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Interview with Rohit Chari, Red Canvas Studios

Interview with Rohit Chari, Red Canvas Studios

An interview with Rohit Chari, illustrator, artist, and the Founder of Red Canvas Studios.

Born and brought up in Goa, Rohit Chari is an illustrator, artist, and artpreneur who runs Red Canvas Studios, a venture he started in 2016. In this creative studio, ideas come to life in art on different canvases such as walls, frames, and memories. 

Rohit started playing around with sketches early in his school days where he’d draw, doodle, and soon enrolled into a full-time fine arts course where he learned traditional art forms and techniques in a formal setup. Today Rohit caters to special art commissions where he draws beautiful caricatures, paints on walls, has his line of merchandise; in short, he’s found his passion and made a living out of it. 

In this interviews, Parth interviewed Rohit, where they talk and explore the world of being an artist, an entrepreneur, and suggestions for the fellow community of artists and creators.

Story of your first customer? 

Well, the first few projects were majorly for friends, and I did them for free. But the first paid project came to me instead as a surprise. I had made a digital caricature for a photographer friend, and I think after minutes of it posting, it went viral in our little friend circle. 

Everyone wanted to know who made this caricature, and there I was flooded with requests, most of them free, but some of them translated into orders, and that’s how I kickstarted my Freelance career as a Digital Caricature artist. 

Freelancing and the early challenges 

Underpricing and not being able to strike that early balance where I get quality clients who pay decently. I think the first few paid projects, I was underpaid, but then I guess that’s all a learning process. 

When I realized I was charging lesser, I decided to increase my prices, but then the clients stopped coming in. With time, I reached a sweet spot where the clients are comfortable, which allows me to be satisfied. I think the sweet spot of pricing your art “just right” can be determined only by talking to customers, and this process takes time. 

How do you explain Digital Art to your customers?

I was introduced to digital art years after graduating with a degree in Art, so I am very empathetic to my customers when I explain to them about Digital Art or Digital caricatures to help them understand and appreciate the process of creation. 

Many people think making caricatures digitally is when the artist uses some apps or simply traces it, but that’s not how it works. Usually, when I encounter clients who do not know much about Digital Art, or the creation process, I educate them first about this art form because this helps set the expectations right and makes the process of creation and approval smoother. 

I walk my customers through the process, share the work in progress pictures with them, answer their queries before starting work; I think this has many advantages, and the client’s chances of negotiating to go down significantly.

 

How do you price your digital caricatures? 

I decide the cost of my caricatures based on the combination of the following factors, and a lot of times, if the order is to required urgently, there’s an added cost. 

    1. The number of characters – A lot of my customers think that the price of caricature quoted can include as many human figures, but that’s not how it works. Therefore one of the criteria for deciding the price is the number of people/characters drawn.

       

    2. The caricature style – Is it the Realistic Caricature or Flat(2D) Caricature? It takes me more time to work on the realistic caricature. Therefore this one is charged higher.

       

    3. Background – Clients often demand unique backgrounds, such as the Eiffel tower, or the Taj Mahal, or other requests, and to accommodate such requests, I charge extra.

      In India, it’s a little tough to find clients who will not negotiate and respect the price you quote, but it’s so much easier with foreign clients, and I can charge them higher too. 

Drawing a celebrity caricature vs. Drawing for customers 

With celebrities, I have the freedom to experiment, exaggerate, and let my creative juices flow, but I have to be very careful with client projects. People want to look cute but not funny. 

I think there’s a nice balance, where I get paid for the commissioned work I do and the time I have left after such projects; I experiment, play around with colors, strokes, and let my ideas flow without being constricted by the client’s expectations. 

(Rohit has created fan art versions of famous Netflix TV shows like – Money Heist, Scared Games, etc.)

 

Wall Murals vs. Digital Caricatures 

I like both forms of art – Making digital caricatures and murals, both of their unique charm, and I thoroughly enjoy working on both mediums. 

Still, the outcome of completing a mural is much more gratifying than a caricature, primarily because of the heavy hard work required to create a mural. 

First, we prepare a design based on the input given by the client and then get the digital design approved; post this, the digital design is transposed to the wall. This process from idea to execution takes 3-4 days, or more, depending on the size of the wall. But I love working on murals. I usually start early and work in sprints to finish it as per the agreed timelines. 

When the project is big, I collaborate with other artists, and it’s fun working on such projects.

How do you feel when people compare your work with other artists? 

I’ll be honest, early in my career, I’d get offended easily and react, saying, “if you like their work, go buy from them,” but now I try to explain to them the reason for the difference and explain to them my art process. 

Other Hobbies? Skateboarding? 

Well, I love to skateboard, and I represented my state in Skateboarding back in the days, and I think I found a lot of artists from the skateboarding community. Skateboards are usually hand-painted, uniquely communicating what the owner wishes to with colors and visuals. 

I’ve got many gigs because of the community, and I think having a hobby is an excellent release to your creative juices, but in a different environment.

Future Aspirations

I aspire to work with more prominent brands where my skills are tested. I meet fellow creators, and I learn and grow while doing so. I have worked with some very famous brands in the past, and I look forward to working with more brands as I grow as an artist. 

Advice to fellow artists in the community 

Digital art is comparatively easy when you are tracing it, but I would strongly recommend against it. Try to draw it manually instead of tracing, and it’ll help you in the longer run. 

If you want to draw caricatures, don’t immediately jump into drawing caricatures. Start by drawing portraits; it’ll help you understand the human face anatomy better. Once you’ve mastered that part, it’s easier to play around with human facial features to make fun caricatures. 

Closing Notes

Rohit concludes the interview by saying, “I would just say, support all the artists, because this is a small business we are into, but when the audience supports us, we can prosper. And I would request you to respect the artists, try to understand them, and value their efforts.”

Deciphering Doodles with Sumouli Dutta

Deciphering Doodles with Sumouli Dutta

Deciphering Doodles with Sumouli Dutta - Meet the mastermind behind "Woode Doodle Designs" Sumouli Dutta, Illustrator 20th May,2019 Sumouli Dutta is a self-taught illustrator and a visual artist  based in Kolkata who throws light on the stereotypes prevalent in our...

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Looking for the perfect gift?

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Stoned Santa

Personalize your gifts like never before. We provide handmade art and make sure we incorporate your tiny memories to create a unique gifting experience for you.

How to manage finances – Income, and Expenses for an Artist

How to manage finances – Income, and Expenses for an Artist

How to manage finances – Income, and Expenses as an Artist

While building Stoned Santa, I had the opportunity to interact with 1000s of artists who come from different backgrounds and specialize in different art forms – Caricatures, Illustrations, Handicrafts, Portraits, and many more.

One thing that remained constant throughout was their struggle to manage and deal with managing their finances, and keeping a track of their income, and expenses.

I think I have hardly met any artist who claims to have their financial management in check with a structured way to approach, and I am writing this article in the hopes that it will help someone.

This blog is a detailed account of how artists can track and manage their finances, and business operations using one of the best free tools I have come across – Refrens.

Although the company provides for a lot of great tools that can take care of a business’s finance management needs end to end, in this blog we will cover 3 key tools provided by Refrens that are vital for a business to operate – 

  • Invoicing – Creation of professional invoices 
  • Expense Management – Recording Expenses, adding vendors, etc
  • Payments – A gateway to accept payments(international & national), & a tool to track income, cashflow & expected income 

Invoice Generation 

Many artists would relate to this feeling of sending out payment requests over Whatsapp, or email, and then losing track of the payment, and the corresponding documentation related to a deal or order they have served. 

With Refrens’s invoice creation tool, one can choose from multiple design templates for invoices, and create invoices on the go. 

free-invoice-template-refrens

Following is a snapshot from my Refrens dashboard that gives me an overview of the following details – 

Invoices_Management_Refrens

Invoices_Management_Refrens

  • Total number of invoices 
  • The total amount of invoices amount due 
  • Payment received, Amount due 
  • GST amount – To be paid to the government 
  • TDS – Tax Deducted at Source 

The best part about generating an invoice from Refrens is that you can send out the invoices to the customer, and the dashboard allows you to monitor the following important details – 

  • Invoice details – Date of invoice generated, Due date
  • Status of the invoice – Paid, Unpaid
  • Invoice status – Unread, sent, unsent, etc 

The powerful dashboard provided by Refrens allows you to keep a track of all your invoices, and information related to it at one place which makes it super convenient to track and manage. 

Expense Management

Expense_Management_Refres

Measuring expenses can become a hassle if it’s not done right, and believe it or not, but it is one of the most ignored aspects in managing finances by small businesses and freelancers.


There are 2 major types of expenses that occur when you’re running a business,

  • Fixed Expenses – These are recurring expenses that a business has to pay to keep the operations running – Salaries, Rent, EMIs are some examples of Fixed Expenses.
  • Variable costs – These may or may not be recurring. Example – Marketing expenses, costs incurred on shipping, etc 

Measuring expense is a breeze with the suite of tools provided by Refrens, and some of the key features of their expense management tool are as follows –

    1. Creation of expense & vendor reports – This implies that a business can not only track the number of expenses done by them, but segregate it vendor wise to truly understand where their money is being spent, and accordingly plan their expenses, or optimize them as per need.
    2. Easy management of all expenses at one place – More often than not freelancers, and small businesses have their expenses all over the place which is not only unproductive but can prove fatal when planning for growth. With the expense management tool by Refrens, it’s super easy to have all the records of expenses in one place that can be visualized using graphs through reports. 

Expense_Management_Features

 

Attached is a snapshot of how expenses are tracked in the tool, and the best part about this is all of this is GST compliant, and for people who struggle with GST have one less thing to worry about. The GST compliant expense reports allow a business to precisely measure the amount of money they can get back as GST input credit. 

Expense_Invoice

The dashboard allows you to keep a track of your expenses, and view them in real-time, and know their status – Due, Overdue, Paid.  

Payment Gateway

A payment gateway is a final integration that makes the entire suite of tools offered by Refrens a complete package for any freelancer or a business owner. 

The payment gateway allows people to collect all forms of payment – be it national or international, and in partnership with Cashfree, Refren’s payment gateway is super smooth to use, and its integration with its financial services. 

Payment_Gateway_Refrens

The payment gateway charges are one of the best offered by Refrens, which is as follows –
Domestic Payment : 2.9% + GST
International Payment : 4.9% + GST
Minimum charge per transaction: INR 25

All in all, if we look at the suite of tools provided by Refrens, then it is safe to say that it is the one-stop tool that freelancers, artists, and small businesses need to get their work going.

Signup for the amazing suite of tools here. 

 

 

The Serious Art of Caricatures with Prasad Bhat

The Serious Art of Caricatures with Prasad Bhat

Interview with Prasad Bhat

The serious art of Caricatures : Prasad Bhat on Caricatures, Graphicurry, Comedy and more.

Prasad Bhat, Founder of Graphicurry

16th May, 2019

Prasad Bhat is the mastermind behind Graphicurry, a caricature specialist and an illustrator based in Bangalore. His quirky caricatures have brought him global appreciation. Like every other Indian kid, Prasad Bhat studied Engineering and struggled to get a job after his graduation. On realizing that engineering was not his cup of tea, he started his own design studio turned art store, Graphicurry.

Prasad never fails to bring a smile on your face, whether through his caricatures or comedy. His skills have attracted some of the coolest clients such as Amazon Prime, Disney and MARVEL. His artwork is original, authentic and witty.

Here are excerpts from when we caught up with Prasad Bhat for a quick interview and a dozen laughs.

What’s the story behind Graphicurry?

“Art and food are two of my most favourite things, hence the name ‘Graphicurry’! Luckily, the URL name was easily available”.

“Graphicurry started off in 2013 as a logo and designing company for corporates, and eventually evolved into a personalized caricature store. Today, we have over a hundred varieties of caricatures and merchandise of famous TV shows, movies, and artists”.

What made you take up an off-beat career and start Graphicurry, having studied engineering?

“I graduated with a score of 75% in engineering. I was over qualified for Call centres and under qualified for IT Companies. While I was desperately looking for a job, my girlfriend suggested that I pursue art seriously. I began to learn various digital tools. 6 years have passed, and here we are. Graphicurry has over a hundred personalized caricatures and merchandise”.

One of your prominent works includes Vector art. What made you pursue it?

“There are so many artists out there who have access to the same tools as I do. I’ve always wanted to have a unique style when it comes to art in order to stand out from the rest. That’s the main reason I started drawing vectors. Plus, I really enjoy drawing them”.

“I sometimes feel like a low-key plastic surgeon”.

How do you manage to get the right balance between realism and exaggeration in your artwork?

“I prefer keeping my art minimal over intricate detailing. Honestly speaking, people don’t like their features to be exaggerated. Everybody wants to look better. So, I only focus on making my clients look cuter”. *chuckles*

As you make customized caricatures, you might have come across various customization requests. What’s the most common request that you get?

“Make my wife look beautiful”. I’ve heard this so many times. I sometimes feel like a low-key plastic surgeon. I wish people could accept themselves and others as they are. I’m a brutally honest person; I would trip at requests like this. Thankfully, my wife, Deepthi takes care of all the client communications and makes my life easier”.

Caricature of  F.R.I.E.N.D.S illustrated by Prasad Bhat.

“That’s when I realized that I had travelled so far to get to the point where my favourite thing had to be recreated by me”.

Any current projects you can talk about? What was your biggest project until now?

I had my ‘Pursuit of Happiness’ moment when Disney asked to draw Mickey in my style to celebrate Mickey’s 90th Birthday! That’s when I realized that I had travelled so far to get to the point where my favourite thing had to be recreated by me”.

“Currently, I’m excited to be working on a few projects for Hotstar, which is upping its presence on the online media industry”.

Being an artist, what’s your biggest pet peeve?

“Most of the orders I get are for gifting purposes. Few clients provide hazy images for reference. This is my biggest pet peeve”.

How do you think the digital age has helped artists?

“I’m truly blessed to have digital aid. I have a competitive advantage over others as I was among of the first few artists to start digital caricatures in India. Most of the caricature artists who did not adapt to the technological changes, are still struggling. Technology has introduced us to unlimited possibilities. It’s up to us to make the best use of it”.

 

“All artists have a shelf life. I’m ready to face life as it comes”.

Could you tell us about your “Evolution” series?

“The evolution series focused on famous celebrities such as Leo, Matt Damon, Tom Hanks, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Robin Williams and others. It was a tribute to all the amazing roles they’ve played so far. I also worked on a project where Ranbir Kapoor evolves into Sanjay Dutt. The idea is to keep the face unaltered and change other details such as the outfit, attire and expressions”.

What inspired you to start stand up comedy? Where can we see Prasad Bhat in the years to come, as a comedian?

“Even I’m not sure why I started doing comedy. I think I like to suffer and be broke. Jokes apart, I love making people smile and I wanted to do that professionally. Recently, I performed in Mumbai for a huge crowd, the video of which will be releasing soon. Other than that, I attend 2-3 open mics every week. It is tiring to run an art store and pursue comedy. But, I’m getting there”.

Prasad Bhat in one of his Stand-up comedy sets.

You have made some amazing caricatures of various Sitcoms. Which is your favourite sitcom of all time?

“Seinfeld is my all time favourite. It’s think that it’s the best show ever and everyone should watch it! Each character has its own charm that makes the show so special”.

Have you ever hit the rock-bottom? Tell us about it.
“I had hit the rock-bottom after my graduation which made me start Graphicurry. Since I’ve already been there, I don’t fear it anymore. All artists have a shelf life. So, I’m ready to face life as it comes. On the other hand, even if I get a lot of money and fame, I won’t let it get into my head. I like to keep myself grounded”.

“If you wake up with a burning desire in you to achieve something, you must follow it”.

Do you plan on taking up workshops?

“No, that’s my last resort. I’m not a big fan of teaching because I’m very impatient. If everybody stops buying from me, then I’ll give it a thought”.

Being a popular artist, demands you to have a constant social media presence. How do you cope up with this?

“I have to constantly post engaging content for my audience. I can’t post whatever I like, it has to be trending. Right now, there’s Game of Thrones fever everywhere. So, few of my posts are based on that”.

They say that art can reduce stress and promote relaxation. Do you agree with this?

“To a certain extent, art is therapeutic. It might seem fun drawing all day. But trust me, it isn’t. It is a lot of work and requires patience”.

Lastly, do you have any tips or advice for the budding digital artists?

“Don’t Do it”. *laughs*
“I’m just kidding. I usually don’t advise others much. It’s easy for me to ask others to pursue art. But, there are other factors one must consider like financial security and emotional support. To be an artist in India, it takes something more than just talent or hard work. It takes a thick skin. Hard-work is overrated. Unless you have a huge inheritance, or become an overnight sensation, it’s really hard to get financial returns”.

“Nonetheless, if you wake up with a burning desire to achieve something, you must follow it. I also believe that if your parents support you, you’d get too comfortable and become lazy. The magic happens only when you step out of your comfort zone. So, I think all the parents should kick their kids out of the house after they grow up “.

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Prasun Balasubramaniam – Journey to the centre of Mandalas

Prasun Balasubramaniam – Journey to the centre of Mandalas

Interview with Prasun Balasubramaniam

Journey to the centre of Mandalas with Prasun FineArts

Prasun Balasubramaniam, Mandala Artist

14th May, 2019

Prasun Balasubramaniam is a self-taught Mandala artist and illustrator who hails from Salem, Tamil Nadu. She is known to create intricate, vibrant, and vivid artworks, and believes that Mandalas require intense focus and attention to the present moment, which induces mindfulness. Here, you can read some of the wisdom Prasun shared with us and get a glimpse of her beautiful mandalas that can satisfy the OCD in all of us.

Tell us a little about your childhood? How were you introduced to art?

Growing up in Mumbai, I actively took part in many art competitions and creative activities which kept me occupied. I was introduced to the basics of art in a summer camp. Although my parents never encouraged me much to pursue art thinking it would be a waste of time, I was persistent enough and never stopped drawing.

Prasun with one of the Mandalas she drew on her Studio Wall. 

How did you develop an interest in Mandalas? How has your journey of choosing art as a career been?

After my 10th grade, my family shifted to Salem and having stayed in a happening city like Mumbai, I used to get really bored. Hence, in my free time, I doodled and made Mandalas.

Even during my engineering days, I used to doodle on my notebooks to survive the boring lectures. Thankfully, my teachers thought that I was taking notes.

I was unaware that the doodles I made were called ‘Mandalas’ until I came across an article that spoke about the different types of mandalas and the healing powers they possessed, after which I started extensively researching and learned a lot.

After completing my Bachelors in Engineering and M.tech, I worked at a research company for a while which I eventually quit to pursue art full-time.

Soon I started posting on Instagram, and the love and appreciation I got from my followers gave me confidence to draw more and more.

““Mandalas are a religion by themselves”.”

We can trace back the history of mandalas to ancient Buddhism and Hinduism. Do you connect with mandalas on a spiritual level?

Personally, I feel mandalas are meditative than spiritual. I can say that mandalas are a religion by themselves. While working on mandalas, you mostly use the subconscious mind, giving rest to the conscious mind. Creating a mandala calms me down and helps me get closure. I have curated a mandala colouring book for the same purpose.

I’m a standard Image Caption.

Some logs are made by the participants attending her workshops

The mandalas that you’ve created seem so flawless. How did you master the symmetry?

Trust me, there are a lot of flaws. There are times when I make a lot of errors and then are times when it comes out really well. The key is to keep trying until you become perfect.

What led to the inception of Prasun fine-arts?

Boredom. I was jobless and at home for a almost 6 months, and the peer pressure of getting a job got the best of me. I decided to start Prasun Fine arts in the summer of 2015, and since then I have never looked back.

What can one expect from your Mandala art workshops?

The participants of my workshop will go through the process of creating a Mandala design from scratch where in they are provided with worksheets which gives them the freedom to choose a pattern which they’d want to draw. 

Although you cannot achieve perfection in the first attempt, the attendees go back home happy and satisfied with their designs. 

Mandala art is immersive and gives the participants an experience they cannot forget. 

 

Do you agree that mandalas should include some element of free-flowing form rather than having the perfect mathematical symmetry?

No, Mandalas are supposed to be circular in nature. Any form of energy starts from a point and spreads into a circle. There are excellent examples of this in our universe, like the solar system, the Chakras or even a flower.

 Mandala art therapy is a form of psychotherapy which is supposed to help in finding a sense of healthy mental balance. What are your thoughts on the same?

Mandalas help in promoting a healthy mental balance by reducing stress, increasing attention span and dealing with depression. It can benefit all the age groups. Interestingly, people aged above 80 years also visit my workshop.

How has technology helped mandala art form to evolve?

Call me old school, but I prefer traditional art over digital art any day. I love the vibration between the pencil and the paper. Nonetheless, I use the iPad for designing tattoos as the customers come back with requests for modification. Technology is definitely a boon for artists like me, but one should start off with traditional mediums.

What inspired you to start urban sketching?

I’ve always loved trying out new things and appreciated the beauty in my surroundings. Drawing Mandalas was getting redundant and I wanted to try something different, that’s when I started drawing Urban landscapes. 

I am not very good at it, but I hope to be there soon.

If you were to meet your former self, what advice would you give?

I would ask my former self not to worry much about studies and start practising art earlier.

What advice would you give to the budding artists?

Keep practising and never give up. Explore what you like until you’re 35 (or even until later if you have the energy). Attend workshops and take up classes. Discover your passion and pursue it.

Studying may give knowledge, but practising art builds your overall personality, and that’s what matters at the end of the day.

Stoned Santa

Personalize your gifts like never before. We provide handmade art and make sure we incorporate your tiny memories to create a unique gifting experience for you.

Looking for the perfect gift?

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How I got an ROI of 322% for my startup - Stoned Santa by spending a night with 400 Uber drivers

How I got an ROI of 322% for my startup - Stoned Santa by spending a night with 400 Uber drivers

How I got an ROI of 322% for my startup – Stoned Santa by spending a night with 400 Uber drivers

There are days that teach you things and then there are days that change your life.

On the night of 5th August 2018, I set out to execute one of the biggest marketing campaigns of my life which has not only helped my startup grow in revenues and customers but also gave me life lessons that shall stay with me forever.

My intern, Sanjay, and I spent 40 hours at the Bangalore airport interacting with over 600 cab drivers and successfully convinced 400 of them to advertise my startup – Stoned Santa in their cabs.

I am sharing my journey of this campaign right from idea to execution and the results we were able to achieve in 3 months of the campaign going live.

1% Inspiration – The inception of the Idea

Startups aren’t easy and this life comes with its share of highs and lows, I was at one of my lowest points – broken and burnt out, almost on the verge of quitting and going back home forever!

On my way back home from the office, I got talking to a cab driver and a couple of minutes into the conversation, he told me about his experiences as a door to door salesman selling Encyclopedias and I told him about Stoned Santa.

We then got talking about traditional marketing methodologies, the art of selling door to door and that’s when he suggested me to try something different for Stoned Santa since it’s a creative business and marketing ourselves just digitally won’t be enough.

In the spur of the moment, I pitched an idea to him in impulse, -“Will you put up an advertisement for my company in your cab?” He says, Yes. I note down his contact details and thank him for the much-needed inspiration.

He drops off an energized and motivated version of me who is all charged up and excited for this new marketing campaign.

99% Perspiration - Planning and execution

My gut gave me good vibes about this idea and I started interacting and surveying every cab driver I met in my daily commute. Over a month I collected the following stats from nearly 100 rides.

I was confident that people would notice our advertisement in the cab because –

1. The brochure would be placed right in front of the eye.
2. Bangalore traffic can be brutal, and a bored curious human mind might be interested in checking      out the AD.
3. Our name - Stoned Santa, since a lot of people have found our name unique and attractive.


Planning – Number crunching


I made a few assumptions from my past conversations with the drivers.

  1. Out of the 12 in the back seat, I assumed 10 of them would notice the advertisement. (Impressions)
  2. I assumed, 5% of them would visit the website. That is 1.5 people per cab per month. (Website Visits)
  3. From my experience in marketing, I predicted 10% of our website visitors would sign up for gifts on my website. (Leads)

Designing the Brochure

A good design doesn’t just look good. It serves a purpose. And our purpose was to pique the curiosity of the people in the cabs.

Here’s what we came up with after almost 10 iterations.

We were now ready with the strategy, the design, cans of Redbull and our 800 printed brochures. The big question! Where do we find so many cabs? The Bangalore airport! We booked a cab and set out to our great expedition at 9 pm on the 5th of August.

The first cab

Within minutes of getting into the cab, began our first pitch in a mix of broken English, Hindi, Kannada and sign language.

“Anna… Hi! I’m Shashank! My startup helps people find the right gift for their friends and family and we help spread joy and I’ve been doing this since college.
We work with artists who are still in school and college by providing them with a platform to earn and get recognized for their work.”

A few minutes into the ride he noticed that we had lots of brochures with us and asked what we planned to do with them.

I told him our plan of putting them in 400 cabs in the airport! His expression changed and his face lit up with a huge smile!

He laughed out loud and said, “Cab drivers ka full support milega aapko, aap bahut acha kaam kar rahe ho”. (You’ll get full support from the cab drivers)

Sanjay and I were beaming now as well! We were live in our first cab! 399 more to go!

When we reached the airport, we got down and he handed me a friendship band and wished me a Happy Friendship Day. I didn’t even realize it was Friendship’s day. What a beautiful way to start the night!

 

1 down 399 more to go!

It was 11:45 pm when we arrived at the airport. To our disappointment, we found empty parking lots with a couple of sleepy drivers.

In the first 3 hours, we managed to convince only 20 cabbies, at this rate it’d take us 60 hours to get into 400 cabs! We did not have enough Redbull for that!

We were sleepy and wanted to go back home. Pessimism shadowed our minds, but was giving up an option? We called for a break and parked ourselves in the parking canteen to rest.

1 down 399 more to go!

Around 4 am, we were awakened by the sound of car engines which were music to our ears. We jumped in joy and witnessed scores of cabs assembling in perfect order.

The parking lot was now full of cabbies moving around drinking tea, smoking cigarettes and washing their cars.

It was time to rise and shine.

We walked up to the cab drivers with our bags full of brochures and struck conversations with them individually.

Our conversations and the bright shiny brochures grabbed the attention of other cab drivers around us and in no time we were surrounded by curious men eagerly listening us tell our story and what we planned on doing with the brochures. 

Soon it wasn’t a 1–1 pitch anymore, we found ourselves talking to a group of 4–5 people which catalysed the process.

My gut gave me good vibes about this idea and I started interacting and surveying every cab driver I met in my daily commute. Over a month I collected the following stats from nearly 100 rides.

What did we offer the cab drivers? 

After we offered them digitally made portraits of their near and dear ones, quite a few of them said they don’t need anything in return and they’ll happily keep it in their cabs. 

Pleasantly surprised and curious, we asked them the reason behind this sweet gesture. To which they replied, “Aap itne young age me itna mehnat kar rahe ho”(You’re working so hard at such a young age).

I guess Hardwork was the language that connected us with the cab drivers and they wanted to play a role in our story too. 

After almost 40 hours of our adventure at the airport, we were live in 400 cabs! This feeling of achievement and accomplishment was greater than anything previously experienced.

Post campaign adventure

 

 

 

 On our way back, we called our parents and said “Mission accomplished”. But something didn’t feel right, I wasn’t so sure about things working out. I wanted to be sure that this campaign worked.

I had been experimenting with Quora for a while and decided to write an answer about my day and within 48 hours of writing the answer, it had over 40,000 views, 4000 upvotes and was responsible for sending almost 1300 visitors to our website.

We broke even with our investment in the first 72 hours of the campaign going LIVE! I was on cloud 9. My Quora and Facebook feed was flooded with notifications of people congratulating us for the campaign.

DID IT PAY OFF? THE Numbers — Our Revenue, Customers, Artists

Let’s start with the breakdown of the costs incurred during this campaign. The numbers have been rounded off for easier understanding.

The following table includes some important stats from the cab campaign and the Quora answer combined, (since the Quora answer was a part of this).

Concluding notes and our learnings from the campaign


More than anything, this campaign has taught me a lot about life. I was humbled by the humility of the cab drivers to see how eager people are to help each other. 

This campaign and its success is dedicated to everyone involved in this. The cab drivers who welcomed us with open arms, the artists who worked extra hours to deliver art on time and Sanjay Nalamaru who spent his precious time working shoulder to shoulder with me on this campaign.

Yes, just 2 people pulled this entire campaign off in 40 brilliant hours. The best 40 hours of my life. This has taught me to dream big and do everything it takes to get there and make a milestone out of it.

I hope you found the campaign details and our story insightful. If you have questions, I’d be happy to answer them in the comments. 

We have planned some more off-beat marketing campaigns for Christmas and New Year. If you’re interested in knowing more, Please sign up here.

We are doing a major giveaway for Christmas and New Year where you could win some amazing handmade art crafted by our team of highly skilled artists. If you’re interested, Please follow this link.


 

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