The Brainy Brat Story - 19yr Old Entrepreneur Striving To Empower Tribal CraftsmenTeam YS
Based in Jamshedpur andNew Delhi, The Brainy Brat is the brain child of a 19 year old college student, who wanted to get the tribal craftsmen the right value for their products. With operations taking place from Jamshedpur, The Brainy Brat offers lucrative home decor products that are 'must-have's in our busy lifestyle.In conversation with Abhilasha Dafria for YourStory.in, founder Vishal Agrawal, tells us how his venture engages with crafts and skill based small scale producers to build their entrepreneurial competencies while the customers indulge in luxury right at their doorsteps!
Vishal, please introduce yourself and your venture to our readers.
I am ‘Vishal Agrawal’. I hail from a ‘Marwari’ family and business is in my blood. I am currently pursuing my bachelor’s degree in Arts fromDelhiUniversity. I am in my first year of college and 19years old.
Jamshedpur (SteelCity) is my hometown and I reside inDelhi. I live for two things - Entrepreneurship and Food. In fact, I’m a part-time student and full time die-hard entrepreneur. The immense passion for entrepreneurship and zeal to bring a change in society led to the starting up of The Brainy Brat. My start up basically focuses on the tribal craftsmen of Jharkhand.
My dad, Mr. Sunil Agrawal, is a well known face amongst the Electrical traders and ‘Singhbhum Chamber of Commerce and Industry’ in Jharkhand. He is my mentor, my guru. He’s someone who is admired by everyone for his business style and the business acumen he posses.
What are the products currently offered by Brainy Brat?
The products we have in our business verticals include concept furnishing, handmade home décor, cushions made from recycled products and bed sheet and pillows.
Where are the manufacturers based? What are the typical margins they work on?
The manufactures are tribal people of Jharkhand. Since there is immense potential for Indian handicraft products, but due to being unorganised, the workers in this sector are exploited. We work on wafer-thin margins and believe to create an avenue of these craftsmen so that they get the right value of their products. Our profit is less than 5%.
Could you tell us a little about your tie-ups?
Currently we don’t have any tie-ups with any organization/NGOs; we are always interested in having hands with reputed firms.
What is your market size? Can you share with us some interesting trends about the market that you are trying to capture?
Presently, we’re selling it to the people of Jamshedpur and planning to venture more in mid 2012. But for now, our market share is small.
Over the past few years, the demand for handicraft products has risen exorbitantly. With rising income, people prefer more ‘handmade’ and ‘vintage’ products to add glory to their lifestyle. So I believe that my start up will be a platform for both the local craftsmen and potential customers where they can satisfy their needs.
So how did you come up with this idea and the name?Brainy = Intelligent, Brat = Mischievous Fellow. Hence: ‘The Brainy Brat’
I live for two things - Entrepreneurship and Food. In fact, I’m probably the biggest foodie you’ll ever meet.
The idea popped up in my mind when I was shopping for some flower-vase with my mother. I saw few customers bargaining with the potters so heavily, but for battling poverty the potter agreed their offer. That led me think hard and I thought I must create an avenue for them so that they can get the right value of their products and can sustain their livelihood.
This led to the start of The Brainy Brat.
What were the challenges you faced while starting up? Tell me about your initial hurdles.
The challenge was to convince tribal craftsmen to work for us. Winning the trust of the craftsmen was the major hurdle we came across. Initially, they thought that they are being fooled.
Since when are you operational? How big is your team? Are you looking at hiring?
We’re operational since May 2011. It’s a one man army. Right now I have not thought of hiring people, but will definitely do in near future.
How do your customers reach out to you? When do you plan to start your own stores?
We don’t have any e-commerce store. The site will be launched by first week of February, 2012. We have a Facebook fan page for now. We’ll open an e-commerce store and if the response is good, we’ll surely open the physical stores.
Did you fund-raise to start up? If not, are you looking at getting funded now?
I started from personal savings of rupees 20,000. We’re boot-strapping. Presently, we’re not looking for VCs funding.
Are there other players in the market doing similar things? What is your USP?
As they say, No space on this Earth is empty. There are lots of players in the market doing the same thing. What differentiates me with them is - I personally answer my clients and also on the Facebook page I have mentioned my personal number.
Where and how do you see yourself going ‘bout this? Making it bigger? What are your expansion plans?
Well, I’m in talks with my college friends regarding my start up. And after the launch of our website we’ll go wild. Regarding the expansion plans, I believe, in short term planning because as we move on, we know things better, new ideas pour in, change comes in. Each Entrepreneur will have its own book written, no matter how many pages it has!
For more information please visit The Brainy Brat
- Abhilasha Dafria