Story 20: Think Pink
When the pink slip came via email, Swati was actually relieved. Everyone knew the company that she worked for was screwed by Covid. I mean, with Work From Home suddenly becoming the thing, who the hell was going to buy formal wear and office clothes? It seemed ages ago, when one actually ironed clothes… or even wore a bra.
“So what’s the plan, now, behna?” asked her flatmates, Pragati and Niyati. There was no plan.
For the first week, Swati just slept, binged on Netflix, and slept some more. After completing all episodes of Miss Phryne Fishers’s Murder Mysteries, both seasons of Four More Shots Please and Panchayat, she’d finally had enough. Or, well, the broadband quota for the month was exhausted and her flatmates were really really mad.
So, Swati turned her attention to the kitchen. Somene was posting all kinds of yummy-looking cupcakes and breads on the NIFT WA group. Chalo, try karte hain. After a few trial and error cakes (which were either too hard or completely flat), a perfect vanilla sponge was finally produced. With chocolate frosting. All was forgiven by flatmates.
Now this hobby may have carried Swati through the lockdown, except that she ran out of baking powder. And baking soda, and yeast. What’s more all these items were ‘out of stock’ on Big Basket, Nature’s Basket, even Amazon! Well, Pragati and Niyati were kind of relieved. What with no exercise, and too many cravings… acchha hi hua.
“Why don’t you start something of your own,” they suggested. And Swati did have an idea…
When she shared it, the flatmates lit up. Fantastic, we would definitely buy this product! But Swati had no clue ‘how to go about it’. Until Niyati, an industrial engineer, came up with the plan. Using her knowledge of CAD/ CAM, she could surely design a prototype. Which they could get 3-D printed…
The trouble was getting specifications to design the damn thing. That’s where Pragati stepped in with a solution. We collect data online – from folks we know – and I use it to design an algorithm. What is an underworked computer engineer for, anyway. It all came together, like it was destiny. Though it took way longer, than they had thought…
But when the prototype did arrive by ‘WeFast’ courier, there was a collective whoop of joy. This was exactly the product the world needed, post-lockdown. Now all they needed, was money. To go into production. Pragati asked her IIT classmate – who was now an ISB graduate – for advice. After all, Dipti worked for a well-known venture capital firm…
Sounds interesting but hardly the kind of idea that gets funded, was her truthful response.
“But hey, I’d like to buy one,” said Dipti. “Why don’t you start a crowd-funding campaign?”
That evening, the 3 musketeers – as they now called themselves – listed the product on Kickstarter. They described it as a revolutionary offering which would change everyday lives. Help its users defy limitations, defy norms. Even defy gravity. All they needed was Rs 6 lakh, to manufacture the first lot of 200… would you like to be one of our first customers?
24 hours later they had raised Rs 5 lakh. By the next day, it was 8 lakh. Whoopeeee, we are in business!
Who knew that a team of 3 locked-out women could put their heads together and create something which made a real and tangible difference?
Who knows what else is possible…
Reported by ET Now, 6 months later
A startup led by 3 women has just received funding from Pixel partners, of an undisclosed amount. Their product ‘Perfecto’ (TM), the bra that fits just right, has been receiving rave reviews online.
“There has been little or no innovation in this industry for the last 100 years,” said Latha Shastri, senior partner at Pixel and an early adopter.
The company’s motto: ‘Designed by Humans with Boobs for Humans with Boobs’.
May they continue to defy gravity and society, for years to come.