How did India's only religious e-commerce platform come about? Saumya Vardhan, founder of Shubhpuja tells us today.
Saumya Vardhan founded Shubhpuja, which today is the only religious e-commerce platform in India that specializes in offering customized puja packages and astrological services to individuals and corporates through authentic and qualified professionals. Let’s get to know more about this digital initiative that Saumya started with her own personal savings.
Tell us a little about yourself
I always enjoyed problem solving and hence mathematics became my favourite subject. After school, I decided to pursue my undergraduate degree in Statistics. After completing my graduation I moved to the UK in 2003 to pursue my higher education. I lived and worked in London for over 7 years. Prior to launching Shubhpuja.com, I was a seasoned Operations and Technology consultant and have worked at KPMG London, Ernst & Young London and Rolls-Royce.
I have a MBA from Imperial College, UK, a MSc in Operational Research from Lancaster University, UK and a BSc (Honours) in Statistics from Lady Shri Ram College, Delhi University. I also pursued Vedic astrology, I am a certified and a qualified Astrologer.
How and when did the idea of Shubhpuja come about?
Entrepreneurship has always fascinated me while growing up. I have worked with a lot of entrepreneurs and on green field airlines project. I was always keen on starting something of my own, where I can add value to society.
Before starting Shubhpuja.com, I heard about multiple cases of people being fooled by preachers. Deep inside I always believed that if there is a science and fact based genuine service that can be offered to the customers, it would be great.
When setting up initially, how did you manage funding for the initial base operations?
At present we are in a bootstrapping mode. For now, it’s self-funded and I began the venture with my own personal savings.
As a woman entrepreneur, what was the most challenging area when going through the setting up process?
To start with, preparing myself mentally and financially to take the plunge and become an entrepreneur (vs going for a defined career path) was the first challenge. Secondly, moving from a structured and process oriented way of working to something so technical and unknown where I was responsible for creating a structure. Thirdly, it has been a huge learning curve stepping from the finance to "religious" industry. I had to go back and revise my high school knowledge of Sanskrit to understand this industry. To further learn about my product, I decided to learn Vedic astrology so that I know about the science and mathematics behind Vedic astrology. I have now become a qualified astrologer and currently am pursuing the Master’s level course for Astrology. Next is Vastu and numerology!
What future plans do you have for yourself and your venture?
We aim to make Shubhpuja.com an equivalent of Shaadi.com in religion e-commerce market. Providing authentic and science based services. We plan to double our sales team to reach out to a wider audience through our online and offline marketing channels.
Realizing the hidden potential of the spiritual and holy market, we would further like to promote our concept by offering them authentic, scientific and convenient services that are exclusively available through Shubhpuja.com. We want to emerge as a brand and a highly acceptable and trustworthy company in the minds of our customers.
Entrepreneurship vs 9 to 5 job, what according to you are the best about both?
I personally do not distinguish between the effort required between a job and entrepreneurship. It only depends on a person’s ambition levels to choose between the two. I feel in today’s competitive and well-connected world, there is nothing like a 9 to 5 job! Even in a job, one has to work hard and smart. Its about how people manage their time performing any task whether as an entrepreneur or as an employee. An entrepreneur / enterprise is successful because of its good employees / team.
The biggest distinguishing factor between the two is the risk profile. As an entrepreneur, a person has to take higher risks to achieve higher returns. Entrepreneurship requires more courage and determination to face the daily challenges and constantly motivating oneself everyday to achieve the goals. It provides an opportunity to explore the hidden potential within one and use our creativity at its best.
Overall, there is no shortcut to success. One has to put in efforts in whatever they choose to do.
What thoughts would you leave our readers with?
Everyone is unique and the higher force has designed this world in such a way that every person has a distinctive strength. Identify that strength.