Fan merchandise was and will always be a big part of our life. It is our closest way to support and connect with our idols and their identities. For many kids growing up in the 80s & 90s, merch was also a usual form of barter. Traditional merchandise consisted of toy or a poster. Or for the few lucky ones, having relatives abroad, something fancier like a t-shirt or a cap.
Plato said, “Necessity is the mother of creation”. The necessity for fanfare merchandise might not fall under the traditional necessities but for a die-hard fan, it is bigger than the usual necessity. And this was true for three friends, Aditya, Rohin & Vedang, who found nothing to their liking when they went searching for merchandise. So they started The Souled Store, with the objective to offer a plethora of merchandise of our different idols.
Meet the Founders
Aditya, Rohin & Vedang started out as colleagues and later went on to become friends and business partners. After completing their engineering from different colleges in Bombay, the three met while working together at TresVista Financial Services. After working for 2 years they quit their jobs and in June 2013 launched The Souled Store with just three products – t-shirts, badges and wall art. In the next 4 years, the brand added substantially to their product line and today has over 14 products – from Superheroes to Harry Potter to WWE to vintage cartoons, they have it all. They are the largest independent online brand in this space in terms of the number of official merchandise licenses that they own. From witty one-liners to super cool graphic designs, they have become the one-stop shop for all pop culture merchandise
Honestly, we love it when we spot people wearing our merchandise! It feels great to see someone sporting your designs and products. We value our customers and it is their love and feedback that keeps us going.
not happy with what was available they created their own
The idea arose when we realised that there was no good outlet for buying fan merchandise. The only options were a limited range of extremely expensive and badly designed imports from the US (which ironically were made in India) or sub-quality fakes. Being true nerds ourselves who loved TV shows, comics and everything pop culture, we knew that this could be done better and at affordable prices.
connecting us with our favourites
The Souled Store is the one-stop destination for all quirky and merchandising needs, ranging from generic wit to superheroes, TV Shows, Sports, Music and anything and everything that you’re a fan of; making us one of the biggest online brands in India that focus on selling official merchandise.
Knowing that each one of us has a different taste, The Souled Store has added a section on their website Make Your Tee that will transplant any of your graphics onto a t-shirt.
hosting upcoming artists
We have a strong in-house design team of about 15 designers and the majority of the designs sold on our website are created by us.
But most importantly The Souled Store likes to host artists who use their art to express themselves. We are always happy to collaborate with great artists and love to feature their designs on our products. Currently, we have 70+ artists selling their artwork on our website.
We welcome anything that’s fun, relevant, pop culture, quirky and that which resonates with people seals the deal. All that the artist has to do is click on Sell Your Artwork and upload their design. Our team goes through all the designs coming in each day and accepts/ declines based on the criteria mentioned above
reaching your souls
Apart from the organic reach, we achieve on our social media accounts (active on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat), we actively advertise on Facebook and Instagram too.
But our most important go-to marketing tool is our designs. Our designers don’t just simply do the regular logos and copy paste merchandise. They make the designs witty. Even if it’s Batman, they will go beyond just the usual logo and sell something quirkier. And that has been the secret sauce, as we believe that a good product and great service promises great word-of-mouth marketing.
Overwhelmed with all the love from our fans
We love what we do and you’ll see that in- the products we sell, on the calls to our customer care team and most importantly in the content on our social media pages. Our social media content is fun and engaging captioned with some great puns.
With series like #HowOurDesignersKillTime (a quirky series made fun of everyday objects), #SoulStrips (our very own weekly comic strip), #LateNightsWithTheSouledStore (our random midnight ramblings) and others, we try to engage users with not just product images but everything else fun!
the journey from following to being followed
The journey has been magical! We started out of random coffee shops in Bandra, with free wifi (because no business can start without wifi) and a total capital of Rs. 5.25 lakh. We have come a long way since then. All 3 of us have spent time doing every job there was to do in the company. Not just the fancy managerial duties, but also simple tasks, like cleaning, packing, counting inventory, customer calls and other on ground stuff. This allowed us to know the problems and difficulties for even the smallest of tasks, thus allowing us to make it even better and efficient than done otherwise.
We believe that if you love what you do and look forward to coming into work each day with plans for world domination, half the battle is already won.
continuing to build a new connection with our idols
With zero-cash burn, we have been profitable since day 1. But our plan is to make The Souled Store a global brand for pop culture enthusiasts. Our growth strategy is two-fold. First is to increase our range of products and offer more to our current customer base. Second would be to diversify our TG by introducing more women-centric products. Our eventual plan is to also transcend into kids wear as it would be a direct extension of everything we do currently.
where the soul inhibits
When you walk into our office in Lower Parel, Mumbai, you’ll instantly see that this isn’t a regular, boring corporate workplace. There are fun post-its all over the place so you can have a laugh even while entering the loo, there is a wall dedicated to action figures that we’ve collected over 4 years, and you’ll see some awesome artwork pinned up by our super-talented team of designers.
We realize that people spend more than half of their day at work and that is why we like to keep people engaged, productive, and happy. We are always doing fun activities at work from board game sessions, to intense counter-strike tournaments, movies screenings, and when Game of Thrones is on, Monday evening screenings are the best time of the week.
The Souled Store is all about doing the things that you love right from the bottom of your soul and that is exactly how we like our work place to be –soulful and fun!
idols who inspire us
There are many people we take inspiration from. From CEO’s of the biggest companies in the world to independent musicians in India doing incredible things, there’s always something to learn from all these people who have achieved greatness.
for the next Entrepreneur
My advice would be to simply keep going! There are going to be an infinite number of problems and hurdles that you’ll come across when you begin something of your own. The solution is to keep working harder and believe what you do. The results will show.
own your idol