An exclusive interview with Mr. Shalin Gandhi, Founder, Submarine Pens - IdeapreneurIndia-Entrepreneur's Daily Dose


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Tuesday, May 2, 2023

An exclusive interview with Mr. Shalin Gandhi, Founder, Submarine Pens

An exclusive interview with Mr. Shalin Gandhi, Founder, Submarine Pens

An exclusive interview with Mr. Shalin Gandhi, Founder, Submarine Pens

1-Tell us a little about yourself ( i.e your Education, Experience, Family Background)

-> Shalin is a passionate innovator who always seeks to improve products and the "experience for the customer." In fact, Shalin's realisation that a large number of customers were constantly on the lookout for a suitable writing instrument and also saw that customers needed to understand the value of a quality writing instrument, inspired him  to address this by starting his own company, Submarine Pens in 1995. The company sold 100000 pens in its first year alone, and there was no looking back. Presently Manufacturing 15000 pens a day. Presently, every pen and every model by Submarine Pens is treated uniquely, and the sheer diversity of writing instruments draws customers from all over the country to Submarinethe brand to get their unique writing instrument.

Shalin Gandhi has a wealth of experience in a variety of industries. Prior to founding his own company, Submarine Pens, he worked as a partner with companies like Gloss Lifestyle and served as the managing director of Ozark Marketing Ltd. Shalin did his schooling in Fatima Devi English High School, Bombay. After which he did his graduation in Bombay from NL College of Commerce. His interests, apart from Business, includes travelling, instrumental music, yoga & meditation. Often, he enjoys a playing cricket. His burning desire to make Submarine Pens A Global Brand. He is a BNI Member from last 15 years & Director of Corporate Gifting Association of India.

2-Please, tell us a little about your entrepreneurial journey.

-> We started Submarine Brand from 1995 onwards. Submarine, a leading manufacturer of high quality writing instruments since its inception, brings you the power to express your thoughts, ideas, feelings and vision. A cohesive focus on innovation, exquisite design, wide range and durability are a part of our overall vision. Our metal body pens manufactured with high precision not only look exquisite but also write smoothly and elegantly.

3-Kindly brief us about Submarine Pens, its specialization, and the products that it offers.

-> Some of our popular product models include:

• Submarine Coffee Series to smell coffee while writing

• Submarine Crystal Series by Preciosa for luxury pen lovers

• Submarine Pen & Notebook Combos for occasional gifting

• Submarine Divine Series suitable for Indian culture

• Submarine Diamond Cut Series for designer pen lovers

• Submarine Antimicrobial & Antibacterial Series to keep bacteria away

• Submarine Doctor Clip Series for gifting doctors

• Submarine Chrome Rodium Series for silver pen lovers

• Submarine Fountain Series for fountain pen lovers

• Submarine Mini Series especially for fancy pen lovers

• Submarine Promotional Series for brand promotion & corporate gifting

4.) Can you tell us about your background and experience in the fragrant pen manufacturing industry?  

-> From Last 5 years, we have experience in manufacturing this type of fragrant pens but we are supplying only to corporate and pharmaceutical sector for their promotion to doctors. They require some particular fragrance in refill so we use to make different types of flavors in refill like wine, strawberry, orange, etc. After the success of this pens since many years, First of all we developed a new plating. After the development of this brown platting we thought of making a coffee platting and coffee smell refill to sell it as a fragrant pen. Like this we develop a whole coffee fragrance pen with coffee plating for the corporate market. Then we wanted to launch whole range of coffee fragrance series in retail market & it was a super success.

After this thought we started planning process, coordinated with our manufacturing teams, started working on production of brown platting pen and coffee smell refill. We first introduced this coffee pen in corporate market, we got great response. Then we introduced same product in retail market, everyone loved this coffee pen. We got positive response from market, launched New Series in Coffee Pens. Today total we have 8 range in coffee series. The whole experience of this coffee pen were so exciting and worth it. I’m personally satisfied that everyone liked this pen. 

5.) How does your company source and choose the scents for your fragrant pens?

-> We have a supplier of inks for refills, we develop scents from them. We give them real coffee flavor ink then they develop scent accordingly after testing in their lab. Like this we choose the scent of our fragrant pen. 

6.) How do you ensure the quality of the fragrances in your pens?

-> After making the fragrance, our ink & refill manufacturer test it for at least 4-6 months. After complete quality assurance, we launch the same in retail market.

7.) What steps does your company take to ensure that the scents in your pens are safe for consumers?

-> The scents doesn’t make any difference to the safety for consumer. It is as good as normal pen refill and same quality. We did not change any quality of refills. Only few chemicals are added in scents but that doesn’t make any difference to the quality or safety of consumers.

8.) How do you balance the need for a strong scent with the potential for the fragrance to be overwhelming or too strong?

-> We can change the strength of the scent accordingly. After testing, we don’t keep overpowered fragrance. We keep it subtle & original.

9.) What was the inspiration behind turning into an entrepreneur?

-> From day 1, I was inspired to become an entrepreneur. I had just finish my schooling when I joined my father’s business & was going factory part time.  After observing lot of innovation in pens, I thought of lots of creativity having an entrepreneur mindset. In job, you do fixed type of work but as an entrepreneur particularly in pen industry, your mindset is creative for developing new designs & unique products. So I thought of becoming an entrepreneur & taking this as my main stream business of developing lot of new innovations.

My father has inspired me in business because of his strength as a leader and incredible determination to succeed. Since I was a little boy, I was always motivated to be just like my dad both in life and business. He taught me how to develop and show more empathy in the workplace.

After seeing a lot of innovation in pens, I had a thought why not I become an entrepreneur and put my creativity and ideas into reality. I personally didn’t wanted to work as a fixed employee in any company always wanted to become an entrepreneur, particularly in pen industry a lot of creativity goes into it. Customers always wants something new in market and to match their preferences we need to develop unique products. 

10.) Can you walk us through the production process for your fragrant pens?

-> Production Process of the Fragrant Pen goes as follows: First for refill, it takes up to 6-8 months to develop a particular scent of refill. After R&D & checking, all the refills are done. Also for this particular coffee pens, we have to develop a special plating process of coffee like all the parts with coffee type color plating. After plating process, we develop coffee scent refill.  Then assembly & final packaging. Even we have develop special packaging for coffee pens according to different range.

11.) What marketing strategies have you found to be successful in promoting your fragrant pens?

-> First, we promote coffee pens in pharmaceutical sectors. Then we develop whole range of coffee pens for the retail market with unique display and packaging. After a great success & high demand in retail market as well as corporate sector, now we are exporting coffee pens in many countries

12.) How does your company approach sustainability and reducing its environmental impact in the manufacturing process?

-> Our Metal Pens are 100% ecofriendly and all metals are reusable. All the brass and aluminum used in metal pens everything is reusable & are 100% sustainable.

13.) What are your success tips for young and aspiring entrepreneurs?

-> Whatever business you do, have patience, be consistent, think for a long term, participate in exhibitions & last but not the least Networking plays a big role in building business so grow your network by joining networking groups like BNI, Rotary, Lions, etc.  Don’t worry about results, you will get results for sure 100%

14.) Any new development or plans you would like to highlight?

-> After the success of Coffee Plated pens, now we are developing new range of pens which are in R&D process such as full wine plating pens with wine smell refills & blue plating pens like blueberry. So Every 6 months, we come with whole range of new pens. Also, recently we have taken up the global rights for NASA so we can manufacture it & sell it within Indian market as well as in global market. Till next month, we are launching whole range of products for NASA & that will be a big opening for us in global market. Lots of creativity & ideas is in process.

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