Finding your foot as an entrepreneur is tough, though things are better in today’s connected world. We have written about many entrepreneurs who have started up with an idea of their own, their struggles and travails to reach where they are today. However, there is an equally large, if not larger number of entrepreneurs, who have become self-employed on the back of corporate support. Large corporates have since a long time worked with entrepreneurs and have helped them be independent and rewarded them for doing so. In this multi-part series, we will highlight how corporates and entrepreneurs have been collaborating in a way that has been mutually beneficial to both.
First in the series is the work done by Fevicryl of Pidilite Industries.
Pidilite Industries’ Fevicol brand is a well-known leader in adhesive, sealants, paint chemicals and more. Some of the well-known brands from its stable are Fevicol, Fevistik, Rangeela, Colstar, M-seal and Fevicryl Hobby Ideas colour range. The Fevicryl range has numerous products to be used for art and crafts and is very popular among all practitioners of craft. Fevicryl has been working with women who have a passion for art and have helped convert quite a few of them into successful professionals. Many of these women had given up their careers to take care of family, and in some cases women had to let go of their other careers to take up art and craft for the love of it.
Rahul Sinha, President- sales & marketing - Arts, Stationery and Fabrics division, Pidilite Industries says they identified hobby enthusiasts running hobby centres as potential partner, because they were key influencers within the region. These enthusiasts were given training via the Teacher Training course (TTC) of Fevicryl, which in turn helped participants convert their hobbies into a proper profession. Pidilite entered the art & craft material market in late 1980s and Fevicryl Hobby Ideas was launched in 2002, when the company realizing the need for adopting more focused approach towards the art & craft hobby market.
While he doesn’t disclose numbers, Rahul says the Fevicryl brand has grown from strength to strength over years. Partnership with women entrepreneurs happened as Fevicryl’s promotional activities grew more complex. “We identified the need to device a method that ensured high quality assistance be made available to hobbyists participating in our workshops,” he explains. They embarked upon a journey to train art inclined people who were willing to learn art & craft, run their own business of hobby classes, as well as help Fevicryl conduct their promotional. “We trained these individuals and provided them branded certificates which helped them present their credentials more effectively to potential students,” explains Rahul.
People who trained and subsequently helped increase Fevicryl brand awareness, still provide continued feedback to the brand, which acts as an important tool to make amends to their certification programme. Besides teacher courses, Fevicryl now has advanced courses that can be used by these hobbyists. Talking about the value of these associates, Rahul says they are valuable as they ensure quality in Fevicryl’s promotional endevours and thereby strengthen the brand’s experience that the target consumers associate with. Fevicryl’s network is today spread across the country and has few thousand women as part of it. These hobbyists partner Fevicryl to spread awareness about their products, in turn get leads to conduct hobby classes and in the process earn income.
Avneet from Ludhiana loved painting salwar suits as a hobby, but since partnering with Fevicryl she has converted that into her full fledged business. Once alone, she now has a team of 20-30 karigars and manufactures over 100 suits daily and supplies in Ludhiana wholesale market and nearby towns. Rajashree Nedungadi from Mumbai (read her interview below) got married early and had two kids in quick succession. As a result she could not pursue a professional life. However her childhood fascination for art and craft quickly became the perfect creative release she needed. What started as a hobby gradually metamorphosed into a potential career, doing what she enjoyed the most. Thus art became the filler for the time between children going to school and returning in the evening. Today Rajashree is well-known in professional art and craft circles and her reputation of being a complete professional precedes her. Her credentials include art therapy sessions for leading corporate houses, art and craft training in leading schools, professional institutes and as art judge for competitions, among other things. Rajashree has also authored a book on Pichwai paintings, an art form from Rajasthan and published numerous articles for popular publications.
Mandeep Rooprai started her career as a corporate trainer, but when that could not sustain her interest for long, she decided to take her interest in art and craft forward. She started a small hobby centre at her place and subsequently took training at Fevicryl Hobby Ideas Teacher training course. Now, 5 years later, she is a well established trainer and teacher.
Rajashree’s association with Pidilite Industries began in 2004 when she was organizing an art-based event for Hiranandani Foundation School in Mumbai. She says Hobby Ideas has made a remarkable amount of difference in her life as an entrepreneur, because of the constant challenges it offers her – either through the new products or learnings. “Being in contact with Pidilite teachers helps give me exposure to new and different creative process, strategy and the ability to reinvent my creativity according to needs of a client,” says Rajashree.
Fevicryl has helped grow Rajashree’s income substantially and today she also has a team who assists her when she conducts bigger workshops or handles large corporate orders. “Pidilite has given me an insight into the scope that hobby has in today’s world -- be it school, colleges or the corporate world, articles for magazines and so on,” she explains. Advertising in local online website and Just Dial has been her preferred mode and Rajashree says she has not made any personal sacrifices either. “The biggest advantage is the ability to balance personal and professional work, and getting paid to do what I enjoy.” However, the bigger challenge has been in convincing people that hobby is a serious business today, which can provide money, name, fame and recognition.