MyCopie: The Brand That Emulates The Ego of A Student
Description of Startup in One Line
MyCopie is a Lifestyle brand creating stationery for students with the focus on Design, Quality, Value and Technology.
Brief Description about the startup
MyCopie is a Stationery brand focusing on building the next generation stationery products for students. The product development primarily focuses on Design, Technology, Quality and Value. MyCopie manufactures and retails designer notebooks for students by revolutionizing the way in which notebooks are generally perceived by students. Currently, the company retails designer notebooks via distributors across south India and has presence in 12+ cities, 20+ distributors and operates via 2000+ stores. It is a lifestyle brand which creates differentiated products and services for students studying in schools and colleges of the country. MyCopie is still in a startup phase and plans to expand its presence as well as its product line in the next few years. Also, it is in the process of launching its own merchandise for students via its own distribution channel covering South India.
Current CEO, Mr. Gokulraj Gk
Gokulraj GK is the director and Co-Founder of MyCopie. His business card mentions him as the “Go-to-Guy”. He is a cool person with a head full of business ideas. He started his first venture ‘eFuture’ in 2007 when he was in the second year of his engineering. His second venture ‘ZapStore.com’ was an instant hit in the ecommerce domain. But, Gokul wanted more challenges to satiate his intellectual thirst. So, when he met the founders of MyCopie, a group of 5 students from NIT- Surathkal, who had an interesting value proposition, his joy knew no bounds. He decided to join hands with them to guide them and give them new perspectives on the product. He was also instrumental in making MyCopie a design focused technology form catering to college students.
An Interview with Mr. Gokulraj GK, CEO MyCopie
1)What are the different products and services offered by MyCopie ?
MyCopie offers the following products.
i) Notebooks: We have 22 different types of notebooks catering to students from the age of 15 to 22 years. These notebooks have various categories and cater to different student segments. The cover pages, paper quality etc. are different for various categories and they try to capture the personality of consumers who buy them.
ii) Merchandise :We are about to launch our lineup of Merchandise this fall. It will include the following and more.As of now, we have planned to launch several product like Sling Bags, Badges, Book Marks, Stickers, wallets etc.
iii) Café :Apart from notebooks, we are trying to penetrate into café market as well. We are launching our MyCopie Café this fall. This café would be located inside college premises. This would be a joint for students where one can enjoy free Wi-Fi, café facilities and stationery shop facilities as well. Students can buy snacks, Beverages, and can sit and discuss academic projects or committee related issues. The café can also be used for screening live shows and has a notice wall as well. Art exhibitions can also be exhibited in the café if and when the need arises.
iv) Entrepreneurial Experience: We also provide entrepreneurial experience for students by partnering with the entrepreneurship cells of colleges. There, we let the students run the show and we manage the infrastructure and the process.
2)What market does MyCopie cater to? Who are your Martket Competitors?
The notebook market across India is approximately a 9000 crore market with an average growth rate of around 6% . Largest chunk of the market i.e. around 90% of the market is un-organized. ITC Classmate is the market leader with respect to the organized players.
We believe that Notebook as a product hasn’t changed in all these decades and we are trying to do something innovative with our products. The potential for notebooks is huge since there are new schools and colleges coming up and lot more students are getting educated these days in India. Notebooks are our bread and butter and as far as competition is concerned, we face immense competition from the established players and also from local players. Some of our competitors are:
- ITC Classmate
- Kokoyo Camlin
3) What is the USP of MyCopie?
Our USP is “Brand that emulates the ego of a student”. Each and every student/buyer has some sort of personality which is reflected in the products purchased by him/her. Generally, Notebooks are somewhat commoditized and hence, these are not differentiated to reflect the personality of buyers. We, at MyCopie try to achieve that differentiation which is evident from our products. We have launched notebooks with “Augmented Reality” principle which is a unique idea and were the first ones to do so in India.
4) Tell us something about the History, Achievements, Traction & Stats of MyCopie.
MyCopie was launched in February 2013 with 50000 notebooks in Chennai and Bangalore. At first we had no distributors, and we had to sell the copies to retail stores across cities. The products quickly made an impact and our company grew multifold in the following years. As of now, we retail in 12+ cities across South India with 30+ retailers and via 2000+ stores.
As mentioned earlier, MyCopie focuses on Design, Quality, and Technology while building its products or rendering services to client. Student ego is given a lot of attention. As,I mentioned earlier, we are the first company in India to have launched a notebook with Augmented Reality on it. Every note book is supplemented by innovative designs,redeemable coupons etc. In addition to that the “Augmented Reality” principle makes it possible to view the characters on the cover page in 3D on a smartphone using a mobile app. The new line of stationery products to be launched by MyCopie will also follow the same principle.
A video on Augmented Reality associated with MyCopie Notebooks:
Earlier, we used to depend on our distributors for hiring our sales personnel. Also, our marketing budget was almost nil i.e. we had done no marketing until recently. Our neglect proved to be very expensive. We learnt from these mistakes, and these were important lessons. Now we have added new distributors across South India and we have started hiring sales personnel ourselves.
People have always said that the market which we are catering to is a difficult one where no loyalty can be expected, but we have succeeded here. We believe in taking one step at a time and have stuck to our goal i.e. to have our presence in all educational institutions. We have launched many initiatives like MyCopie SuperStar, MyCopie Design Event Series, MyCopie Recycle, Paper Man initiative to promote our brand, be close to student community & extend our brand. All these initiatives help us to know the pulse of our customers i.e. college going students, on a regular basis.
5) Tell us something about the Business Model of MyCopie?
MyCopie gets the notebooks manufactured from a contractor. We procure the paper, boards etc. and transfer the same to our contractors. We also monitor the supply chain. We sell the books via our distributors and get a margin for the same. Every notebook of MyCopie carries 4 pages of advertisements. There is a coupon page as well. MyCopie receives money from the brands featured in the notebooks and from the coupons.
6) Any Thoughts/advice for the readers?
I believe that every industry in India needs disruption and there is no time better than now to do it and believe me every industry CAN be disrupted. One has to just follow your dreams and make sure he sticks to his vision. We believe that people are more important than anything else. I stick on to this advice given by my Professor “99% of the people you will meet you in your life time are A-holes. If you aren’t smart enough , then the rest 1% will make you one of them”.
Hence, One should be smart enough in partnering, hiring and connecting with people since these connections will define your success. Networking is and has always been the key to success.
~ As Narrated to Sambit Rath, PGP 2014-16, IIM Bangalore
Twitter : www.twitter.com/mycopiepage
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
Website : www.mycopie.com
Twitter account of the CEO : www.twitter.com/gokulrajgk