Every entrepreneurial journey starts somewhere. For Madhumita Ganguly Arolker the journey started in December 2014 after she attained motherhood. Her love affair for art and craft gave birth to CheerKart, a place where art lovers get connected to artisans for purchasing their artworks. Before launching CheerKart, Madhumita spent 10 years in the corporate sector. She says, “My love for art and craft got into me to be the corporate rather than being with the corporate.” Today, in this session, we have Madhumita with us to share her entrepreneurial story with our readers.
Hi Madhumita, glad to have you with us in this session at conflatingVisions. Requesting you to tell a few lines about you.
I am a Hotel management graduate with more than 10 years of corporate work experience in the Hospitality and BPO industry. Working in reputed MNCs I gained a lot of real time experiences which is impossible to garner by just reading about them. I was born in Jamshedpur and partly brought up in Chakradharpur, a small town in Jharkhand. I currently live in Goa with my family. I am the mother to a 5 year old child and besides working I enjoy spending time with my family and my little boy.
Why did you choose to start your own venture after a long time association with the corporate sector?
I was always adventurous since my childhood. Despite been brought up in a very small town with a conservative society, I chose an unconventional career path. But my endeavour brought me some unique exposure and associations which would not have been possible had I chosen a traditional career model. My fairly long stint in the corporate sector enhanced my craze for trying out new things. But growing responsibilities and job pressure somehow kept me away from taking the next step. Once I stepped into motherhood, I got the required break from my mundane activities. It is then when my dormant craze got reignited. I decided to turn my hobby into work. My love for art and craft got into me to be the corporate rather than being with the corporate.
Please tell us about CheerKart. What is its working model?
CheerKart.com is a brand dedicated to taking the Indian hand-crafted products to every nook and corner of the world. The team at CheerKart believes that every region in India has a story to tell in the form of its art and culture and likewise every form of Indian Art has an ancestry that it clearly depicts. Created with a vision to garner appreciation for the Indian artisans, the team at CheerKart wanders around the country and curates these beautiful products that span across wall hangings, murals, artifacts, ethnic wear and many more.
How do you connect with the artisans?
It’s a two way communication. Following mediums are available:
- We trace the artisans through different manufacturers who are online or other market places. This is our biggest source as we follow a no-inventory model.
- We also keep looking for artisans based on information received from word of mouth and local ads. We then personally visit them and collect any unique art forms, if available.
- We are also present in different market places. Manufacturers do find us and contact us for collaboration.
How do you convince them to sell their artworks using your medium?
Convincing artisans is not difficult as we give due worth of the goods keeping our profit margin low. Thus they are ensured that, while their own margins are not compromised, customers get a good value for money as well.
How much investment went into CheerKart so far? What were their sources?
We have invested about 4 Lakhs INR and it is all self funded.
What makes you different from your competitors?
We do not think too much about competition. We believe the market is a big blue ocean where there is room for everyone as long as the model is based on honesty and hard work. Our priniciple is to discover and popularise Indian art, and make it available to the common man. While we intend to make profit but not overlooking the profits of the artisans and the buyers. Our model is to create a win-win situation for all stakeholders.
How do you build a successful customer base?
Since we are bootstrapping ourselves, the marketing segment is not too aggressive at the moment. But even with limited SEO and social media campaigns, we are seeing a good response. The likes and feedback we receive are quite encouraging. We make all efforts to be first time by providing quality checked products so that repeat customers are automatically created.
What has been your most satisfying moment in your journey as an entrepreneur so far?
Every moment, every day is very satisfying to me. CheerKart.com is like my second baby. Every morning when I see it up and running, gives me a deep satisfaction. I feel like a value provider, capable of bringing cheers to some one’s life. Every product I add there makes me feel like adding more life into it. However the most memorable day would be the one when I got my first order. It made me feel that I am no less than the giants we have in this industry.
Madhumita, tell us about your future plans with CheerKart.
Our goal is to be a one stop shop for Indian art and craft. We as a team believe that there is a huge potential in this field and that a large part of it is diminishing due to the lack of sufficient support and infrastructure. This is where we want to step in and provide the much needed oxygen for not only its survival but also to showcase them on a larger platform.
Excluding yours, which company do you admire the most?
Each and every one. I can relate the pain, sacrifice and patience that goes into the making of a company. Whether it is big or small, booming or declining; the life cycle is more or less similar for all. Every company has successfully, or at least attempted to, improved the quality of life by providing some form of service. If I admire one and not admire the other it will be like undermining human spirit in trying out something new and bigger.
And, one last question Madhumita, if you have had one wish…
I wish one day CheerKart becomes an artisan’s hub and is able to give the due recognition to all the unrecognized talents in India by sponsoring them to nurture their creative skills. I also wish that I could connect my next life to this one so that I could continue on my work started here. Wish some entrepreneur works in this direction too.