How Odisha Custom Merchandize Startup Collegiatestore bagged their first International Client in less than 3 months



Customized merchandise is very much in demand these days. From colleges to corporate, everyone likes to flaunt their brand identity. But, offline merchants often charge a lot and take too much time. A good online platform that easily provides customized merchandises can ease the plight of the customers. This is what urged Smruti and Ankit to create Collegiatestore.

What is Collegiatestore? is an online platform where you can design and order t-shirts, hoodies, shirts and other customized products. All you need to do is- choose a product and upload your design. The Collegiatestore designers will take care of everything else. Back in May 2013, the startup was founded by Smruti Ranjan Mohanty who is also its CEO. He is a B. Tech graduate from JSS Academy Bangalore and an MBA from NIT Rourkela. Ankit Acharya is the co-founder and Marketing head of Collegiatestore. Ankit has done a course in digital marketing and is a certified digital marketing expert. He is all set to join a graduation college and is one of the youngest entrepreneurs to lead a startup.

Collegiatestore team
Smruti Ranjan Mohanty and Ankit Acharya

The startup was launched in October 2013. With 30-40 unique visitors everyday, the startup has received a very good traction. Almost 90% of the clients have returned for a second purchase. Having tied up with many agents, Collegiatestore team wants to ensure faster processing time. For marketing, the startup uses mouth to mouth publicity along with social media. “We did what works best in the country, Influence. We used all our contacts, and managed to get our company noticed. And once that happened, getting customers wasn’t really difficult”, says Ankit. The startup is self-funded, with an initial investment of Rs. 2.5 Lakhs.

The team counts getting their first international order within 3  months of operation as their biggest achievement,and rightly so.  Competition in the online custom apparel segment is apparently high. Collegiatestore differentiates by providing better services such as quality, delivery and economical prices. As for challenges faced, Ankit explains, “The biggest challenge we have faced till today is finding the right talent. As custom based e-commerce is not such a widely used term, finding the right people for the same used to be a tedious task for us. Currently Collegiatestore is a family of 9 permanent and around 20 temporary individuals. We ensure that all of them are well versed as to how this business works.“. The Startup is self funded for now though the team hopes to raise some funds in the future. As for the future, the startup hopes to launch new products, expand its reach, and open new offices.

TTP’s Take

Collegiatestore indeed offers many valuable services. The fact that 18,000 products were delivered in the last 7 months shows that the startup is in the right direction. Though, high competition in the custom apparel segment should compel the founders to brainstorm new ideas. With this surging compeitition, strong marketing and PR skills is the need of the hour. TTP wishes team all the very best!