Handmade terracotta davara set, The Postbox - Rs 449
You are both quite young and started this venture without having racked up a lot of work experience first. Do you think there is a right time in your life and career to start your dream company, or do you feel that it doesn't matter as long as you have a great idea? Why?
Nikhil: I'm 25 and counting! I’ve worked for three years on the Ads & Pages team at Facebook. My experience there helped more than I could imagine. Having had the experience of setting up two teams, one which, at the time I was present, was working globally out of our Hyderabad office, the importance of keeping in mind and tracking key metrics, revenue, product development, traction, talking to customers, setting up operations and more than anything else, moving fast, has played a vital role so far and will play a vital role going forward.
Experience does help, but at the end of the day you have to really just believe in your idea. I’ve had days when I’ve just sat in front of the white board, sketching out this entire dream, and another day when I’ve carried cardboard boxes of our first ever corporate order. You have to be ready to understand that when you build your dream, then whether you're packaging a box or whether you're working on your next product, what’s important is commitment and passion.
Madhu: There are two sides to this, and while one school might say age is just a number, the other school still believes that "there is a right age for everything." I was just a design school grad when we launched The Postbox last year in September. Most of all this was only possible because of the support system I had and continue to have. Experience will come irrespective. It's important to take the plunge and to be conscious of the fact that it was you who made that choice. And at the end of the day, it is belief above everything else.
The Postbox sells products bearing the work of talented young artists. Was it hard to approach and convince the artists to hand over their precious creations to you?
Nikhil: Of course it was. Neither of us had any sort of experience. I think what made this a whole lot easier was that we were a lot more approachable, we had ideas and processes already set in place and we also knew what exactly we wanted from them. When you give clarity to a person about what you are trying to get from them or why you want them to be part of your platform, it makes their work a lot easier.
Madhu: Heading the design team has been a revelation of sorts for me. Our artists are very young. People did hesitate. They didn't quite get how this could work. But the entire process of getting an artist on board, with a one-on-one every week dedicated to their own collection, eased them out and settled them in. Our main objective is to keep supporting them, help them reinvent their work constantly, and challenge them to step out of their comfort zones and explore.