SupportBiz presents an exclusive chat with Sangeetha Vadanan, one of the three co-founders of Treasure Books.
How long has Treasure Books been in operation?
We opened on July 4, 2009. So, we are 3 years old now.
How is Treasure Books different from other bookstores?
Treasure Books focuses only on children’s books. We try to offer a wide range of books - international as well as Indian publications. We are not limited to bestsellers alone.
Our books are arranged as per different reading levels of children - shared reading, early readers, developing readers, and confident readers. This makes it easy for the children and the parents to find the right book.
Further, to promote reading, we have story-telling for younger kids, book-reading clubs for the older kids, theme-based reading hours and ‘Meet the author’ sessions. The essence of the store is to introduce books and reading to children and let them know how much fun it can be.
What is your background? What were you doing prior to starting Treasure Books?
All three of the founders - Rakhi Prasad, Meetu Agrawal and myself - have a corporate background, in finance, market research, and business consulting.
How did you come up with the idea of starting Treasure Books?
A great love for books and a dwindling interest in books among the children of today made us come up with this venture. Internationally, there are various bookstores exclusively for children. We thought that India needs one too. We started Treasure Books with the aim of showing children that a bookstore can be as much fun as a gaming centre.
How big is your team, presently?
We are team of three at the moment – three co-founders, partners, employees and book buddies conducting Read-Play-Enjoy workshops. We do have a lot of mothers volunteering their services for story-telling and reading sessions.
Why did you choose Mumbai as your base of operations?
When we planned to start out with Treasure Books, all three of us were based out of Mumbai. So, Mumbai was a natural choice of business venue. Also, there seems to be more acceptance to new ideas here.
What are your expansion plans in the near future?
We conduct Read-Play-Enjoy workshops in multiple locations across Mumbai. Now, we plan to take it to Delhi and other cities. We also plan to open more stores when we as well as the market are ready.
How do you cope with competition from similar businesses?
Our biggest competition is regular books being sold at a discounted rate. While it is difficult to counter this head-on, we try and ensure that we have a wide range of children's books available, to offer more choice to our readers.
What have been your proudest moments as an entrepreneur so far?
There are moments every week, every month when we realize that we have managed to make some difference – when a parent says their child wanted to come to Treasure Books, when we see a large number of kids at author readings, when we see parents pick up story books instead of activity books. We are on a journey, and whenever we see that we have managed to make even a small difference, it makes us proud.
What are the major challenges that you face?
Our biggest challenge is that books and reading is not a priority for parents - school books (learning as against reading for fun) and extra-curricular activities over-rule everything else. Children by themselves are more interested in TV and video games unless parents encourage reading at home.
What advice would you give to an aspiring entrepreneur?
Get into it only if you believe in the idea completely, as there are tough times when your confidence can be shaken. It's only your belief in the idea that can keep you focused during the journey.
Corporate Website: Treasure Books