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Design-preneur What business model do you practice? NJ: It is quite simple - we help talented artists and designers to reach out to a global audience. We display and sell their products on www.ofindianorigin. and concentrate on marketing and promoting the products - leaving the artists and designers to do what they do best, create! Customers can safely and easily buy the products on our site. Once a product is sold, the designers are notified, who then send out the package. How challenging was it to connect with designers and artists? NJ: I began by featuring my friends and acquaintances. Soon, the blog took off and I started getting mails from wonderful people introducing me to other talented artists and designers, and then it was a snowball effect. Coming from the advertising field, I feel absolutely at home with creative minds. I have had a great time getting to know new artists and designers and their awesome work. What are the biggest challenges the Indian design industry faces? NJ: The biggest challenge is to change the perception about Indian design - that it is not just about cheap manufactured products, antiques or handicrafts. The current Indian design scene is much more vibrant and international. It is important to be seen as a leader in conceptualization and design development. The next big global idea should come from India. We also need to develop skills to market products around the world. How can Indian design be popularized in the global marketplace? NJ: That is exactly what SOIO is here for! Seriously though, good marketing,

positioning and service is what is needed. Until now, Indian craft has been well received all over the world, and now I believe it is only a matter of time before the world wakes up to our design-led creative products. What is the response to Indian design/ art in the UK? NJ: We have had lots of positive responses from the UK and other countries. In a short while we have already built relationships with customers in countries like the US, Singapore, Switzerland, Germany, France, the UK, and India. It will take some time to become the first choice as compared to the established local brands, but eventually if our work is good, we will shine through. In your opinion, where does the Indian design and art industry stand today? NJ: The Indian art and design industry is basically small, because currently only a few institutes offer design education, leading to a close knit creative community. But as a whole, the industry is growing at an explosive pace with more people understanding the importance of art and design in everyday life. E-commerce gives artists/designers the chance to share their work and gain feedback and confidence. I believe that in the next five years people will get more involved in design and art. Quality will start getting more important than quantity, which will hopefully separate out the cheap copycats and give due credit to the genuine artists. What’s next for you? NJ: I look forward to building OIO as a brand and hope to be able to contribute in the effort to make India an art and design destination from a global perspective.  7

August POOL 2012  

Pool Magazine for August 2012

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