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Name: Dipti Jana

Business: Kalavithi Art Ventures Pvt Ltd

Location: Pune, India

Industry: Arts & Entertainment

Reason for starting? 1. Conserve Indian Ethnic Art Forms – Due to rapid urbanization, the rich cultural heritage of certain art forms are slowly vanishing. Artists are forced to take up alternate means of livelihood, as they are unable to sustain their life only by creation of art. Although there are support schemes from governments of all states to encourage folk art, support from private and corporate sector would speed and scale up process.
2. Easy access to Ethnic Art for Art Patrons – With changed lifestyle and rapid urbanization, time has become the prime commodity. Even if people love folk arts, they find it difficult and uninviting to wade through traffic and parking problems to go and shop for art.
3. Eliminate location dependence of Art Form availability and to popularize lesser known art forms – Access to folk art form is usually restricted to the location, and it is difficult to find genuine art of one state in another state. Kalavithi is accessible and ships worldwide.

Related: Read about another arts entrepreneur here.

How do you define success? The venture will be successful the day all the artists in our panel (and we are constantly growing our panel!) can stop marketing themselves and spend their time only in the creation of art! This would mean we have created a pipeline for them to get a sense of security. Another important benchmark for success is that Kalavithi becomes the first go-to name for Folk Arts!

Biggest success: The biggest is yet to come, but there have been many fulfilling moments – people getting amazed to know about the art creation process, involving all natural ingredients; uncovering of art forms like Cheriyal Scrolls, Mata Ni Pachedi and Tikuli Art, which are unheard of, in most parts of India; convincing a Tibetan Thangka Master Artist to showcase some of his works for our Art Patrons; and many more. Commercially, the biggest success till date is the tie up for corporate gifting with some well known names, and tie ups with interior designers for their decor needs.

What is your top challenge and how you have addressed it? I prefer to look at them as opportunities- the gates I have to open for learning and for growth. The biggest challenge for entrepreneurship was to change the mindset from the security of a steady monthly income graph to a dotted line of income, spaced by initially long duration of only inputs. It took a lot of courage, and multiple rounds of verification that we would be able to sustain for the period that we start getting returns from the business. Our model, being that of paying upfront to the artist and absorbing the inventory cost, upped the risk. But the basic objective of encouraging the artist can be met by this model alone, so we went ahead.

The biggest challenge in the ongoing business is to create the brand identity in the market. This is done through personal contacts, social media, exhibits, and promotions. This is an ongoing challenge, and the strategies need to change from to time to time, to meet this one.

Related: Marketing Strategies for Creative Businesses 

Who is your most important role model? In my immediate world, my elder sister Priti! Although she has never run a formal venture of her own or become a big name, she has given me several lessons in entrepreneurship, without even realizing it. Her ways with people taught me to treat everyone with dignity, people being the most important pillars of any organization. Her zeal to learn new things, going out of the comfort zone regularly and achieving a new milestone personifies the concept of continuous learning. Her readiness to be there for people and do things for them taught me about value adds and customer delight. Above all, she is an artist, and has instilled a deep sense of appreciation of arts and artists, which was the trigger for this venture.

Outside, I have a deep respect for Ratan Tata – It is next to impossible to build such a big and diverse business empire without compromising on the basic values which one stands for, and to percolate those values in such a big organization. There are many more in the list!

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Edited by The Story Exchange