An advertising course, three disinterested students, one back bench in a classroom. Hardly the signs of a slowly but steadily rising advertising agency serving the likes of pharma major Glenmark Pharmaceuticals. But that is exactly the story of the beginning of Idea Hub, a full service advertising agency founded by Yashi Desai, Dipti Doshi and Frenny Shah, friends and classmates from their ‘Graduation in Mass Media’ days.Shares Yashi, an advanced 3D animation expert, of their beginnings, “We were never the bright ones in class, indeed the back benches were reserved for us! Although noone said anything, the general feeling was that the three of us would get nowhere and end up doing nothing in life. That was till Idea Hub actually happened, of course.”
In their own words, although they were they under-performers, it was because they did not think of academic performance as important to further their inherent interest in creative pursuits. The same streak also let them know early on, indeed ‘from the day we first entered the world of advertising as students’ that they wanted to run thier own agency.But why not just work for an exisiting advertising firm, given that there are so many of them out there doing good work?
“Most of the existing bunch of agencies lack in some respect or the other in that they either don’t offer all services under one roof and if they do, they charge exhorbitant fees from their clients. What makes us different is that we cater to every the need of our client from ‘What you name it’ to ‘How you sell it’, all at the best rates without compromising on quality.” pitches in Dipti who is currently pursuing her Masters in Communication and Journalism from Mumbai University. But wasn’t it difficult for three young girls to convince clients?
“Of course there was a lot of struggle involved. It did not come easy and we made a number of pitches before the first one finally converted. Than there was the challenge of hiring. Since we are a self funded start-up, we couldn’t hire people and instead worked with freelancers – from designers to the production and animation team. Its only now, a year after being in existence that we’re looking to move to a bigger place and hire new employees which also means being able to take on more work and work with more clients.”
An achievement indeed given that the three started with a total modest investment of Rs. 15,000, taken as a loan from their respective parents. The fact that they have managed to make back that amount and much more as profits adds to their credibility. But not everything has been as smooth sailing. Especially when one considers the fact that all three had worked at a firm before and were drawing ‘steady paychecks’ before they decided to give in to their need for something more ‘adventurous and flexible’. Wasn’t there apprehension or opposition from family? “We were lucky because our families supported us, something that not everyone can say. The only obstacle there was the usual restrictions girls face as opposed to males when we couldn’t fix meetings too late into the evenings etc. The bigger challenge was overcoming our own fears and frustrations. There were weeks when there was no money or work and this began slowing us down. It hits you even more when you see all your friends surging ahead in stable careers and you start having those moments of self-doubt. Yet we knew we just needed to be patient and wait for things to start working out. And they did!” shares a visibly proud Yashi.
As of now, the trio is focussed on expanding their portfolio. From services to clients. They realise that recognition will come slowly but that it will come surely. It is in these moments of doubt that they recall the moment that they signed their legal documents bringing into existence their own company and giving it its own identity and it is through each other that they draw their strengths. The same pride is also reflected in the importance they place in the legalties through the advice they dole out “Make sure you have everything perfect when it comes to legal formalities. It will help your firm grow faster. Always be fair when it comes to legal matters. For everything else, work hard, have fun, dream big and make sure they come true. We get one chance to live our dreams and if you are going to play this game then make sure you play to win.”