In this Interview with Tejas Jhaveri, founder of Flintstop, he talks about his journey as an entrepreneur and his first hand experience with rampant corruption in India

Flintstop is a Mumbai based Startup founded by Tejas Jhaveri with the aim of introducing people to a “technologically advanced lifestyle”. Flintstop is famous for selling quirky, out of the box and innovative products.

Tell us something about your journey .When did you first come up with the idea of Flintstop and when was it founded?

I am an entrepreneur by profession and an e-Commerce professor at IIDE. When curiosity gets the better of me, I dismantle products to study them, build products on the Raspberry Pi and am always inquisitive about the latest trends hovering around the world.

After my graduation in Business Management Studies and a Masters in Commerce, I took up a typical 9-5 job in Human Resources as that was the first opportunity that I stumbled upon. There was lots to learn, but eventually, it wasn’t something I wanted to do all my life.

That led me to go for a Tech Exhibition in the hustling city of Hongkong and that’s how Flintstop took birth. I saw a gap which could be filled by getting those innovative quirky products to India. Flintstop was founded in October 2014 and it has been an interesting journey with ups and downs, a bit of success and failure too which taught me the essence of running a business.

India is gradually improving its rankings in ease of doing business but still there are institutional challenges. What were the initial challenges that you faced as an entrepreneur?

Entrepreneurship does not work without taking big risks. You aren’t ever sure if the product/service you are offering is going to sell or not.

Finding an office/warehouse space, VAT registration, Bank Account and Gomusta licence was a pain.

The initial challenges I faced were dealing with Government officials in getting registration/paperwork done. Even after all the correct documents were given, we took over 3 months to get our company registered and get an Import Export License. Inspite of being a genuine importer and not under-invoicing any bill, the Customs officials would make me pay higher duties, pay bribes just to facilitate the clearance process.

In every step of imports, there were challenges, from customs to payment of octroi. Without a bribe, it was difficult to move ahead. (I hate bribes, but unfortunately it’s the only magic spell in getting work done in India).

How do you differentiate yourself from your domain competitors.

Unlike other players in the ‘Quirky’ space, we have something for everyone in every category.

If you are a Gambler, alcoholic, techie, photographer, traveller, old man, child, house wife, working individual, no matter who you are, we certainly have an awesome product for you!

We take normal day products, see problems in them, and invent/source a modified product to solve the problem.(Eg. Running Alarm clock, Self Stirring Mug)

Apart from the products we even like to engage with our customers. Every order shipped out of flintstop goes out with a personalised handwritten note, phantom candy cigarettes (mint) and a free USB LED Light. Since we are an e-commerce business, this is only way we can get personal with our customers.

What has been the growth trajectory of Flintstop so far?

Year 1

-Work from home

– 15 products

– 6 channels of online sale

– No employees

-8 Lakhs turnover

Year 2

-300 sq feet office

– 23 online marketplaces

– 3 interns

– 48 lakhs turnover

Year 3

-1100 sq feet office

– Team of 13

– 1.3 Crore turnover

– 63 online marketplaces listed on

– Prestigeous Fortune 500 companies as our clients – Godrej, Sunpharma, Aditya bIrla, Etihad Airways and Group M to name a  few

What are some of the “quirkiest” products/items sold on Flintstop?

– Running Alarm Clock – You place it next to your bed and set an alarm for 6 am, its going to jump, fall down (5 feet break proof) and run while making an extremely annoying noise. You literally need to run behind it to shut it. Waking up guaranteed!

–    Robot Vacuum Cleaner – Will clean and mop your house automatically on a designated time. No need to be dependant on your home cleaner

–  10 in 1 office combo – It has all your stationary in 1 product. Instead of buying a separate puncher, stapler and measuring tape, this product has 10 stationery items in 1 product.ß

 Though the economic capital of India, Mumbai is still not regarded as ‘the’ destination for Startups. What are your views on this?

This can be subjective and I have mixed opinions on this.

Mumbai is the commercial capital of India and there is an ocean full of opportunities no matter where you go. Mumbai has a population of 18 million people (That big a customer base).

We have people from versatile backgrounds diversified in different income groups, religion, social background. No matter what product you sell you will always find a customer for your product in the city.

The biggest corporates/investors and influential people are in Mumbai. Once you build your network of people, getting a meeting with any of these people is not difficult.

Where as Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities having low cost of infrastructure, land, employees and transport compared to Mumbai. Also, there is not much competition in these cities, so any business you start, you can have a monopoly on the same.

Spending power is quite high in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities due to the appreciation of land value. Marketing budgets for Ads in Newspapers and magazines are more cost effective in these cities

 Where do you see Flintstop in 2 years down the line?

Firstly we have plans on building an innnovation centre where people with just a product idea and no skills to build it can come to us. We will have an inhouse team who will validate the idea, prototype the product and help with mass-manufacturing and sales of the product.

We want to eventually be a company that invents its own line of innovative products that don’t exist and which are proprietory.

We also wish to have a retial presence and want to eventually scale up through a franchiseeing model.

Read the guest post, 12 Things An E-commerce Startup Need to Know Before Launching by Tejas Jhaveri.

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