How these artists broke away from their corporate jobs to build a sustainable business around caricatures
Reetesh Rao, Rajesh Acharya and Kotresh Chatriki are all artists at heart. Reetesh and Kotresh both hold a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree while Rajesh holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Painting. The three of them got into corporate jobs and chance brought them together at the Communication Design Group in Infosys, Bangalore. Here, they worked together for 6+ years as a team, individuals, a part of hi-delegates projects and also handled events. This experience made them understand each other, their individual capabilities, expertise and the value they brought in. Striving to break out and do something more, the trio decided to startup.
Rajesh had an expertise with making caricatures and they thought of starting up a venture which makes this art form more accessible. And thus was born Caricme which is an eCommerce store that delivers customized caricatures in various forms and on various materials. A user needs to place an order online by uploading a photo which needs to be converted into a caricature. The team at Caricme then makes a soft copy of the artwork for review post which the product is made and shipped.
It has been close to two years for Caricme and this small team of 4 is currently doing around 350 orders a month. Initial orders were through friends and colleagues, word-of-mouth, Facebook posts and since then, the traction has increased gradually. “We tied up with small online players where we started to get regular orders which gave us more confidence about our products. Then we started approaching big players like Amazon, Ferns n Petals, Snapdeal etc. We made good sales on these channels and this resulted in our own ecommerce platform and with all these we have developed a good 3000+ customer base,” says Reetesh.
Caricme does not want to be another gift marketplace. “The USP of our concept is that we even make a single personalized unit unlike in todays personalized market which is driven by quantities. We want to offer the most unique personalized products to our customers,” says Kotresh. Going after both B2C and B2B channels, Caricmemakes a good gifting option for occasions ranging from birthday souvenirs to corporate rewards & recognition, wedding anniversaries, etc. Some amount of research has gone into the manufacturing process to ensure a long life for the products. “We use the best of printing technology to make sure the artwork remains with the customers forever. The process we follow has ensured that we have less than 0.5% rejection rate ensuring high customer satisfaction,” says Kotresh.
Caricme is not drive by very big ambitions. The trio is doing it for the joy of doing something they like. In the future, they may get into building physical interactive spaces where people can come, sit with their design experts and get their gifts designed. But for now, the concentration is on making a one stop online shop for all character based products.