This Entrepreneurial Story is about Devika Arora who Founded ‘Char So Bees’ located in Calcutta, India.
About – Devika Arora is a 23 year old with a B.Sc in Entertainment Business from Full Sail University, Orlando, Florida.
When Started: Oct 2011
What motivated you to start your Business?
A deep need for a performing arts and design platform in Calcutta, India. There is so much talent available but no events or infrastructure created to showcase it! Our aim is to promote new and upcoming talent in the fields of music, art, design, retail and more.
Tell us about your Business
420’s motive is to showcase Calcutta’s amazing talent to the world. We want to bring together artists and designers from various backgrounds, and put them together to form one of India’s biggest social experiments From music to shopping, stand up comedy to dance crews, yummy food to handicrafts, you name it – we’ve probably experimented with it. At every bi monthly flea market event, we host a new theme on a grassy rooftop that serves as our gorgeous venue – from 420 pm to midnight. We make sure everything is brand new, for a fresh new experience at every scene.
What is a Day in a life of you like?
From talent management, marketing, flea market stall co-ordination to finance and promotions – event planning is definitely an all round activity. Not only do you have to wear multiple hats, but you have to keep shuffling them at various points of the day. So many things are not in our control, like the weather and someone falling ill – so your mental abilities and emotions are constantly tested by unexpected challenges. Expect lots of adrenaline, phone calls and a very satisfying wrap up party!
One particular skill you got right and gave you best results.
The skill of transformation. 420 started with a big idea in a small bedroom with barely any funding so I’d definitely say that I wouldn’t be able to here without my ability to use my imagination and make the best of what I’ve got – to push the envelope from good to WOW and from boring to BOOM!
What have been your biggest challenges in running your Business so far?
Money is always an issue, but more importantly having the right team members can determine how high you fly. I’d say human resources has been a huge challenge, especially in a city where the work style is so laid back.
How did you overcome these challenges?
By never giving up. Every time something went wrong, instead of pressing the panic button you need to hold it together and find a new solution. The best business people are those that stay calm and constantly re-invent and find new routes to old destinations.
What have you found the most effective way to get new clients?
Social media and honesty. A client is a human being at the end of the day, so if you emotionally connect with them and create a basis of trust there is nothing you cant accomplish. Talk to them the way you’d talk to a close friend. Without ego, without greed – plain hard facts. This will bring the right consumer to your doorstep as well.
What advice do you give to other business owners?
No matter what, keep it real. Remember that a business is a collection of humans and there is nothing to be afraid of, except fear itself. Evaluate your surroundings; make decisions based on the psychology and need of the audience around you. The same plan wont work in 2 different places because states of mind alter everywhere.
How did you keep motivated through difficult times?
Friends always come to the rescue at the end of the day. Also, there is nothing like a 15 minute quick meditation break. Surround yourself with positive messages and play your favorite song. Keep your energy up by staying happy!
What are your Marketing, Funding and Team Building Strategy?
Our marketing strategy is completely online – we exist completely online and have grown due to solidarity and word of mouth. Funding has been not for profit and cyclic in nature – which means that whatever money we make goes back into the 420 kitty for expenditures at the next event. Team building goes a long way by constantly staying in touch, helping each other out and working with like minded people. Negativity can ruin everything so make sure to keep your team happy and content.
We are proud to be India’s one and only rooftop flea market event series. Also, we are Calcutta’s largest performing arts collective. With an incredible footfall growth from 500 people at our first event (AUG 2011) to 2000 people at our most recent one (DEC 2012), 420 has expanded from a small flea market to a full blown organization that now supports the arts in every sphere. We have been covered by Times of India, Bengal Post, Music Unplugged, Telegraph, various start up magazines and e-portals.
But more importantly, we are proud to have given a platform to over 100 musicians, artists, comedians, writers, photographers, designers, dancers, dramatists, poets and retailers. The journey has just begun.
Whats your favorite quote?
“You must have chaos within you to give birth to a dancing star”
Who inspires you?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and My Mother.
Do you have a Business Philosophy?
Play it smart.
Startup Freak wishes Devika, All the Best!