I want my tombstone to have these words (in a nice font) “Here lies the stationery queen of India.” Yeah I know…that is such a cheesy line! And when I was working in advertising, I’d never ever dreamt of being an entrepreneur, let alone have such high aspirations.
So the move from advertising happened in 2008. Ironically, I was on the client servicing side and although Ogilvy Mumbai was so much fun to work at, the job was extremely limiting for me. I was a self-taught designer, was excellent at client management and was a decent enough copywriter too! A friend offered me a position of client management head in his little brand management outfit, and I jumped at the opportunity, and pretty much handled my clients independently. It lasted for close to 2.5 years, and although it was the hardest I’d ever worked (from home, in my PJs!!), that experience was the building block for the way Cupik Design is managed today.
I always say I’m an accidental entrepreneur. I was content being that freelance marketing consultant and graphic designer all rolled in one. And then…my little girl happened, and then she started preschool! That meant everything from her bag to her water bottle and her snack box and her teddy and her little pink teacup (that she took to school for 2 hours one day) needed to be LABELLED with her name. Now my little girl can’t be having her name scrawled on ugly white labels. No ma’am! We needed something classier, and we couldn’t find it ANYWHERE! And hence, Cupik Design was born.
What began as a personal fascination for stickers and stationery has grown faster than expected!! Today at Cupik Design, we specialise in creating premium personalised stationery and gifts for kids and grown-ups. We offer a whole range of cool personalized stuff like stickers and labels, all kinds of gift wrapping products, notebooks, sketch books, bag tags, bookmarks, list pads, planners, phone cases and a whole lot more!
What makes us TICK
I’ve been asked this so many times that I’m forced to think about it. Ummm…I’d put it down to 5 things:
Passion and dedication towards the work. But that’s just the thing. It’s not ‘work’ when you’re so consumed by it. The designs don’t let me sleep at night if they’re floating around in my head and not down in my computer as a design file. So then you will find me at 3am designing away (and then of course you will also find me looking like a scarecrow at 8 am when I’m taking my 5 year old to school).
Quality Quality Quality! Quality of design, quality of the product, quality of service and quality of interaction. Since day one, even when we sold only through a Facebook page and emails, the focus has been on reducing interaction time with customers per transaction and quick turnaround time.
Focus! It’s easy to get lost in this whole wave of personalization. There are people making all kinds of personalized products today (personalized Holi pichkari, anyone?). But I wanted to stick to offering personalization to make your life easier, not to make you egoistic.
An amazing mentor! She wouldn’t like to be named, but my mentor is this amazing person who guides me, goads me, yells at me and inspires me to do my best every step of the way. And we’ve never even met in the real world (I love technology!)
A fabulous support system and team! My family only keeps raising the bar as Cupik Design grows. They inspire me to keep looking ahead, keep innovating, keep expanding while they hold fort in the background. Did I mention my mother is head of quality control and vendor management?
The challenges have been MANY along the way. Starting with finding the right vendors who maintain quality and are ok to do short run printing. The first time I told a printer I wanted 3 sticker sheets with 3 different names, and a set of just 25 envelopes for a client, he looked at me like I was mad. It’s taken a long time to find the right partners for everything, and I almost gave up twice! Today we have 35 different product lines at Cupik Design, so you can understand where all my hair has gone! Hahah!
The other big challenge has been to curb copying of our products and designs. There are people who blatantly copy even our Facebook posts. Hate to take stringent steps, but the only way this is dealt with is by taking legal action, and we’ve done that in a couple of cases. Imitation is NOT the best form of flattery when you’ve painstakingly created something original with your own hands at two in the morning.
Gazing into the future…
More products, more ways to make the lives of moms and kids easier! It’s not going to be easy to be the Stationery Queen of India, but I will get there someday! At least my clients think so, and that itself is amazingly rewarding.
Owner and Chief Designer, Cupik Design Personalised Stationery
Linkedin: Sheetal Goel