Creativity is a life force. It, literally, leads to creations. Creations have power. Whether you believe in Genesis, or in the Oparin-Haldane theory, or not at all, life on earth (creation) is a pretty formidable outcome.
Objectively speaking, without creativity, who would have known of the genius of Galileo/ Tesla/ Darwin/ Beethoven/ Mozart/ Shakespeare/ Dickens.
We could go on here about how many things would be different if these people didn’t dream things up. The thing is, it doesn’t matter what you sit up dreaming about all night, if you don’t ever wake up to act.
That is what creativity is about. It is about plugging your ears to shut out the whole world from telling you that something cannot be done or that you cannot do that something because you are somehow incapable of/ forbidden from doing it, because you will offend others, or because you are a woman, or whatever other nonsense. It is rolling up your sleeves, kicking off your shoes, taking a deep breath and pushing against that wall.
Creativity is important because-
- Adds meaning to life– Life is like a white canvas board. It’s your creativity that helps you add colours and textures to make it lively.
- Your baby– It’s your brain child. Your touch in this world. And it will never leave you.
- Creativity is growing– It enhances your intelligence, communication skills, patience, perspective, ability to tackle obstacles and everything about you. Diversifies you in every aspect.
- Connection– It helps you connect closely with yourself and everything around you. It is a medium to express yourself.
- Morale booster– You become confident, independent and HAPPY. You can do whatever you wish to, without boundaries.
- Key to Success– When you think out of the box, and make sure to implement it, it makes you successful.
- Lastly, it makes you a free bird. So spread your wings and fly high, fly away.
Today we are presenting an exclusive interview of Kashyap Mahendra Vora. Kashyap is the founder of The KreativeToli.
KreativeToli which broadly involves Food, Art & Crafts, Music & Dance, Design, Films and Content hopes to be a single platform which can be a place where creative and clients alike can connect and collaborate on work. (B2B and B2C).
Lets see what Kashyap Vora has to speak about his venture and his entire entrepreneurship journey.
1.What is the Name of Your Venture? Any specific reason for this name?
TheKreativeToli is the name of my venture. It was an idea born of a desi feeling and need to relate to our Indian creative sector.
2.Who is your target Audience/clients?
The creatives in various fields of creativity and clients looking out for such creative work to be done.
3.Where is your venture based (city, state, country) & What are your geographical target areas?
We are based out of Mumbai, Maharashtra, India. We aim to target creatives and clients pan-India
4.What problems does your venture resolve? What are your products or services?
Our venture is targeting one of the most important sectors today, the creative sector. Which broadly involves Food, Art & Crafts, Music & Dance, Design, Films and Content. We hope our platform can be a place where creative and clients alike can connect and collaborate on work. (B2B and B2C).
We also aim to solve the problem of freedom that creatives need to showcase work and even earn through our marketplace. Our transparent free sign up and idea that recognition before remuneration, will help us get more Indian creatives from all parts of India.
Along with this we also aim to create offline spaces by the name and style of NESST – Networking | Events | Shared Spaces and Talent where the creatives can have spaces to work and network with people they meet, trust and can collaborate with.
5.Share the idea or story behind the venture. How did it came to an existence? What motivated you to start your own venture?
Being from an Art background family and creative peers around all the time, starting this was something very close to me. The venture started somewhere in 2015 beginning as an afterthought to one of my previous ideas, revolving around creativity. I always felt strongly about Creativity and its expression. While my days of growing up and till date meeting people I realized everyone is creative in some way or the other and they long to have a platform to express the same and realize the creative potential in each of us.
At the same time lot of my friends and family members always spoke about lack of meeting creative people freely and interacting and understanding from the client’s point of view. Being a Bachelor in Product Design myself and having creative freelancer friends in different sectors in the Industry, I could relate to the lack of a niche platform to have such connectivity and collaborations, which would have the freedom of creativity and style, influenced by the culture of India. So i got my younger sister on board, who is also very creatively inclined and studying Arts as well, and we started TheKreativeToli in 2016
6.Who are your biggest competitors and how do you differentiate yourself from them?
I believe competition is good, its healthy as it lets you keep a check on offering the priority to the end user. Indiefolio, Behance, UpWork and few others are the main competitors.
In terms of our Offline spaces, NESST, there are quite a few now as the co-working space market is booming.
7.How did you identify your co-founder? Tell us some thing about your co-founder/s
‘Creativity begins at home’. My younger sister is my co-founder and had an important role in giving shape to the image and branding style for TheKreativeToli. She’s learning about ‘Mogos’ (musical logos) and other out of the box creative fields that suit her passion and flare for arts and music.
8.How did you hired your first team members? What skills Do you want in your employees/team?
Our first few team members were mostly consultants in our IT section/work and Marketing. We slowly expanded and are still growing. Skills we look out for is perseverance and the drive for creativity. If our vision sets in the mind of our team, then taking the idea ahead becomes less challenging and more engaging, resulting in better output and achieving a larger audience base for the Creative Sector and Clients.
9.What expansion plans are you looking for the next 2 years, next 5 years?
We hope to get more and more Tkteers (our members that sign up) pan India and host different events as well as campaigns to reach out to more creative people, so they can get the desi creative freedom at Tkt.
We also aim to open few NESST centres across selected states pan India and then see where we grow as a ‘toli’ (group). Looking at Venture partners after 2 or 3 years depending on our growth and strategy.
10.Where do you want to see yourself in next 10 years?
We want to be where we always will be – ‘Serving the Creative Sector, Online through networking and creative e-marketplace and Offline through NESST.’
Along with a successful venture through our NGO Konnect feature which will be pan India and making a huge difference in our creative generations to come, by providing them a path to not only have creative freedom, but to voluntarily help and imbibe the same to the less fortunate and lower sectors of the society, thereby being guiding forces for the future generations that will be empowered and lead India to newer heights. In short self-service and giving back the knowledge you have.
11.What are your goals over the next 1, 3, 6 and 12 months?
Engage in sign-ups and activities, workshops and events. Host our own small festival for creatives. Start our creative offline spaces.
12.Have you raised any funding? Or have any plans for the funding?
No funding has been raised. As of now we are not looking at funding, but 2 years hence we may consider the funding opportunities that come by us.
13.What were the problems you faced during the starting days and how did you resolve them?
The tech and interface, making a website for creative people and keeping it simple, but yet informative as it was a one-stop umbrella for creative people.
The biggest problem is how to get creative people to come sign-up, with sharing the knowledge of it being absolutely free. Gathering both the sides of B2B and B2C is still an issue, which we are resolving through right channelled media and promotions and awareness through a niche target market of creative people.
14.What was the most challenging part of your journey till now? How did you overcome those challenges?
The most challenging part was the Marketing and funding. Marketing solution was resolved by teaming up with a great agency that understood what Tkt is and its helped us get a good enough presence today.
Self-funding is never an easy task, but doing design work on the side, along with other consulting work, the same is now manageable.
15.Are you married, single or in a relationship?
16.What are your hobbies? What do you do in your non-work time?
Hobbies involve Football (sometimes coaching kids from my old college), watching documentaries and Reading about innovators and change makers, Cooking etc.
In my non-work time its catching up with friends and engaging in talks or ideas. Playing with our Society adopted dog Mario; Classic Rock playlists and design sketching.
17.Whats your favorite food & holiday destination?
Favorite food is a tough one. Mostly anything Veg is good, not very fussy about food.
Holiday destination in India would be Kasauli and abroad probably would be Bali, Indonesia
18.Whom do you consider your idol or biggest motivator?
As always there are many who are always there trying to push me to the limit to seek more and never give up. They would involve Mr. Murthy from IB School, Samvit Blass and Pierre Webster from Raffles Design who taught me Design as I know it today.
My Father and Mother also being one of the biggest motivating factors as they always gave me the freedom to choose and work towards what made me happy, what I believed in strongly, so they would be my mentors.
But above all, I think my biggest idols are my Grandads, as they both were entrepreneurs of their time and the experience and ethical values I get from them, helps me build on whatever I do today.
19.What do you feel is the major difference between entrepreneurs and those who work for someone else?
I feel working for somebody else without a vision for yourself, is pointless. But if you have your vision planned and it involves working for somebody else, its a great place to be in. Cause every entrepreneur also needs a team.
For me entrepreneurs are those who can distinguish that a pain point from the public eye can be a cash point from a business perspective, provided ethical and the right product/service is offered. Identifying need vs want is very crucial in differentiating between an entrepreneur and a person working for someone else. Entrepreneurs know that they should give back to Society as well, that is the richness that matters.
20.If you had the chance to start your career over again, what would you do differently?
I would have not changed much, except for the fact that I wish I had networked more with people while I was going through different career paths. I’m not a very extrovert kind of person, which i feel is slowly changing. So, I guess I am doing something differently.
21.How has being an entrepreneur affected your family & Social life?
Social Life? what’s that. Lol
But no on a serious note managing family business, keeping up with friends getting married, and running a business up from scratch, it takes a lot of commitment and sacrifices. And sometimes people don’t understand the space or thought frame you are in, but with time and trying to make the best possible use of the 365 days in a year, it’s all worth it, if you manage to wake up with a smile every morning, raring to take up the days tasks and challenges that lie ahead, it’s all that matters. Your happiness for yourself and amongst others.
22.Anything, you would like to say to our readers or upcoming entrepreneurs?
“Life is like pre-paid sim cards, we are here with various plans till our expiry”. Knowing that creativity involves a hint of madness, top-up your health and wealth just enough to be happy and content make an impact, create a value for yourself, give back to society and take steps to change the world, just before your plan expires, leaving a mark/legacy to remember and look up to.
23.Tell us something about your education & family background.
I did my schooling from Bombay Scottish School, Mahim. Right after which I completed my 2 years International Baccalaureate from B.D.Somani School, Cuffe Parade.
Following which i decided to pursue Design and finished my graduation as a Bachelor in Product Design from Raffles Singapore. Adding on to the same, I did 3 years of Post Graduate Law, i.e. L.L.B for knowledge and study interests only, aiding in my family business.
Mother is an Artist, Father is into the Realty and Construction business (which I aid in the legal work) and my younger sister is a musician + artist as well.
24.What is your USP which makes it unique & different from other start-ups in similar domains.
We are more desi and are looking to keep our domain as transparent as possible when it comes to free usage, quality creative and collaborations. We aim to make people aware of our One-Stop Solution Umbrella for Creative people in Food, Arts & Crafts, Music & Dance, Design, Films & Content, where they can connect collaborate and create, thereby empowering them and keeping the idea of creative freedom as a freelancer.
25. What do you think is the biggest threat to the success of small businesses & Start-ups today?
I feel the right team, Lack of false promises and lack of understanding the pain-point can majorly affect start-ups. Also, not everyone wants to ‘stay hungry, stay foolish’.
With the wrong pitches and unrealistic goals, some Start-ups get affected today and form threat to the success of their as well as other businesses. The big guns, once established offer such terms, that the small businesses cannot compete and that results in change of ideas and strategies affecting business plans.
26. Do you consider yourself successful and by what means do you measure success?
No. I am not yet successful and its a long way to go. I measure success by the volume of people’s lives I have made a difference to, whether directly through my start-up or indirectly.
27.Please share complete name, address, phone number, email id & website of Your Business & Contact Person
Kashyap Mahendra Vora