes work that goes down at Ungal Design, please!
On the site - X will order a photo frame by uploading his photo and paying us through our 'Payment Gateway'. Behind the scenes, we look at the size of the photo, the kind of photo, the substrate requested for (in some cases) and other factors and then decide on the printer, arrange for the supplies (the specific substrate, cutting, etc) then design, retouch the photo if required and then go for printing. Once printed, we put it in the frame chosen (frame from our stocks) and then pack it with all essentials - bubble wraps, cardboards, corrugations, etc (and also a gift wrap if requested by the customer) and then arrange for shipping by generating a shipping label with the logistics partner. Then the packed frame will be picked up by the logistics guy and delivered to the customer.
Future plans for Ungal Design?
We have planned with corporate companies for events at the end of 2014 as well as in January and Feb. Apart from this, we are also having our photo booth planned at CEGAM (CEG Global Alumni Meeting) - an all alumni meeting happening in our college on 4th Jan, 2015, where we expect about 1000 participants. Fingers crossed, hopefully you’ll see more of Ungal design in college.
Also, Scaling is very important for any organization and Ungal Design has been planned for a year and has started up a few months back. We are looking to get our customer base set and only then will we look at scaling. Passion for print has driven the start-up to start up. Let’s see how far it takes us.
We are also having our photo booth planned at CEGAM (CEG Global Alumni Meeting) - an all alumni meet happening in our college on 4th Jan, 2015, where we expect about 1000 participants.
Any head's up on what is in store for our students?
We are planning on a stall for Kurukshetra. If all works fine, you get to print your photos instantly on the day of Kurukshetra then and there. And we are secretly planning on some surprise events too. Telling one may not harm - 'best selfie of CEG 2014-15' will be awarded personalized tshirts and keychains and a lot more to the winners of this contest!
How has the road to success been?
I started Ungal Design with dreams of a starting my own venture. It was a tough journey in the beginning. And as said, if you don't struggle now, you will later. The more effort you put in, the more you struggle now, the more you reap in the future. Hoping to be one of the big names in future!
Who said engineers can’t do business? Here is to all the future Ambani out there! Pursue you dream with a fervour and the world will take you places.