Entrepreneur: Pratik Khamesra
Business Name: Astronomia Shoppe
Welcome to Entrepreneurs of India #startupstories episode 53
No year passes by without a celebration on your calendar. Wedding, birthdays, anniversaries and parties. Celebrations are the most beautiful episodes of life.
Pratik helps you celebrate in a unique and unforgettable way. That’s what his business is! Pratik’s Astronomia Shoppe is your go-to place if you’re planning to throw a party on your special day!
He sells every kind of generic and exclusive celebratory products all over India. Literally, everyone who celebrates an event is his potential client.
What made him choose this challenging, yet interesting business? Let’s sit back and listen as Pratik walks us through his entrepreneurial journey!
1) How did you get your idea for this business?
I was working for some big event companies in London while i was studying there. Since London has a top-notch nightlife, I was fortunate enough to be a part of the management of some big events and parties.
When I came across the kind of products and wearables they used, I was amazed and quite sure they were not easily available in India at reasonable prices. This developed my interest towards the entertainment and events industry.
2) Why is “now” a good time for this idea to exist?
We have been existing since 5 years and we can actually boast of collaborating with the biggest events in the country either as a way of supplying products to them or setting up our own stalls and selling our products there.
Even though the country’s economy is undergoing a major change and the purchase power and general budgeting of events has plummeted, the industry is full of work and now we also supply to small and big re-sellers who are willing to start a business and provide full guidance to them which result in guaranteed profits.
Recently, we did an event for YPO where CEOs/MDs of very big companies were there and they totally loved our products including our portable draft beer machine.
So right NOW when people are actually looking for new avenues for business and work, getting into the party & wedding supplies sector is a good choice.
3) What was the reaction from your family when you first decided to become an entrepreneur?
I hail from a business family so it was very difficult for me to make anybody understand the scope of the industry. When there are not many professional vendors who are not charging much, providing deliveries on time and giving premium quality products, I knew this idea would be a success but i’ll have to give it my 100%.
So I started Astronomia Shoppe as a side business while i was looking after my family business at the same time. But when i started getting great orders within 5-6 months, i had to make it my full time job. When you start earning money, contacts and respect, our families will eventually give-up once they know everything is going fine.
4) What was your biggest mistake in business and what did you learn from it?
We should have expanded faster. Though we are at a good position right now, i still feel expanding faster in the initial years would have given us an added advantage. So what I learnt from it is- calculate the risks but if your heart says its fine, do not hesitate even once.
5) What is your biggest obstacle in the next 12 months and how will you overcome it?
The biggest obstacle right now is keep providing attractive and exclusive products at reasonable prices. The economy is definitely a challenge right now and we’ll come out with flying colours as we did when we launched our pricey EL shades for the first time in India a year back and now it is one of our best-selling products. Even celebrities have endorsed them.
6) What habits contribute to your success?
Work hard, party harder is passé. New mantra is party harder, work the hardest. This is what i have done always. I still learn and figure out new avenues. Nobody is perfect.
Everyone in their 20s and 30s wants to become an Ambani, an SRK or someone else. What they don’t see is their hard work for years and their age.
Big things take time and you have to be consistent. Business is not lottery and in India, all of us want to win the lottery but no one wants to buy the ticket.
7) If you had the opportunity to start this business again what would you do differently?
I’ll put in more money in the initial years to explode it across country faster
8) What is your favourite inspirational quote?
I have loads but here i’ll just write my own out of my personal experience. ‘Love and help your friends and families but adore your haters because haters are actually the ones who will drive you towards success’. So let them pinch your nerve, pull you down. Once you get up, you’ll wear the crown.
9) Where do you find inspiration?
I find inspiration from people who are always looking to learn, bring new ideas and never procrastinate.
10) What is your favourite book?
I don’t read. I actually like watching realistic cinema and reading articles but not into books. Maybe that’s just me.
11) What advice would you give to someone starting out?
I won’t give you all cliche statements. But firstly, always remember, the world is not all sunshine and rainbows. If you really want to start something of your own, cut down on your weekend plans, meetups with friends, going on drives.
Secondly, Slog hard. You will have to work hours you never even imagined. Once you start doing it, it will become a routine.
Thirdly, Your parents, friends and families are not ALWAYS RIGHT. If you believe in yourself, go for it. If you are even 1% unsure about it, then go back to whatever the hell you were doing the day before.
Fourthly, be street smart, work on your vocabulary. Words and skills work way better on people than your clothes.
Fifthly, collab with people. Its an age of social media. We don’t know how long this is gonna be for? Make the most of it. Help each other and grow together. Hang out with like-minded people or with the ones who don’t stress you out. Else be a loner.
A big thanks to Pratik for sharing his amazing entrepreneurial journey. Like he said, it always takes time to realize your biggest dream. So have the courage to chase it and work harder.
Never wait for the miracle to happen. Just make it happen. In entrepreneurship, nobody becomes a big fish overnight. It takes relentless enthusiasm and passion to become a successful entrepreneur.
Pratik had great insights about the latest trends in market and he launched his business at the right time. Now he enjoys a decent customer base across India. So time is always crucial factor in commencing a business. Don’t wait too long and face the risk of starting an outdated business!
You can connect with Astronomia on Facebook here. If you have already planned a party this weekend, find what Pratik has to offer you.
Get your best celebratory products now! You can also folllow Astronomia on Instagram.