An entrepreneur since his early Symbi days, Prasanjeet Roy, founder of Fabogo is a man filled with ambition and sheer willpower who wants to see the world filled with people who celebrate themselves. His ultimate motivation is to solve problems – and that is exactly what he did when he founded Fabogo. Fabogo is an app that let’s you be fabulous, on the go, quite literally. A smart concept that lists all the salons and spa’s in your city, with user ratings, reviews, and pictures. Additionally Fabogo’s ‘FabFeeds’ and ‘FabFinds’ keep you updated with all the latest trends in the world of beauty and wellness, as well as the latest offers.
What gave you the idea of Fabogo? What was your inspiration behind it?
When I was working with Zomato, during my Data Collection days, I observed that there were as many salons and spas as there were restaurants and eat-outs. The market potential struck me then itself! It was simple really; people want to look good at all times and Fabogo could help them just do that with much more ease!
You first launched in Dubai, why not your home-town, Pune? (Your hometown is Pune, right?)
I come from an army background, so my early childhood was spent in different parts of India. I moved to Pune for my schooling and college and I love the city and its young, vibrant and laid-back culture. But work brought me to Dubai in 2012 so the idea of Fabogo was cultivated in the Dubai market. Also, there were only 3 of us in the beginning, with no one to collect data in Pune on the field.
What was the Indian market like, as compared to Dubai?
In Dubai, users have no brand loyalty of any form. They are willing to experiment and try new places for Beauty/Wellness services. So we gained traction rather quickly.
In India however, the market dynamics are completely different. When we entered Pune, we were surprised to see the level of friction we faced from the Salon/Spa owners to be listed with us. We weren’t even selling them anything and they still didn’t want anything to do with us “online companies”. It was like they were afraid of us. It took a whole lot of imparting education to them before they were ready to share details and get listed.
You recently changed the branding of Mazkara to Fabogo, why is that?
Mazkara might have built a substantial brand in the UAE, but the Indian consumer did not connect to it as well as we’d hoped. Managing and marketing the brand name was becoming slightly challenging, as it leaned towards the female gender (and 40% of our traffic comes from men) and was more often than not, being spelt incorrectly.
Before we started snowballing into something much bigger, it was time to take a step back and rethink what our brand really stood for, and who it appealed to most. The rebranding aims at helping the business gain a new brand identity, which dovetails perfectly with the recently introduced features such as ‘FabFinds’ (exclusive promotions) and ‘Fab-Feed’ (latest trends). It is no longer about just discovering venues, but also about creating a community, which cares deeply about looking good and feeling fabulous.
Starting off on our own can be rather scary and confusing – but you did it. What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?
The idea of entrepreneurship seems very glamorous, but once you take the leap, you’ll know that the journey is very tough. You will only keep going if you truly believe in your venture. So before you take the jump, be very sure that the problem you’re aiming to solve is something you feel very strongly about.
Were there times when you wanted to just drop it all? If so, what kept you moving forward?
I think of dropping the whole idea at least twice a day! But you have to stay positive and keep in mind what you’ve set out to achieve. I believe some people are just meant to be entrepreneurs; it’s like being an artisit, it’s not something you choose. Being an entrepreneur has become a part of who I am, and I have a stellar team and a supportie wife – that keeps me moving forward.
You have always been an entrepreneur, since your college days, so this probably won’t be your last masterpiece. Should we expect anything exciting in the near future?
Absolutely! Technology is still at a very nascent stage and there is just so much of opportunity around to utilise technology to improve people’s lives.