Where do you go when you’re thousands of miles away from home but are aching for some of that homemade goodness? Why, SaleBhai, of course! SaleBhai is an Indian e-commerce portal that enables people living away from home to order a range of specialties directly from their hometowns. It is a one-stop solution for those individuals who want to discover regional products from all across India. People can pick from a wide variety of delicious consumable items like sweets, snacks, chocolates, bakery items, authentic spices, dry fruits, beverages, and pickles. It also offers other goods like handicrafts, paintings, puja items, handloom goods, as well as herbal and wellness items.
Started by a trio of three crazy friends, Vishwa, Purba and Pramod came together after many years of pursuing different careers. There was one more thing in common amongst them besides the desire to do something extraordinary. “We realised we had all come a long way from our childhood cities, towns, and villages – leaving behind a bit of ourselves… our lives… our dreams. SaleBhai is thus an attempt to take you back to your fondest memories… your aspirations… your roots.” SaleBhai puts the heart back in business. The e-commerce platform offers a diverse range of authentic products from across the country to strike a chord at prices you’ll love.
The Brains Behind This Soulful Business
Vishwa and Purba are the co-founders of SaleBhai. Vishwa has over 17 years of experience in sales and marketing in companies such as Airtel, Nerolac and ICICI Lombard. He was also part of the retail team at ICICI Lombard (as Vice President – motor business), which grew from $10m to a whopping $400m, in just six years. He handles the overall functioning of the company with direct involvement in marketing, logistics, and product categories.
Purba is responsible for handling the overall communication, content development, and PR activity for the company. She brings over 17 years of experience in content development and plays a vital role in looking after all business communication requirements. She was part of the journalism industry for over 12 years, and gained considerable professional experience at Bennett, Coleman and Co. Ltd. (Times Group). In 2012, she moved to business communications, and worked closely with the team that launched the Flipkart Marketplace.
Pramod is the Chief Technology Officer at Salebhai.com. He handles the overall IT functioning of the company. Pramod began his professional journey as a software professional who worked with Polaris for 3 years before starting Expedite Solutions Pvt. Ltd in 2007. He has developed over 400 websites and has worked on platforms such as Java and Dot Net. Some of his noteworthy products include Auto Efile – a tax preparation software for accountants and CPAs in the US.
Besides the daily needs of the migrant populations, SaleBhai also fulfils their special requirements during festive occasions such as puja samagri, prasad, puja-special food such as modaks during Ganesh Chaturthi and fafda-jalebi during Dussehra. Not only this, one can find the best of India’s seasonal products such as mangoes – Alphonsos from Ratnagiri, Dasheri from Malihabad, Kesar from Gir and more – right here on SaleBhai. It’s like the best online flea market where everything is on sale. Online shopping has never been better!
The Trigger That Gave Birth to SaleBhai
The trio of friends strongly missed the specialties of their native places being in other cities and towns due to their demanding professions. Growing up away from their native places, with parents having transferable jobs wasn’t easy. The only chance they got to visit their hometowns, cities, and villages was during vacations. That was the only time when they could connect to their roots and discover unique things about our homelands – food, festivities, customs, traditions, etc. This longing brought them together and gave rise to SaleBhai.
Some in-depth market research demonstrated a market gap, created by a short supply of goods representative of a culture or region, led by people migrating within India and abroad. It was observed that most people moved to fast growing cities like Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Kolkata, and Mumbai – either due to employment opportunities, education, or marriage. And this relocation created a deep void in people’s lives.
And then, SaleBhai was born, in September 2015, to be precise. Now, with more than 8500 products sourced from over 100 cities and 350 select vendors, the company provides people with an opportunity to buy products in various categories from sellers across India.
“I hail from a small town called Balia, in eastern Uttar Pradesh”, says a humble Vishwa. “Since my father was in the government service, our family moved to Ahmedabad. I come from a risk-averse family background. But Ahmedabad’s entrepreneurial streak had rubbed off on me.” Vishwa’s father has supported him immensely and always advised his son to remain true to himself in whatever he did. “He told me not to be deterred by poor short-term results, as there is always a silver lining that we cannot comprehend immediately, but becomes apparent over time.”
Future Strategies and Beating the Competition
Vishwa says that there are websites which offer these same products in bits and pieces but SaleBhai is the only one which gives a holistic solution to the needs of the diaspora. Their offerings are unique with focus on making more and more different products available on the platform rather than having many sellers of one product and says there is no immediate threat from the big players.
Don’t be a people pleaser; instead focus all your hard work and energy on taking your project to the desired level”
Their key differentiator lies in the fact that all the products available on SaleBhai.com are unique, authentic and priced exactly as displayed at the shops where they are available. The products are of supreme quality because after they decide to sell an item, they pick the top three sellers of it from that region. The products listed on the online platform come with detailed description – popularity, benefits, facts, origin, usage, etc. Apart from these, all consumable products come with serving ideas from renowned chefs. Salebhai.com also lists complete information about vendors such as their history, lineage, credibility and reputation. With that being said, Vishwa plans to achieve a GMV of 7 crores this year.
“An entrepreneur has to constantly think and find solutions to problems that are quite unique to start-ups”, says a bold and unbeaten Vishwa. For him, every day is a new day and every hour poses a new and challenging situation – but this is what excites Vishwa the most and keeps him on his toes. He advises other young entrepreneurs to pursue something only if they are madly in love with their idea, as it will take everything they have. “Don’t be a people pleaser; instead focus all your hard work and energy on taking your project to the desired level”.