Delhi-based Serene Goraya who is the founder and CEO of luxury e-commerce portal for home décor (Brandberrys.in) has lent her expertise in Brand Management & Development to a diverse range of sectors. Prior to her dive into the IT segment, the young entrepreneur who is currently in her mid-30s and has lived across several cities (Hyderabad, Mumbai, Delhi), also founded a successful footwear manufacturing brand in Mumbai called Cara Pyramids by Serene Gandhi in 2012.
Serene shared here journey of creating and developing Brandberrys with Founder Talks. Let’s dive right into it.
Q Brief description about yourself/company.
Ans-I am Serene Goraya, a Delhi-based founder and CEO of a luxury e-commerce portal for home décor (Brandberrys.in), and I have my expertise in Brand Management & Development for a diverse range of sectors. I am also armed with an IT background and am a keen fashion enthusiast. While exploring my styling abilities, I founded a successful footwear manufacturing brand in Mumbai called Cara Pyramids by Serene Gandhi in 2012.
Then I conceptualised “Brandberrys.in” the luxury home décor label which has been creating waves in the online shopping scene, enriched with a carefully chosen range of imported home products that my husband & I personally curate. Established in 2020, amid the pandemic, Brandberrys.in started as a website that curated and sold digital art exclusively to bring out colours and new-age designs to homes across the country.
Q When did you start this company and what made you get into this field?
Ans- After days of being indoors and watching every possible show on Netflix that focused on bright, whimsical home decor, it became apparent just how much we loved searching out the right posters and digital art for our walls together. My husband Sim would sniff out the most beautiful posters and the colourful joy they brought us at a time when the world was so grey and colossal. Our innate love for home décor inspired me and my husband, Sim Goraya, to help other people decorate their personal spaces.
Back in October 2020, I launched the website, and on a sheer whim, decided to add a few personally chosen tableware pieces in ceramic. Surprisingly the response to our artwork and the ceramic ornaments was at par. With this vote of confidence, we started exploring international markets to uncover more tableware and décor items and relaunched our website ‘BrandBerrys’ in 2021 as a dedicated luxury home décor products label that supplies accent decor objects, vases, bed linen, tableware, wall art and other decorative items. Brandberrys.in caters to a target audience that is inclusive of all genders between 24-60 years of age in India and is looking to invest in aspirational luxury brands.
Q What was the toughest part of starting a company?
Ans- My love for business comes from my late father Mr Pritpal Singh Gandhi who was also my first employer and instilled in me, his entrepreneurial drive and business ethics of humility and fairness. When he passed away in 2019, I never thought I would ever begin a business without his constant advice and support. But my husband knew my drive to run a business and would constantly push me to start something that would put me on the path to my true passion. It took him a while to bring me back on my toes and eventually he managed to inspire me to take the leap and launch BrandBerrys.in
Q How did you overcome the initial struggles?
Being a start-up amidst the pandemic, we went into it knowing the struggles we would face and were prepared for the long duration the paperwork would take. We knew hiring would not be simple, so, I used that time to create the website and list the products. Even after hiring a team, they had to work from home at times so my husband and I would package and process orders on our own which was more enjoyable than a struggle. We remained calm and patient and sorted out every challenge on the go.
Q Why did you start your own company as opposed to working at a big software firm?
Ans- After completing my graduation, I started working with my father to assist him with his business. I have always had a flair for business and have been a part of it since the age of 12. I used to go to my father’s office straight from school and spend time sometimes learning tally and other times sitting with the sales team and watching them pitch and close deals.
Q Which areas are you doing well as a firm and which are the areas you see the opportunity to grow?
Our choice of products has struck a good chord with our customers and we had that on point since our inception as a home decor brand. We see a lot of opportunities in establishing a marketplace and getting niche brands from different categories to sell on our portal.
Q How do you create a great working environment for the employees as a founder?
My employees are my team and the backbone of my brand. before I make any decision about IT, Purchasing or just adding a new service, we sit as a group and get everyone’s input, then I make the final call to execute the idea based on my team’s opinions and consideration.
Q How do you differentiate yourself from similar companies?
I don’t differentiate myself from similar companies. We are coming in with the same mindset & facing similar challenges.
Fortunately, we live in a large enough country and there is enough space for everyone to grow and whoever stays consistent the longest will see their goals through.
Q Things you wish you knew before starting a company?
I knew everything I needed to know before starting my company. I come from a background of running two successful trading/manufacturing companies. However, different the product we are dealing in is, The Business Side of things remains the same in all trading companies. I have been prepared for every challenge that comes my way and take it in my stride to sort it through and reach my goals.
Q What advice would you give young entrepreneurs or Founders?
Ans- Don’t try to solve every problem on your own, it’s okay to not know certain things. Delegate duties properly to stay sane and consistent.
Don’t be in a hurry to reach your final goal rather set small and immediate goals and go from there. Business is not just about making money but it’s about creating opportunities for others and solving a problem. So, don’t start with an arbitrary idea which has no problem to solve.
Q How did you meet your Co-founder?
My co-Founder is my husband Sim Goraya, I met him in Mumbai when I was running my Footwear label “Cara Pyramids by Serene Gandhi”.
We remained best friends and had never dated till a few months before our marriage. He has been my confidant ever since and my true motivation.
Q What is your short term and long-term plan for your company?
Ans- I am looking to position BrandBerrys.in as a niche brand for home decor. Once our brand has reached its peak market position, we would like to launch a marketplace for similar vendors to sell on our portal.
Q Has the current circumstances in the world impacted your business? If so, what are the methods you’re implementing to overcome them or reduce the burden?
We started during the pandemic and as I mentioned earlier, I was prepared for every challenge that could come our way. It has been surprisingly smooth sailing for us. We are very grateful to our team and our customers who accepted us and our brand with a lot of love and grace.