Entrepreneur: Pooja Ganatra
Business Name: Kutch Culture
Welcome to Entrepreneurs of India #startupstories Episode 46
Pooja Ganatra is an engineer by profession. But her passion is art. When she blended the techniques of an engineer with the creativity of an artist, Kutch Culture happened!
Kutch Culture is a label for art and craft brand. Pooja’s idea was to come up with a global platform to Kutch, her hometown, and its art, where the idiosyncratic products from the core of Kutch will deliver at any corner of the world.
As an entrepreneur, Pooja is proud of being born in Kutch. Kutch Culture helps her return to her roots. It’s her means of keeping the heritage values intact. Let’s find out more about Kutch Culture as Pooja sits back and tells her story.
1) How did you get your idea for this business?
I am born and brought up in Kutch-The Art & Craft place, I am surrounded by Unique Artisans. I have done my graduation in IT Engineering. The luxury of a well-paid, stable job couldn’t restrain my passion to connect my roots.
My uncle and mentor Mr. Rajesh Thacker is the one who inspired me to take this huge step, and who has also given his support and guidance to uplift the Kutch Culture as well my parents who have supported me mentally by putting their trust and confidence.
I travelled to remote corners of the Kutch to feel, understand and experience the huge variety of block printing, weaving, dyeing, embroidery, painting, and mud work techniques practiced by different communities.
Inspired from the unique skills of various people especially women, I determined to promote Make in India concept & valued the true art skill of rural Artisans worldwide through Information Technology and make difference in Artisans Life. Combining my IT & Art skills I founded Kutch Culture-True essence of Art.
2) Why is “now” a good time for this idea to exist?
Handicraft of Kutch is a unique expression. As time flies and world became technological we need to maintain our heritage values.
One thing is certain, whether good or bad, people will always look for clothes, footwear and home decor articles. People of India and foreigners are crazy about handmade, artistic and traditional products.
But, because of distance and busy life style it’s difficult to get this products as they wish. In internet and technological era, Online Platform provides quick and easy shopping experience to customers, as well as artists will also be benefited and their art will get global exposer.
3) What was the reaction from your family when you first decided to become an entrepreneur?
When I represented this thought to my parents, I just saw trust in their eyes. That was everything for me and that trust became my strength. They have supported me mentally in each and every steps. My parents are the reason what I am today.
There were people also, who criticised this idea, the reason was, being an IT professional selling of clothes, footwear and home decor items seems lower category type business but they were not knowing that e-commerce and other technical subjects that I have learnt during Engineering were explored fully and helped me to develop this business at great extent.
With technological background and using my IT knowledge with passion, I could able to get a very good response from my clients. You don’t believe, some of the clients are my very good friends now.
4) What was your biggest mistake in business and what did you learn from it?
So far from starting I have not done any big mistake, as I believe that slow and steady win the race. I have taken all steps very carefully after discussion with my mentors and advisers.
As a human being, small mistakes will be always there but continuous learning process from mistakes will help me a lot to overcome these situations.
5) What is your biggest obstacle in the next 12 months and how will you overcome it?
In one way I would agree that Funding is problem to accelerate the business but on other side we Kutchi people, believe that business can not be sustained when you borrow fund on interest and particularly when you are new in the market with zero experience.
It also builds the pressure on owner/founder till business is stabilised. As, we don’t know the stabilisation period which varies from 1 to 5 years, depending on your product and market demand.
I believe in slow and steady wins the race which I have learned from the story of rabbit and tortoise during my childhood school days.
6) What habits contribute to your success?
I believe that success is a journey and not destination. In my journey of life, I always learn from various people, customers and situations. Learning gives me new insight, new thinking.
I feel success can’t be achieved fully & there is always a scope of for perfection. This helps me always to look for better next.
Another important thing for me is customer satisfaction, success is when you know someone is happy because of you and that is a wonderful feeling.
Through Kutch Culture we spread happiness to our artists as well as our customers and make win-win situation for all our stakeholders.
I take a step ahead on the path of success each time a customer is satisfied with our product. Positive thinking and determination towards goals helps a lot in this journey.
7) If you had the opportunity to start this business again what would you do differently?
As I said earlier, we are continuously learning from all our mistakes, I will use all these learning to do manage things in better, fast and easy way.
No but whatever I learn from my small mistakes I could do the same thing better, fast and easy.
8) What is your favourite inspirational quote?
Don’t get too caught up in making money or having a job, get excited about the fact that you can design your life. – Darren L Johnson
9) Where do you find inspiration?
My uncle and mentor Mr. Rajesh Thacker who has encouraged me to start my own business. I travelled to remote corners of the Kutch to feel, understand and experience the huge variety of handicraft and inspired from the unique skills of our artisans.
My clients who have continuously given their positive feedbacks about our products and services.
10) What is your favourite book?
- Alchemist– to achieve what we dream
- Who moved my Cheese– do not get devastated if you don’t get it
- Connecting the dots – because now or later u will get it
11) What advice would you give to someone starting out?
I would like to say that when idea clicks in your mind, take enough time for researching, reading and learning. Ups and downs are part of life, enjoy them to the max.
Always be ready for failure at initial stage because that is actual learning. Success is not an overnight type of deal.
It takes months, years, and most of the time decades to become great at something.
The biggest thing about becoming successful is that you have to give your efforts willingly, there is always more to learn and to become great at so be patient, be determined and be honest at work; these will lead you to the path of success.
Thank you Pooja for sharing your inspiring startup story. You have shown us how to realize ideas by making them as unique as possible. That’s how we can stand out from the rest.
The greatest specialty of India as a country is its extensive heritage. Pooja found an opportunity there. She just added that unique element of heritage to her products.
So just look around. You could probably find a cool startup idea that might actually work! But as Pooja advised, don’t be in a hurry when an idea clicks your head. Invest time in research and take each step carefully.
Connect with Kutch Culture on Facebook here.