The chief enemy of creativity is good sense.
― Pablo Picasso
So what exactly is creativity? The dictionary defines it as “the use of the imagination or original ideas in the production of an artistic work.” So does the word ‘artistic’ mean it is restricted to just art forms like painting, poetry, dancing and singing? I would rather balk at this statement and reckon creativity to be a perspective than just art. It is an inner approach of how you look at things from a different direction. Everybody can be creative but for that you need to awaken your inner self first and as Henri Matisse says, “Creativity takes courage.” It means one has to stop fortifying their fortresses of rationality against risks and instead take the plunge!
Many people who manage to gather courage and be creative, sometimes do not garner the outcomes they deserve. The Souled Store is a website that showcases the work of talented artists and gives them a platform which they normally do not get. It is a website that displays creativity on various products like t-shirts, posters, framed art prints, badges, stickers, notebooks, and coasters. The team is young and is building a community of multidisciplinary artists (Graphic designers, Doodle artists, Illustrators, Photographers, Sketch artists) who collaborate with them and provide them with a wide variety of themes and ideas.
The Souled Store is the brainchild of four young friends with an engineering background – Aditya, Vedang, Rohin and Sonal. After graduation, they worked with different companies for a period of 2 years. While they enjoyed their jobs, they somewhere always felt an urge to start something on their own. Thus, the brainstorming began. A lot of ideas were thrown around and finally they decided to start a website where talented artists gain not only the appreciation they deserve but also opportunities to harness their potential. Some of their artists have already been noticed and have been approached with assignments/work from other sources.
When asked how it is different from other platforms, the team replied, “The Souled Store is not just another online retail space. What makes us different is the community that we build here – our artists. It’s a place where they can get recognized. We want people to come here and express themselves from the heart and share the happiness all around.” Someone once said, “Happiness is only real when shared.” and apparently that’s the philosophy The Souled Store is based on.
The team believes it is not here to give a tough competition to anyone or in a rat race to prove its worth. They believe they have just created a website that is very different and unique from the rest. The number of product lines that they have, combined with the variety of themes from a wide range of artists from all of India is what makes them different from anyone else around. Their primary focus has been to add artists from different genres to cater to a large and diverse customer base.
According to the team, the biggest hurdle any e-commerce start-up (or even a bigger company) in India faces is professionalism; “We have worked for 2 years in companies where everything was done in an extremely professional way. We’ve imbibed a lot of that in the way we work which is very helpful. The problem occurs when we have to deal with our manufacturers. The attitude is very laid back and highly unprofessional. That’s one thing we didn’t learn with a 2 year work experience. It’s something we’re learning (and getting better at) every day.”
The Souled Store generally focuses on getting customers through online and offline marketing. The majority of their website traffic comes from social media websites like Facebook and Twitter. The platform was launched 3 months ago and has been receiving a favourable response from artists as well as consumers. The team is planning to launch a few more products soon and have a lot more artists on their website. They are also planning to attend various college festivals to interact more with their target audience. “After all that we’ve been doing, we feel it’s never enough. There’s always that something extra that we can do. So we try to never be satisfied with what we do.” added the team which gives a wide berth to complacency and believes in always achieving more!
When asked for a piece of advice for our budding startup founders, they humbly said, “We might be too new to advise people on what they should do. We’re still learning things every day. Every day is a new challenge that we face. But one thing that’s said again and again and might sound overrated now is just sticking to your ideas and believing in them, even if others don’t. Don’t give up. Keep at it and it’ll just happen. It’s always worth taking a chance.”