There was a time when people preferred gifting hand-made cards, and gifts to their loved ones. As times changed, our gifting preferences changed and we were more inclined towards machine-made gifts.
Circling back, times have changed again and people are now more involved with the idea that goes behind in making customized gifts. With time, many initiatives came to light which offered a wide range of customized and eco-friendly gifts made from papers.
One such initiative is Paper Towers, which offers paper crafts and creative gifts for all occasions and for every relationship, made with immense love and care. Nikita Rochiramani, the co-founder of Paper Towers gets candid while talking about her approach that is unique in its own terms.
“The place where memories are portrayed to perfection”, let’s hear more about Paper Towers from her!
For starters, please tell us about your venture Paper Towers!
Paper Towers is a venture started by me, Nikita, and my friend Aakruti to help people celebrate every little joy in their lives through the memories they cherish the most. We make personalised handmade paper-based gifts which use lots of pictures, hand-written notes, and custom themes to suit the occasion of gifting.
When did you start off and what was the idea behind it?
We started 5 years back, on 24th August 2015 as a Facebook page, and an Instagram account. Memories, both good and bad, define how far we’ve come in life. More often than not, we end up scanning through so many of our pictures, trying to recollect the instances and people connected with them. That was the idea behind starting Paper Towers; for people to have something more tangible like a keepsake that could remind them of the moments they love and cherish the most.
How was your experience signing your first client?
We had been lucky to have a very supportive bunch of people by our side. So one of our first clients was a distant family member and he had placed an order for a photo bouquet. He had shared a set of pictures, picked his favourite colour combination for the gift, and the end result was very well received.
What challenges do you face in your brand building? Can you tell us something about the initial experiences that made you more confident about your venture?
The biggest challenge was scaling beyond our circle of acquaintance. We comfortably reached out to a few hundreds, but multiplying the number was not something we were able to crack. Digital media was certainly one option, but we wanted our approach to be a little more personal. That’s when we decided on putting up a stall at Comic Con in 2016. Initially we weren’t sure about how we’d generalise our gifting concept since on-spot personalisation (with pictures and messages) was certainly not possible, but we were surprised to see the response we got from the crowd. We did a wide range of quirky and cute cards, explosion boxes, pop-culture themed goodies etc and we were all sold-out by the end of day 2. Since then, we haven’t looked back.
We are so glad Paper Towers is growing. Can you share your growth journey with us?
Our client base, since inception, has grown multi-fold. We have some of the biggest names in the city reaching out to us for personalised gifting options for their loved ones. We’ve also had a few orders from/for actors in the Telugu film industry, something we’ll always be grateful for.
Can you tell us something about your accomplishments?
Apart from continuously pushing our limits and coming up with more personalized gift options, I think some of our accomplishments were our previous features in esteemed publications like the Tulip Magazine, The Indian Express, Eenadu, The Daily Pioneer Hyderabad and an interview with Vanitha TV for a show named Navya that voices women entrepreneurs.
Can you brief us about the services that Paper Towers offers?
We, at Paper Towers, focus on personalised handmade paper-based gifts like scrapbooks, explosion boxes, themed greeting cards, hampers, photo albums, customised frames, gift bags, wedding invites, engagement trays, and of course wrapping all of them and a lot other gift options in themed paper. We also did a couple of small scale events like a baby shower, cradle ceremony, bridal shower etc.
How difficult is it for you to manage both your regular job and Paper Towers?
It does get very hectic, to say the least. After sailing through some sleepless nights and tired mornings, I’ve only come to realise that seeing people feel happy through my work at Paper Towers is the only motivation I need to keep going. The turnaround time has gone up from 1 week to 2.5 weeks currently considering the scale and scope of work involved. Also, I have a day job as a graphic designer, so that has helped me hone my design skills. I couldn’t be more grateful for how much I’ve learned from my seniors at office and for the support my clients give me at Paper Towers.
Tell us about the unique factors that differentiate Paper Towers.
Most of our competitors do not have a lot of customisation options to offer. It sure is very challenging to keep up with a wide range of customisation options that are economical from a business standpoint and at the same time retain the essence of personalised gifting. Since I’m personally involved in client-dealing, designing and crafting the experience, it’s easier for me to customise every little detail the client asks for. So I’d say the customisation options we offer and the quality we promise is something unique about Paper Towers. Moreover, empathy is something that goes very well with me. I create things I’d personally prefer as gifting options. So that helps me create a better gifting experience.
What future plans do you have for Paper Towers?
Once I’m confident about the corporate experience I’ve gained (maybe 5-7 years down the line), I’d take up Paper Towers full-time and hire a team of people with a creative flair to scale things up. I’d love to continue designing and crafting as a major part of my work so that every bit of what I create warms people’s hearts as much as their support warms mine.
In the years to come, I see Paper Towers as an online store that serves as a one-stop platform to deliver personalised gifting experiences nationally. I also plan to have an offline store/workshop locally to cater to an audience that prefers picking quirky gifts on-the-go over planning an experience.
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Author Bio: Nikita Rochiramani is a graphic designer by profession and a crafter by passion. She is a science graduate holding many awards and accolades for being an all-rounder with maximum participation in extracurricular activities and has been a proficiency holder in academics during her college life. Despite being good with science, she found her true calling in the field of arts and explored it further as a career option. She took up a short course in Visual design and communication after her graduation and started working with corporates soon after to better her design skills. She currently works in an MNC as a Creative Specialist while single handedly managing all the work at Paper Towers on an order basis. When she’s not working, you’ll probably find her neck deep in a book or maybe binge-watching a web series or working as a volunteer for a social cause she believes in.