Pallavi Saraogi of Kitpas talks about the intricacies and struggles of investing and creating a niche market for a foreign brand in India.
Pallavi Saraogi is the distributor and owner of the Japanese brand, Kitpas, in India. Kitpas emerged as a brand of global value with the unique selling point of crayons that can write on any non-porous surface, viz., mirrors, windows, tiles and even laminated wood, which only needs a wet cloth to wipe it off.
Pallavi came across Kitpas in the January of 2020, at a stationary trade exhibition. It happened at a point in her life when the feeling of being lost and not knowing what to do next had started to set in. The lockdown invariably caused by the pandemic didn't help either. That's when she decided to call in for samples from the brand and distributed them to her close friends and family. Homebound, people explored their creativity on windows with the Kitpas crayons. The unique responses to the product were what prompted her to take her first order and call in her first consignment, only to never look back.
Pallavi went into the unexplored market of crayons and introduced her brand of water-soluble and allergen-free, non-toxic crayons. She even introduced the bath crayons that could write on water, helping children reach their creative potential and learn in unconventional ways. She believes that these crayons aren't just for kids, they are for everyone.
The biggest struggle that Pallavi faced was that Kitpas was an expensive product and in a price-sensitive market like India, it became even more difficult approaching vendors and bloggers with her product. But she realised it was all about the brand establishment, once trust and demand builds up in the market, it was only a matter of time till it became easier to point out the advantages Kitpas was offering. Marketing was another struggle that had Pallavi stumped at the start. She didn't know how to make Kitpas a well-known and popular brand. Changing the ideology to make people believe in her product took time, but eventually, she succeeded in creating her niche and creating a demand for something that never existed in India. Pallavi is proud to have created something unique.
For Pallavi, her biggest achievement is the learning, growth and patience that has evolved her through all her phases of struggle. She believes that it has all been an amazing learning experience where she grasped how to identify the scope of a business opportunity, what works in marketing and sales, meeting new people and negotiation, even how to overcome her anxiety about day to day decisions. It was her close friends and family that taught her the meaning of the patience she now holds. Learning and Growth are gifts that she has received from her rollercoaster entrepreneurial journey till now and given the chance, she wouldn't have it any other way!
Pallavi was from the service industry initially, which gave her a lot deeper insight into business decisions as she made the transition from service to the business world. Here, she learnt what it meant to be responsible for her own decisions and developed a sense of accountability towards her future.
With the simple desire for a hobby room for herself, Pallavi talks about her love for puzzles that help her stay calm and centred when she is overthinking. She has also been playing golf as a hobby for the last 4 years and even enjoys clay modelling and light reading.
As for Pallavi's advice for the readers, this is how it goes:
"Don't hesitate to start, as you have to begin somewhere. Step out of your comfort zone even if it leaves you feeling lost or intimidated because if you never try, you will never know. Keep at it and don't give in, even on the days when you feel low. People will doubt your decisions but that's when you need to stay firm in your beliefs because that's what matters in the end. Don't be afraid of judgement, for you know yourself better. Feel satisfied with what you want to do. If You Never Try You'll Never Know."