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Hyderabad Parents Launch Startup For Left-Handed Son, Bag 50,000 Orders in 4 Years

Sandeep and Pavitter Singh convinced Indian and French manufacturers to make low-cost stationery for left-handed people

Seven-year-old Gurinder Singh had just entered class V and suddenly found himself struggling immensely with two fundamental tasks – writing and art. “Gurinder had never faced any problem in academic life. But complaints about him not finishing homework or not writing notes in the class started reaching us,” says Sandeep Singh, his mother.

This was in 2015, and Gurinder’s Hyderabad-based parents, Sandeep and Pavitter, were in a fix. Sandeep says they failed to understand the problem initially. When they asked Gurinder, he would only say that his writing speed had reduced and he was not able to cope with the writing pace of the class.

“We started analysing his writing style and technique to realise his problem. Gurinder was left-handed,” Sandeep said...

...“We first researched stationery products specially designed for left-handers. They were all expensive. On an online platform, a pair of scissors cost Rs 1200!” Sandeep said.

This baffled Gurinder’s parents. While they could perhaps afford the specialised stationery, it seemed strange that more people weren’t showing any entrepreneurship in this sector. They were told the cost was high because the ‘left-hand’ market was too small for it to be anything more than niche manufacturing.

leftie pen.jpg

“But about eight per cent of this country’s population is estimated to be left-handed. So, the left-hand population is about Rs 10 crore,” Sandeep says. They couldn’t believe Indian manufacturers were allowing such a market to just wither on the vine like that. And that’s where the idea of filling the gap themselves came to their minds.

Their first step was to approach several Indian stationery manufacturers. That went nowhere since the same old conversations of ‘scale and cost’ began to be raised repeatedly. The duo then figured they could get them manufactured and imported from the international market...

...We spent seven months in figuring out how to cut down on pricing. It was agreed to cut down on profit margins, logistics and on marketing,” Sandeep explained. They decided to ship their wares along with other products in small amounts, and spend nothing on marketing.

leftie scissors.jpg

“The Rs 1,200 Maped scissors now cost Rs 200, while a Rs 600 pencil sharpener costs Rs 28. The other products are in similar budget price ranges,” Sandeep said.

Four years on, Sandeep said the startup has about 50,000 customers and is increasing quite satisfactorily.

“We do not have an advertising or marketing budget, and the business is purely by word of mouth or online search results. Even with about 100 per cent increase in customers annually, we were only able to breakeven with investments,” she added.

The company now wants to expand beyond the stationery products.

leftie sharpener.jpg

“We are working to explore opportunities if scissors can be manufactured in India and hoping to reach a viable figure for sales on those lines,” says Pavitter. Pavitter added that there are other products – like can-openers, vernier callipers and guitars that potentially have demands.

The parents have come a long way from their struggles with Gurinder’s writing. But the journey of this startup is a lesson to us all – all problems have solutions, and quite possible a business proposition buried in them as well.

(Edited by Vinayak Hegde)

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