Varun Kumar woke up one day and decided to leave the corporate world behind to embark on a new business venture supporting pashmina artisans and bringing this traditional Indian artistry to the world. He also recognized the he importance of having a prominent domain to enable his new company’s success. Read on to learn how Varan secured his top choice of domains and other beneficial advice on launching a new business.
1. Can you tell us more about who you are and your background?
My name is Varun Kumar and I have always been an enthusiast of the online world & the luxury retail space. After completing my Master’s Degree in London, I worked in Mergers and Acquisitions as well as International Marketing for 10 years before I started my journey in the online luxury space.
2. Please tell about how and when you entered into the domain business?
I was curious about owning a premium domain name when I was searching for a domain name for my business. With Sedo being the top marketplace for domains, I spent a lot of time finding the perfect name to fit the vision I had for my brand. Finally, after much push and pull I managed to acquire the name itself, Pashmina.com. In my eyes, this is the biggest name for my venture and is in inline with selling authentic pashmina shawls, scarves & wraps from Kashmir, India to the world.
This purchase spawned my journey in the world of domains & I haven’t looked back since. Currently, I own close to 500 domains of varied niches, many have been bought through Sedo & all are listed for sale at Sedo.
3. Please give us some background information about the domain business in your country? Are there any specific advantages or disadvantages dealing with domains in India?
India is still in its infancy stage of its journey & investment in intellectual property rights. However, in last 5 years there has been a major shift in both companies and individuals going ahead with investing in domain names globally to safeguard their businesses or to invest in them for the future.
4. Describe your online business:
I am the Founder of Pashmina.com, a luxury brand committed to preserving the traditional artisanal craft of Pashmina. Our endeavor is to facilitate the production of authentic handcrafted “pashminas” to ensure its sustainable growth. We aspire to design and develop beautifully handmade, timeless pieces from the finest cashmere yarns by understanding the craft in depth and blending its traditions with contemporary patterns.
It’s a venture that is bringing authenticity & reach to the dying art of Pashmina. We curate a vast collection of handcrafted pieces which are sold to over 200+ countries from our platform.
5. Please describe the story of your business, e.g. why did you pursue this venture?
India is a country extremely rich is its arts and crafts. However with the industrialization and our economies of scale ,the artistry sector of India had been decreasing year after year.
I was in Kashmir many years ago, the place where Pashmina originated and I was surprised to see the artisans behind the mesmerizing art of pashmina were leaving the art to do menial labor. This was because they couldn’t find a direct to customer outlet for their products.
Pashmina has lost half of its artisan base in last 10 years which was just shocking and painful to believe. How can an art that has been the most luxurious and in-demand accessory for the Royals of the World and more be dying….. That was it, I left my job and successful career to start my journey of pashmina.com.
6. Assuming that you are using a whole domain portfolio for your business, please tell us how you decided on which domains would be good to use, and which criteria was important to you. Please consider anything that comes to mind when it comes to the search and decision for the right domains, e.g any external help, consultation, app or tool that you found useful.
In today’s world, there are a number of ways to decide which domain to use for your business. You could, for example, seek out new gtlds or cctlds however the extension that is most prominent and has been right from the start is .com, thus 99% of my domain portfolio is .com. At first, I owned pashminashawl.com, pashm.com, ringshawl.com and over twenty more core keyword domains but for me I wanted to build organic trust with my customers by having “the” name in the world of pashminas. That is ultimately what lead me to invest majorly in acquiring pashmina.com.
7. How did you obtain all of your domains? Was it through the primary market or the aftermarket?
Almost 100% of my domains are through the aftermarket, be it Sedo Auctions, other platforms or one on one interactions with owners. The last domain I bought was through Sedo which is one of my most treasured names, Green.Land. It is actually the only new gtld domain I own but when I saw it in an auction at Sedo, I just had to own it.
8. What kind of impact do you see these domains bringing to your business?
A good domain brings trust and authenticity towards your business. That is the first and foremost aspect of succeeding online when you are just establishing your brand and aren’t selling something that a customer can physically inspect before making their purchase. Having a suitable domain name builds extensive trust in you & your business with your customers.
9. What is the main mistake people are making related to domains when establishing their business online? Please include any past mistakes you have made with domains and what you learned from these mistakes.
I feel like a big mistake is not thinking through the long term vision of your business as it correlates with intellectual property rights. Basically, in the beginning many businesses get so caught up in a multitude of things that investing in the right domain name or securing the trademarks for your brand name, etc. falls through the cracks. But these are the exact things which can hinder a business’ growth and have major financial and legal ramifications in the future.
For me personally, I ended up investing in the domain name of an actress whom I am a diehard fan of, PriyankaChopra.com. I bought the name for a large amount of money from an investor in U.S. who owned it for fifteen years. My thinking behind acquiring it is to be able to give it to her someday in person as a gift. So I wouldn’t say it was a mistake. Financially, it was absolutely a big purchase but emotionally I feel confident in my decision and my looking beyond the money involved.
10. If the acquisition of your main domain wouldn't have been successful - what would have been the alternative?
If I couldn’t have bought Pashmina.com, my backup was my venture’s brand name, Pashm.com that I had acquired prior to buying pashmina.com.
11. Please provide any additional information that could be interesting to other business owners, entrepreneurs and end users looking for the right domains.
I would strongly recommend to entrepreneurs that they not ignore the value of buying a good domain for the future of their business. A majority of startups pursue whatever is cheap now then will invest in a domain name once we have funding or more growth. However, this rebranding comes at the cost of losing all of your already established domain authority as well as the trust built around your brand and so much more. This can have both enormous financial and strategic consequences. So it is my sincere advice to all, to prioritize getting the right domain name for your business and investing in it from the get-go so you are secure for the future.
12. What would be your main domain advice to startups or founders?
Follow your dreams, build your vision, own you domain name from the start and make sure it is a name that conveys your marketing efforts and that stays in your customer minds forever.
I have several other ventures including an online agency, CyberExpert.com and a social initiative to educate on the importance of water conservation at WaterRecycling.com.
I will also be soon launching the biggest platform for the Global Sikh Community at Sardar.com, the name that symbolizes the sikh tradition.
Last but not least, we want to extend a big thank you to Varun for taking part in this end user case study and sharing all of his valuable insights on his journey with Pashmina.com thus far. His time and efforts working on this is very much appreciated.