PAPIYA BHATTACHARJEE & PAPIYA’s LOOM STORY
It was during her days of graduation in social work that Papiya Bhattacharjee, born and brought up in a small town of Tripura, Dharmanagar, came across a number of rural and tribal problems, especially related with children. After graduation, she worked for an NGO, Childline India but had to move to Mumbai after her marriage. Here she joined a manufacturing company but when Covid-19 hit, the organisation was downsized and Papiya lost her job. To know how Papiya didn’t lose hope and turned into an entrepreneur, read on…
I was always passionate about authentic handloom/ handcrafted sarees and loved designing them though only for myself. That’s how I got in touch with a number of weavers across the country. During the pandemic when everything came to a standstill, the lives of the weavers were also in distress. It was then that many of them approached me to buy their products. As it wasn’t possible to buy all, I approached my friends and relatives. Surprisingly, I got a good response. As everyone appreciated the sarees they had purchased, I realised there is a huge demand for authentic handloom sarees and sources limited. That’s when I decided to start my own venture which helped me promote the age-old tradition of authentic Indian weaving along with my creativity in the national and international market and simultaneously helped the weavers.
Christening the brand
Apart from being a saree-seller, I want to exhibit the age-old Indian history, tradition and diversity to the world which these sarees speak about and every saree has a story related with it. That’s how I named my brand Papiya’s Loom Story.
Key driving force
My husband and my passion for promoting handloom products.
It is still in a nascent stage so I manage it from my savings.
Building a successful customer base
I believe social media is the best platform to promote authentic products. I found a sizeable number of customers through social media platforms. Moreover, the quality of my products helped me satisfy the buyers which, in turn, helped me expand the customer base.
I believe social media marking is the most effective way to market small businesses.
I sit and concentrate. Sometimes, I consult my husband, a marketing and PR professional.
I plan to promote these products in international market through a website and e-commerce portals. Further, I plan to hold exhibitions and do brand tie-ups.
Mistakes to avoid
As I’m new to the business, accounting was a problem to begin with. Initially, I was unable to calculate the right additional costing which affected profit margins. It was after sometime that I realised it and now I’m a pro at it.
Learnings from failures
I faced many failures. During the festive season, I expected a good sale and was conducting promotional activities accordingly but didn’t get the expected outcome due to the pandemic. I learnt that I need to keep my ears close to the market to hear every pulse of it.
The skill and dedication of the weavers motivate me every day.
Formula to become a successful entrepreneur
I believe successful entrepreneurs create their own formulae to become successful.
Entrepreneurship affecting family life
I trying to balance my professional and personal life. Luckily, I’ve a supportive family where everyone helps me balance both.
– Saurabh Tankha