Having the brilliant minds behind SoUnique answer some interesting questions.
Laila Odho Premjee and Fiza Amjad Khan tell us about the challenges they face and the success of their e-commerce venture, which helps to promote the selling of second-hand houseware products.
1) What are the services that SoUnique.pk offers?
SoUnique is an online marketplace where vendors can list their pre-owned furniture and home decor that is moderately used. However, this year we have opened our website to designers/retailers in order to also have a storefront for their creations. For customers, we have a wide variety of pre-loved and brand new furniture and home accessories. We are an end-to-end service providing product inspection, customer support for logistics and listing, as well as social media marketing of your listed products.
2) How did you both come up with this business idea?
Fiza and I both enjoy redecorating our homes and we found that there were very few places that existing furniture could be disposed of in a beneficial way. In the West, a well-established e-commerce company is second-hand furniture. Therefore in2018, we built a business model that would fit the Pakistani market and clientele, where we provide an anonymous platform for their pre-loved furniture and home decor to both buyers and sellers.
3) How does a happy client motivate you?
In the market, there are all kinds you come across and quite a few stand out. It is customers like these that show faith in you who stand out the most and that motivates us immensely to keep working.
4) Why the name SoUnique.Pk in particular?
We wanted a name that would truly reflect our company while we were in our early planning phase. We wanted to give a premium experience to our customers and access to unique goods. That’s why we decided to call SoUnique our website!
5) Could you tell us about the challenges you have faced?
The problem for every e-commerce company is confidence and trust. Therefore, we try to make the whole purchase and sale transaction as straightforward as possible. A very outdated banking system and city-to-city logistics, both of which prohibit us from scaling, have been a problem we are grappling with so far.
6) Could you tell us a little about your business in terms of e-commerce for pre-loved furniture?
We curate our catalog, which basically means that the strict criteria we have set for listing match all the items on our website. In order to preserve credibility and quality, we inspect the products, which is very important, and the customer gets what they see and hear about on the website. We keep both our buyers and sellers’ identities private. Above all, for our customers, the whole process of selling and purchasing is hassle free.It is enough to assume that the lockout era has seen a change in the behaviour of people. While e-commerce is still nascent, via our website, we have seen a shift in purchasing and selling behavior and that is definitely positive for us.
7) A few words of motivation for the generation coming up, especially for female entrepreneurs.
There is no good age to start and expand on an idea you might have when you are ready and fearless, so give it a go. Take the dive, you’d have learned some awesome life lessons even though you failed. The business landscape of Pakistan is ready and waiting for the launch of some exciting and unique ideas. Why are women expected to stay behind? We have some spectacular examples of our gender in Pakistan, which a long time ago developed their companies from scratch and broke the glass ceiling. In their footsteps, we are merely trying to follow.