Shruti Gotarkar: Carving Out A Niche In Functional & Affordable Pet Furnishing | CEOInsights Vendor
Shruti Gotarkar: Carving Out A Niche In Functional & Affordable Pet Furnishing

Shruti Gotarkar: Carving Out A Niche In Functional & Affordable Pet Furnishing

    Shruti Gotarkar              ,       Co-Founder

Shruti Gotarkar


The pet care market in India is booming, with pet owners becoming more sensitive to their pets' needs, and some even go over the top with accessories and pet furniture. Apart from various kinds of pet foods like homemade and healthy food, there are many categories that are on the rise like Pet sitting, Pet Boarding, Pet Café, Petfriendly hotels and Airbnbs. ChotaPakoda, co-founded by Shruti Gotarkar Singh and Gaurav Singh together, is a Designer Pet Furniture store crafting functional and affordable products through the concepts of optimal material usage policies and reaching millions of Indian homes. With her engineering and management skills, Shruti has introduced one of the first Indian handcrafted pet furniture brands, Chota Pakoda, along with her husband. Below is an excerpt from Shruti's interview with CEO Insights.

Can you throw some light on your professional background and experience & what inspired you to co-found Chota Pakoda?
I am an engineer by profession and completed my B.E in IT from Pillai's Institute of Information Technology. While working as a programmer at Acty System, I developed an interest in managerial activities, which compelled me to pursue an MBA from IIM-Kozhikode. Kerala being the hub of manufacturing, beautiful handicrafts, and art, I got introduced to different environments, and art forms
during my tenure there. I've been an artistic person since childhood, and therefore, the art in Kerala inspired me to set up a company that promotes handcrafted items. However, the market was saturated with businesses promoting local handicrafts, so I and my partner, who is also an animal lover, decided to come up with a modern furniture platform for pets called Chota Pakoda.

How has IIM Kozhikode contributed to your rise as a successful industry leader? Could you talk about the learnings and experiences you acquired from IIM Kozhikode and
how you apply them in your current role?
I went to IIM Kozhikode, thinking about becoming a management executive one day, and when I got there, everything was new to me. Coming from an engineering background, all the subjects taught there were new. I met people from all over the country, learned from them, and got to know various aspects of management, Marketing and Strategy being my favorite. It was a great learning experience and exposed me to many new things, including the startup ecosystem in the south. I actively participated in activities held on campus and managed a startup fest which gave me insights and enhanced my marketing and sales skills. All this helped me set up my own business and succeed at it.

Don’t do a startup, just create new ways of doing things and bring real change in consumer habits

How would you define Chota Pakoda as an organization and what is the unique proposition that your organization offers to clients? What are the major challenges you have experienced in your journey so far and how did you overcome them?
Chota Pakoda is a startup that aims to fulfill the wishes of loving pet owners by providing comforting niches for their pets to rest, sulk, and play, making the house a pet friendly home. Our USP is that we make handcrafted products with raw materials sourced from all over the world, making products sensitive to your pet's needs. For instance, cats are tree-climbing mammals that prefer to sit at heights, whereas dogs like to have a safe, quiet and secure place to sleep and rest. We not only understand these nuances but swirl around with them; we don't just copy western products but make products that are suited to different pet breeds and climates in various Indian states, making homes of all sizes for your "chota" and "bada" pakoda.

The first challenge we faced was logistics as shipping high-volume products to India was complex because logistics partners were not very experienced in handling such products. Another challenge we faced was assembling the products once they were delivered. Indian customers, unlike Americans, expect assembling services, which
was hard for us, so we promoted the idea of assembling the furniture in front of your pet to make them more accustomed to it. Producing in higher quantities once the business picked up was hard to do because of our small workshop. So we upgraded the machinery by reinvesting in the business again. We have our workshop in a highway town in Mangaon, Raigad, Maharashtra. We are looking to make the workshop even bigger due to the rise in demand and faster delivery demands from our loyal customers and the new facility will have superior machinery with an assembly line setup. A future dream workshop will have over 100 employees with 50% men and 50% women all locals of Raigad.

What drives you today as an entrepreneur and industry leader as you explore the pet products industry and what keeps you motivated?
What motivates me is our customers, and we are highly connected with them because of the customization and special requests. We have heard their heart warming stories from our customers the lengths people go to, to care of their pets' needs is tremendous. Getting feedback from customers and hearing how much they liked our work drives me and motivates me to keep working.

How do you maintain the perfect balance between your personal and professional life? What is your success mantra?
When handling a manufacturing firm, I think the stress levels are high and managing them effectively is essential to maintain a healthy balance. I do not answer queries after 8 pm and try to invest that time in managing my house and family. My husband d and I try to travel whenever possible, and sometimes when we work on Sundays and holidays, we make up for that by taking a day off when the workload is less.

Shruti Gotarkar, Co-Founder, Chota Pakoda
Shruti is an IT Engineer from Pillai's Institute of Information Technology and did her MBA from IIM-Kozhikode. She is an avid craft & home décor lover with compassion for animals & a lifelong dream to establish a business of her own.
•Favorite cuisine: Konkani food, Food cooked by her husband
•Favorite book: Shanta Ram by Gregory David Roberts
•Hobbies: Painting and reading
•Favorite Travel Destination: Bali, Indonesia

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