I can’t remember the last time I received a carefully wrapped gift with a bow on top. Maybe Christmas ’95? Many gift-givers (including myself) surrendered to the convenience of gift bags and tissue paper. Now, even those are becoming obsolete with the onset of virtual gift giving and receiving. Keeping up with this online trend (and making it a delight to use) is BowBox.me where you can create digital gift boxes with pics, videos and music to send to the people you love.
We caught up with founder Behrad Ghadiri to find out how this personal project has already reached 10,000 users.
How’d you come up with the name BowBox?
The name “BowBox” was inspired by gift boxes with big red ribbon bows. That’s the first thing that came to my mind when I thought about the loveliest gifts I have ever received.
What’s the very first thing you do at work everyday?
I check my emails. We have been getting a lot of feedback and suggestions from our users and I try to maintain a very close relationship with them. A lot of them have my personal email and we sometimes chat about really random stuff on kik messenger.
They keep us motivated.
How many people did you start the company with and how many people work for you now?
I started this as a personal project by myself. As things started to get more serious, two of my friends have been getting more and more involved with the project. Currently, the three of us do everything from optimizing the database to making tiny icons to marketing.
Remember the early days starting up? Maybe you can share one anecdote that describe the struggle you went through?
Prior to our launch, I redesigned the interface of the website probably four or five times from the ground up. I had to achieve the unique look we needed to differentiate our concept from email providers, file sharing sites and social networks. We had a new idea and we needed a fresh design.
How do you handle frustration? When/how was the last time you dealt with frustration?
I try to keep a clear head when dealing with frustration. The last frustrating situation I remember was when we had to do a data migration for my older project, Quote.by. There were a lot of important and tricky changes. So we tested everything to the bone and rolled out the new features when they were ready.
What’s your office environment like?
We don’t have an office. We definitely try to keep it casual and work anywhere we can such cafés and libraries.
How do you picture your company in 5 years?
I hope to see a very connected and active community in which thousands of people make and receive lovely BowBoxes for each other everyday.
Who or what inspires you?
Most of the people around me inspire me everyday. I also look up to a lot of great people in other areas such as indie game developers and musicians who, despite being successful, have kept their values.
How’d you fund this venture?
Bowbox is currently self-funded. We have received couple of investment offers but I would like to continue on this path until we really need the money for some fancy data center.
Got any great bootstrapping tips for the lean startups out there?
Don’t give up!
What would you be doing if you had one year off and $500,000 to spend?
I would probably go backpacking around the world with friends.
Do you consider yourself a successful entrepreneur right now? If not, what’s it gonna take to make you feel successful?
I feel fortunate to be able to turn my ideas into something practical but I think I would have to get there to know what would make me feel successful.
Website you couldn’t live without and why?
That has to be Svpply. I shop online very frequently and and I use it before buying anything. They have a great community of people and usually their most popular items are the best you can find anywhere.
Mobile App you’re in love with and why?
I’m a big music junkie so I really like Rdio‘s iOS App. It has an intuitive and beautiful interface. Rdio itself, which is a music streaming service, is an excellent service with a lot of rare materials and their user created playlists make discovering new music very easy.
Dogs or cats?
Dogs. Although ideally I’d like to have a penguin.
iOS or Android?
What’s the greatest thing about Bowbox?
BowBox lets you express your love to those few special people in your life. We all have those treasured pictures, those videos and songs full of memories. With BowBox you get to make someone’s ordinary day extraordinary.
Any other projects going on?
Another ongoing project I work on is Quote.by. It is the social approach for quotations. It was the first startup I was involved in and for that reason it is very special to me.
Where can our readers reach out to you?
You can find me at my personal website and blog.
Thanks Behrad! Next time you’re thinking about sending a personal gift online, make sure to check out BowBox.com and create a new type of mixtape complete with memorable photos, funny videos, sweet music and sentiment. Aw, makes me feel all fuzzy. Will someone send me one, please?