Entrepreneur: Bhairavi Sagar
Business Name: Voyages Overland
Welcome to Entrepreneurs of India #startupstories episode 54
Bhairavi Sagar is an avid traveller – 50 countries and counting. Travelling gives her the space to ideate and decompress from the urban life. She is a solo traveller and loves to explore the byways and highways of different places across the world.
Having travelled across the globe with several Overlanding trips included, she knows what exactly people want while hitting the road. Taking forward her passion for travel by road, she teamed with Col. Rathore to introduce Overlanding suited for the Indian sub-continent. Overlanding is described as a self-reliant, adventure travel to remote destinations where the journey is the primary goal.
Voyages Overland was thus founded in 2016, the first company in India to introduce Overlanding in their own unique format, using highly modified heavy commercial vehicles.
They converted 4×2 heavy commercial vehicles into Passenger and Utility Trucks for Overlanding. The central idea of Voyages Overland’s itineraries is to experience the outdoors, while never losing sight of the tenets of responsible tourism.
How do they manage a challenging business like overlanding? Let’s find out!
1) How did you get your idea for this business?
From the small city of Jodhpur to the financial capital, Mumbai, the vision for Voyages Overland came to the drawing board in 2009 and after 7 years of research, planning and working out the minutest detail, the idea finally took shape into Voyages Overland in 2016.
The co-founders of Voyages Overland – Col. Rathore and myself have over the years, in our independent lives, travelled and Overlanded through states, countries and continents – and there wasn’t a moment in our respective journeys, that we didn’t cherish.
With Overlanding being the form of travel we love most, the idea took birth with the thought of sharing this immersive and engaging travel format in the country. We felt that we must share it in its purest form, with the same love and passion, with travelers and tourists, for those who did not know about ‘Overlanding’ and those who would love to experience India in a whole new light.
Our country has so much to offer in terms of its cultural and geographic variety, nature, rich heritage and architecture. It was a calling to bring in a culture to head outdoors, explore, experience and discover.
2) Why is “now” a good time for this idea to exist?
We today see ourselves at the turning point of travel ethics and culture in India, which is when we realized this would be the best time to take the plunge. The tourism today is immersive, experiential and also comes with fulfilling a sense of achievement for the discerning traveler of today.
It’s not just about putting tick marks on the list of places one has to visit, it is about experiencing each activity and place and as of now it is among the top fastest growing industry, and all for good reason. Thus for an experiential travel format like ours the time couldn’t be better.
3) What was the reaction from your family when you first decided to become an entrepreneur?
I started out in the Mystery Shopping and Customer Experience Measurement industry when these terms weren’t even in existence in the country way back in 2004. So, it was a natural progression of things to take up the challenge of introducing Overlanding in India – in a format never seen before in the country.
My family has always been supportive of my decisions and always asked me to follow my instincts and make a go for it, without any compromises on hard work and perseverance, of course!
4) What was your biggest mistake in business and what did you learn from it?
I am a person who works from the heart and is driven by passion to create and make things happen, so my views often get tainted with me not wanting to accept that people might be driven by different goals in life.
Laying too much trust in people and their outlooks has been a big failing for me at times. But I also learnt that its best to fail on this count as the final outcome one is left with, after all the tribulation, is all heart and worth the difficulties faced.
5) What is your biggest obstacle in the next 12 months and how will you overcome it?
Our biggest challenge in the next few months is to spread awareness about Overlanding as a form of travel. We are at a phase where marketing and creating awareness with the right audience is our prime task now. We are moving ahead in a planned manner to send the right word out.
6) What habits contribute to your success?
Diligence and drive are two habits which have held me in good stead all through my life and they are key ingredients which contribute to my success.
7) If you had the opportunity to start this business again what would you do differently?
No, I know that in today’s capitalist world it is difficult to drive things from the heart, but our Overlanding venture deserves nothing less. I would not want to do it any differently even if I had the chance to start all over again.
8) What is your favourite inspirational quote?
It’s not a quote, but a song – ‘Everybody’s free to Wear Sunscreen’ by Baz Luhrmann.
9) Where do you find inspiration?
Everywhere around me in Life. If one just looks around and keenly watches people, you will find true inspiration in the normalcy around you!
10) What is your favourite book?
Catch 22 by Joseph Heller
11) What advice would you give to someone starting out?
Never lose sight of your end goal and keep at it without giving up!
Thank you Bhairavi for stopping by to share your exciting entrepreneurial journey. It would definitely give a dose of inspiration for aspiring entrepreneurs to realize their vision.
The most important thing an entrepreneur should take into account is the possibility of the idea or product in a market. Bhairavi took up the challenge of introducing Overlanding in a different format in the country using 4×2 heavy commercial vehicles, thus giving Voyages Overland a space in the traveling niche.
Voyages Overland has successfully set a benchmark in India by offering a unique, eco-friendly tourism experience for the travelers here.
Like Bhairavi said, overlanding in this format has a wider scope in India as it helps people explore the rich heritage in a more efficient way. Bhairavi is hitching the wagon to a star as they have bigger plans in future!
Want to Overland? Check out the awesome website of Voyages Overland now.