"To understand the heart and mind of a person, look not at what he has already achieved, but at what he aspires to do. "
- Kahlil Gibran
“Everything you want in entrepreneurship is out of your comfort zone. Being an entrepreneur is a 24/7 job, it’s kind of a lifestyle. The journey is full of challenges, decisions, learning, and self-discovery.” – Supreet Mangsule
One of the greatest skills of leadership is being unflappable. Anytime you do anything in the world, there’s going to be criticism. But not giving up on your goals and dreams is of utmost importance. These thoughts deeply resonate with Supreet Mangsule, founder of PrintMyTee. This amazing venture is dedicated to creating the best-customized t-shirts for its customers.
Supreet has a background in Computer Engineering from Kolhapur and has been an entrepreneur since his college days. He shares, “When we were in the third year of engineering, my friends and I decided to open a hookah shop. Everything in the shop was ready, but then the Maharashtra government banned hookah so at the last minute we decided to open a coffee shop instead since the shop was already set up. We ran this coffee shop for a year and then sold it to someone else. But running it had completely changed my perspective towards entrepreneurship. I realized that there was a lot of potential in this. So I started a website where I sold printed t-shirts which failed miserably due to my inexperience and lack of guidance. This was when Flipkart had just entered the market and people were just starting to know about e-commerce, so it was too early for my venture to work.” A few years later, he eventually re-branded and re-launched this venture and PrintMyTee was born.
This is Supreet’s 7th year in business and he says that it is still a continuous learning process. Over these years, the business model has evolved and the journey has been full of trial and error. Speaking about why he chose t-shirts, he says, “Earlier my plan was to do something in retail, in the B2C sector. I also started getting requests from friends to customize t-shirts for them, so the idea kind of came my way through referrals but I never thought about this as a separate entity. But then I realized that this could be a potential business opportunity.”
Speaking about his first big order, Supreet says, “It was from a big company that required 1000 t-shirts. If I hadn’t gone to the office on a Sunday, then I wouldn’t have got this order. So you never know when an opportunity will come your way. Meanwhile, all you should focus on is doing your best. Everything happens gradually.” So true, there is no short-cut to success and hard work.
Challenges are inevitable in any profession, and more so in business. E-commerce is an expensive platform and because of low funds, Supreet was facing a lot of issues. He says, “It takes a lot of money to get good traction for an e-commerce store. You have to invest a lot of money into marketing. While we were able to do that successfully, at one point we ran out of money and had to start all over again.”
For Supreet, the best part of his journey getting to do what he does. He believes that we should make the most of the chances we get and live every single day to the fullest.
His goal for the next five years is to print 1000 t-shirts a day. That’s the basic target of PrintMyTee and it will take at least three years for them to achieve this. They recently made 2300 t-shirts with both front-back prints for the flood-affected people in Kolhapur and Sangli and managed to deliver them in 24 hours, despite certain issues. A truly commendable achievement!
About his experience working with Bulb and Key, he says, “It has been a good experience so far. I find the concept very interesting and have also participated in one of their campaigns recently.”
Giving some vital advice to the budding entrepreneurs, Supreet says, “Keep in mind that it will take at least five years for you to understand what your business actually is – provided you continue to stick to the same business and not keep jumping from one business to another. Being an entrepreneur is a 24/7 job. Every day you’ll have to make a hundred decisions which will teach you a lot. So keep growing and learn from your mistakes. This is the only process you should follow.”
Whenever you feel like quitting, remember those good things are just around the corner. All you have to do is keep pushing and hustling. – Supreet Mangsule