Startup Story #9: Pune’s Powerpuff Girls

L to R : Shreya Chandorkar , Ankita Kadam , Rachana Shah - Photograph by Sanket Wankhade

A story in Time magazine, published in May 2013 describes millennials in harsh light but backed with data and statistics. Titled ‘Millennials: The Me Me Me Generation’, it states that “millennials are narcissistic and lazy”. It concludes with, “Whether you think millennials are the new greatest generation of optimistic entrepreneurs or a group of 80 million people about to implode in a dwarf star of tears when their expectations are unmet depends largely on how you view change.” Well, three fresh graduates from Pune believe in the former. Shreya Chandorkar, Ankita Kadam and Rachna Shah who recently graduated from the Maharashtra Institute of Technology (MIT), Design felt that “any idea can be sold better, but we don’t get the chance to sell it as freshers”. Thus, they decided to create their own chance by setting up their own graphic design studio called Out And Out Design.

“Being college roommates, Rachna, Ankita and I had our minds set towards getting out of college, applying for a job and getting started with ‘life’. We would often joke about dropping out of college and just starting something on our own but the conversation would just be a temporary mood-lifter,” reminisces Chandorkar. Like every college graduate, the struggle to find the perfect placement left them weary as well. “We kept thinking that we didn’t want to enter the corporate world. Being designers we felt that any place we work at would curb our freedom as big organisations already have fixed teams in place,” says Chandorkar as the other two entrepreneurs nod in agreement. With little or no knowledge about startups, these three young women were adamant about their decision which drove them to successfully setting up their venture on August 4 of this year. After a certain amount of convincing, their parents were on board, but also made them aware of the nittygritty of setting up a startup. “Initially we thought all we need is a laptop and wifi, but our parents made us realise that we would need a space to work, an accountant and other essential things. We finally managed to work out the logistics with the support of our parents as well as consulting our seniors who have been in the field,” explains Shah. Thus started Out And Out Design that specialises in all graphic design related work like branding, brand extensions, website design, brochures and leaflets, illustrations, space graphics and the likes.

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Building their database through personal social contacts, the budding entrepreneurs have a clientele consisting of Goldstar Polymers (Mumbai), IKE Electric, Kesari Tours, The Big Chill Bar (Pune), Siddh Auto and a few wall art projects. Nonetheless, constructing their own brand has come with its own set of stumbling blocks; “Almost 80 per cent of our batch had been placed, our parents warned us as well that probably getting a job would be a more secure option. But we realised that starting out young we had nothing to lose and after building a strong foundation during our internships, we were sure we would learn whatever we need to on the job, which a lot of people told us was the best way,” says Kadam. Adding to this, Shah continues, “So often when we go for client meetings, we are not taken seriously because of our age. But then our work speaks for itself.”  Also, starting off in Pune came with its own perks. Being a small city, word-of-mouth advertising worked well for the trio.

From brainstorming about their company name to finalising the budget for their first client, these emerging businesswomen have a long way to go, but they promise it will soon be a known brand with the kind of hard work they aim to put in. With the evident clarity and confidence they possess, their long-term goals have been set. “After filtering our research, we realised there are limited design firms in Pune and many focus more on marketing and less on design. We want to change that perspective of how brand identity is viewed. We want people to see the value in our profession and how essential brand recall is. Also, our main goal is to specialise in food and beverages (F&B),” explain the girls in unison.

Zeenat Tinwala

Zeenat Tinwala

She’s our Employee #1 and is often the first to come in and last to leave office. And she’s an accomplished kickboxer. Stay clear! zeenat@pune365.com
Zeenat Tinwala

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