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Offbeat: From race cars to The Souled Store – Vedang Patel switched gears

Adgully’s special feature section – ‘Offbeat’ – seeks to give a peek into the lesser known facets of our very well-known industry leaders. We present, in the industry leaders’ own words, an interesting read on areas that are not usually highlighted in regular media coverage – be it about their childhood days, secret skills that they possess, how they unwind from their hectic schedules, and much more.  

With the vision to cater to people who love to express themselves creatively and freely, 29-year-old mechanical engineer by profession, Vedang Patel, Co-Founder and Director, The Souled Store, started the five-year-old quirky e-commerce platform along with his best buddies. 

From witty one-liners to super cool graphic designs, The Souled Store is a one-stop shop for all official pop culture merchandise and has already become the talk of the town. 

A precious childhood trait that you still possess?
A precious childhood trait that I still possess is curiosity. I have always had a very curious mind, and always wanted to learn about new inventions, new facts, advances in science and technology. My childhood was filled with binge watching National Geographic and Discovery, and my curiosity has only gotten stronger with time. It’s a trait I never intend to lose. 

Ever wished you had superhero powers?
Like literally every person in the world, yes! Time manipulation and time travel has always been a fascinating thought. 

What is your biggest fear and how do you face it?
Not a fear, but I would get queasy at the sight of blood. So, to overcome this, I started donating blood and now I’m a lot better around it. 

What would one find in your playlist?
I have a huge playlist consisting mostly of classic rock artists like AC/DC, Pink Floyd. There are a lot of rock bands from that era in my list. 

Your go-to activity to relax?
I love playing tennis in my free time. It’s a great way to spend time with my friends and unwind. 

What is the greatest lesson that you have learnt from life so far?
One of the greatest lessons I’ve learnt is that excuses don’t really matter. There could be a hundred different reasons something did or did not happen, but that’s of no consequence. You can blame people, have reasons, or justify things to yourself, but the end result does not change. If something needs to be done, do it yourself, but make sure it’s done. If you don’t figure it out, your competitor will. 

A social cause that you are most passionate about?
I’ve always loved dogs since I grew up and feel very strongly about animal cruelty. I’ve also been reading a lot about environmental issues, especially non-sustainable human habits, and more importantly, about the use of plastic. It’s something I keep thinking and working towards contributing towards a solution. 

What’s the one thing you would like to change about yourself?
The one thing I would probably change is that I sometimes get impatient with my team. Soft skills and the ability to navigate through situations through conversation is something I’d like to work on. At the end of the day, every person is different and what works for one may not necessarily work for the other. This would definitely help manage people better, which is even more crucial in an organisation the size of ours. So yes, that’s something I feel I can definitely work on. 

If not in your current designation, what would you have been?
I would have loved to be a race car driver – it’s something I always wanted to be. Racing every weekend, practice runs, loud cars – sounds like a fun life. I have built and raced my own car in competitions, but doing it professionally would be a different thrill altogether. 

What are the three apps on your mobile that you couldn’t live without?
I am a big foodie. So, I cannot live without Zomato. Other than that, Netflix and some music apps. 

Any content/ film or book you saw or read recently and why?
I really liked the book ‘Zero to One’ by Peter Thiel. It has some great examples for working or aspiring entrepreneurs. 

Two things about this industry you don’t like or don’t understand?
I don’t like (or get) how something goes out of fashion so fast. It’s crazy how quickly people change their opinions about what they do or do not like. Social media and the internet have definitely increased options and decreased attention spans. 

Another thing I don’t like about India’s e-commerce industry is that even today, customers have apprehensions about ordering online. People often purchase items on Cash on Delivery (COD), but cancel the product once it arrives because they changed their mind. This is not only a cost to organisations, but also an operational inconvenience. A world without COD would be a boon. The concept of cash on delivery does not exist in most countries. 

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live?
Right here in Mumbai, where I’ve grown up, studied, worked, and started The Souled Store. I have travelled a lot around the world and found a lot of beautiful cities which I would love to go and visit on vacation, but there’s nowhere else that I’d rather settle down.

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