Meraj Ahmed is Co-Founder & President of Eidi, and an Undergraduate Student, B.I.S. Media Entrepreneurship at GSU.
Eidi is a one-stop decor shop for Muslim holiday decor.
What You’ll Learn In This Episode
- What made Meraj interested in starting Eidi
- The target demographic for Eidi
- The biggest problem Eidi solves for clients
Intro: [00:00:04] Broadcasting live from the Business RadioX Studios in Atlanta, Georgia. It’s time for Atlanta Business Radio brought to you by on pay built in Atlanta. On Pay is the top rated payroll and HR software anywhere. Get one month free at onpay. Now here’s your host.
Lee Kantor: [00:00:31] Lee Kantor here, another episode of GSU ENI radio, and this is going to be a good one today on the show, we have Meraj Ahmed with Eidi. Welcome.
Meraj Ahmed: [00:00:43] Hi, how are you all
Lee Kantor: [00:00:45] I am doing well, I’m excited to learn about Eddie. Please tell us what you do and how are you serving folks?
Meraj Ahmed: [00:00:52] Yeah, so we’re a Muslim-based holiday decor shop. Me and my co-founder Fatima Ahmed are both Muslims, and we just kind of realized that there weren’t the core wasn’t decor out there for Muslims, for our holidays, and a lot of people are having to DIY, and both of us are designers and artists. So we felt like we could best serve our community by creating products and having people be able to purchase quality products.
Lee Kantor: [00:01:17] So are you creating the products yourself or you’re kind of a place where all these products are curated?
Meraj Ahmed: [00:01:23] We’re creating the products ourselves, so we’re designing, manufacturing, producing, going through all, all of that.
Lee Kantor: [00:01:29] Well, how did you like what kind of products do you start out with? How is it evolved over the over time?
Meraj Ahmed: [00:01:35] So we wanted to start off smaller. We’ve done like gift cards and stuff like that. More of the stationery goods, but we’re moving towards inflatables. We want to design our own lights. We want to do kits for people. So it started off with the simpler stuff, but we’re definitely moving up.
Lee Kantor: [00:01:55] And do you think it’ll always be kind of designed and made by you guys? Or is it going to be something that you’re going to open it up for other creators?
Meraj Ahmed: [00:02:04] We definitely want to be able to bring more people into our team and more designers into our team just so we can diversify our designs. But I think we would always be be designing and creating our products ourselves.
Lee Kantor: [00:02:17] Now you mentioned that there’s not a kind of a place for Muslims to go for this type of kind of what are you calling a decorations or what? What do you call the products you’re selling?
Meraj Ahmed: [00:02:31] Yeah, just holiday decor, holiday decor.
Lee Kantor: [00:02:34] So. So you said that there most people are just kind of doing it themselves or just creating their own stuff. There’s there’s no place to go for anything like this.
Meraj Ahmed: [00:02:44] Yeah, there are products on the market, but a lot of them are really cheap. They won’t last very long. We we we bought some products from Amazon party cities, a really big one that has products, but they’re always generic. They’re not quality. A lot of people buy them out of necessity from what we’ve we’ve talked to. And yeah, they just don’t last or they’re not quality or the the product itself just looks bad. So we want to be able to to have a place where it caters to people’s esthetics and with the world, with people wanting to make their space so, so much like themselves, we want to be able to offer that for the holidays.
Lee Kantor: [00:03:27] Now is it is the primary client, the person that’s in America, that’s Muslim or is it somebody from anywhere in the world could purchase?
Meraj Ahmed: [00:03:37] Oh, definitely anywhere in the world. I think just because we are, we’re starting up. We want to focus more on the American client, but clientele. But we we’ve talked to people all across the world just to see what what different esthetics are going around, what people are, what’s trending, what people are liking.
Lee Kantor: [00:03:58] Now what’s been the hardest part? Has it been creating the decor or is it kind of building out the website that has a, you know, e-commerce component?
Meraj Ahmed: [00:04:07] I feel like a lot of it has been a little difficult because we’re both both me and my co-founder a little newer to the startup scene, but the entrepreneurship scene. But the designing aspect comes easy to us. It’s been the producing in the manufacturing and just the legal aspects of that. So we don’t get something stolen or we don’t. Yeah, we don’t. We don’t run into a roadblock on that. But that’s been a little difficult. And whether with creating an e-commerce site, that that’s its own little thing, but we have a team that we can trust who we can go to, and they’ve been helpful with that.
Lee Kantor: [00:04:49] So now how has Jsou Insight program helped you?
Meraj Ahmed: [00:04:54] It definitely made us create the company when we joined Main Street. It was just an idea. And because of Main Street, we’ve been able to actually create this, make the idea physical. We’ve done all the paperwork. We’ve actually been able to do research and talk to potential customers and actually see if this business is viable and what people are actually looking for. So it’s definitely easy and I’ve definitely been a huge supporter in creating making our idea an actual company.
Lee Kantor: [00:05:31] And what’s kind of what do you see the hurdles coming up like what? What is keeping you up at night?
Meraj Ahmed: [00:05:37] I think the legal aspect for sure, and just the accounting to where we’re both not good with numbers, and I think that’s always been like, Oh, I don’t want to do something and then I’m I’m being fined $5000 because I didn’t fill out something or so. That’s that’s been a little bit of a fear, for sure.
Lee Kantor: [00:06:00] Now, do you have a website that’s up and running where people can go and see some of the stuff in order?
Meraj Ahmed: [00:06:05] Yeah, we have a landing page just so people can see the products and what what we’re trying to offer. So if you ever are curious, you can always go to a store store and check it out
Lee Kantor: [00:06:21] And then can they actually order? They can just see stuff
Meraj Ahmed: [00:06:24] They can see and inquire about products right now, just because we’re we’re making sure that we get all our ducks in a row for our big launch in March of twenty twenty two. We want to be able to just focus on that. So if you do like a product and you really want it now, we can definitely try and make that happen. But we’re definitely focusing more for our big launch in March of next year.
Lee Kantor: [00:06:48] Now, are you looking to get funding or is this something you’re self-funding with you and your families?
Meraj Ahmed: [00:06:54] We’re definitely looking for a little bit of funding, but we’re I think we’re just organizing our things at the moment. So funding for sure in the future and mentorship and guidance, I think is the biggest thing.
Lee Kantor: [00:07:07] That’s where you’re looking for more because there’s a lot of e-commerce folks here in the Atlanta area. I’m sure that would be willing to help you share some of their kind of scar tissue from learning how to do this.
Meraj Ahmed: [00:07:21] Yeah, we would love. We would love to to know all the ins and outs of just managing an e-commerce site.
Lee Kantor: [00:07:29] Now you mentioned you did some customer discovery. How did you go about doing that without having kind of an operational store?
Meraj Ahmed: [00:07:39] Luckily, me and my cousin are very, both very involved in our community and social media was a huge aspect of that. We already had a pretty decent following on our personal social media, so we had a lot of people we knew around the world because of that and we just reached out to them and everyone was super supportive and responsive. And I don’t think there was anybody who who said they weren’t interested in talking about about the subject. So that was the biggest thing was just reaching out to people and and the support that they gave validated us even more.
Lee Kantor: [00:08:14] So you mentioned you have a landing page. Are you capturing email addresses of people who might be interested in this type of products?
Meraj Ahmed: [00:08:21] Yeah, absolutely. So if you go on there, you can submit your email for a product that you think you like because we have some images of products that we have that we can offer. And of course, there’s there’s a section where you can send us an email if you just have a question or anything like that.
Lee Kantor: [00:08:40] So are you kind of up until your launch? Are you kind of building out a campaign in order to gather as many email addresses as possible?
Meraj Ahmed: [00:08:49] Yeah, yeah, absolutely. We definitely want people to know and we want we want to know what you have to say. So we we would love for people to just email us and send send in their emails. That way, we can keep them up to date on everything.
Lee Kantor: [00:09:03] And then like, maybe they get some discount or they get some VIP treatment for being.
Meraj Ahmed: [00:09:08] Absolutely, absolutely. We’re working on all the all the little discounts that are coming, but for sure, we would love for people just to send in their emails and be able to to keep those so we can keep them up to date.
Lee Kantor: [00:09:23] Well, congratulations on all the success. What you’ve done so far is a big achievement in you and your co-founders should be very proud of yourself. You’re you’re starting something from nothing and that’s always difficult.
Meraj Ahmed: [00:09:33] Yeah, yeah, we definitely e! And I’ve guided along the way, but we I don’t think we understood it all the way, but it’s been an interesting few months to see just how an idea can really become reality.
Lee Kantor: [00:09:48] So one more time, the website
Meraj Ahmed: [00:09:50] Ldi DIY store.
Lee Kantor: [00:09:53] All right. Well, thank you so much for sharing your story. You’re doing important work, and we appreciate you. Thank you. All right, this is Lee Kantor. We will see you all next time on GSU. Any radio.
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