About the venture :
Papbags is a venture started by two childhood friends, Jigna Joshi and Natasha Nagpal. They specialize in making recycled paper bags out of newspapers. They also undertake orders for fancy bags for special occasions like birthdays, weddings and baby showers.
We bring you the inspiring story of Jigna and Natasha, the people behind Papbags.
Tell us something about yourself
Natasha likes to describe herself as “an engineer by education and an artist by passion”. She has always been drawn towards sketching, painting, art, and crafts.
Jigna is a mother of two kids aged fourteen and two. She dabbled in many things like early childhood education, event anchoring, and dance choreography before deciding that it was art and craft that was her true calling. She did not want to compromise on the quality time with kids and was keen on starting something from the comfort of her home.
Both of them together is a true picture of entrepreneurship married to creativity. What clicks between them is realm beyond friendship, it is the itch to pursue their common passion towards crafts and the indomitable spirit to follow their dreams. While most would limit themselves to art and crafts as just a hobby, Natasha and Jigna have managed to make a successful venture out of it. That’s what following one’s passion is all about.
How did you decide to start your venture – Papbags?
They had been taking art and craft workshops for kids in their society for long. They sensed that there was an inherent demand for customized paper bags at reasonable cost by small businesses. People also wanted them for birthday parties for return gifts, at baby showers etc.. They pitched in with a few samples on a social media platform. In a couple of days time, they landed their first order for 100 newspaper bags. Thus was born Papbags in September 2015 in Mumbai.
It was an overwhelming one. They had five days to complete the task. The client also wanted the “RECYCLED” stamp across all the bags. They rummaged through the local shops to get the stamp done on an urgent basis, and it was a success.
There was no looking back. The next few orders too kept them on their toes. What’s remarkable was their passion and hunger for more work. It did mean sleepless and over-worked nights.
What are the key challenges you face in your job?
Each bag is handmade with utmost attention towards quality and customization. It has to be balanced with stringent delivery timelines. It’s a job that requires oodles of patience and passion for the craft. There are orders that require them to be up until two in the night. Who says working from home is an easy job!
No one order is the same for them. They take pride in their ability to customize to the requirement of their clients. It also adds to the thrill and excitement of doing something new each day, they say. Every order is unique and requires various iterations with paper before they know the exact measurement for the bag. They also take into account the size and weight of the product the bag is meant to carry before finalizing the prototype for the order.
With limited time at their disposal, social media marketing and taking out time for fairs and exhibitions are also the practical challenges they have to deal with.
What keeps you going?
Passion for art and craft keeps them going. It is also the appreciation they receive for doing flawless work that drives them to do their best every time.
For Jigna, the respect she sees in the eyes of her teenage son is priceless. Her family is proud of her that she is productively using her time, enjoying herself and earning good money at the same time.
How do you see yourself evolve going forward?
They want to expand their footprint and explore many things. Among them are exploring newspaper based crafts like basket weaving, recycled themed party decoration like danglers, name banners etc, art and craft workshops for kids, handcrafted products and so on. Re-using and re-cycling is their motto.
Promoting Papbags at various carnivals, fun fairs and social media platforms are also their key priority this year.
What is one advice you have for anyone else wanting to start their own business venture?
As if both of them say in unison – “Come out of your cocoon. It time to stop thinking and start doing. Come out and explore the market and see the world around you. It would be a great learning. Leave all your fears behind. Just do it.”
We at my city woman salute their spirit of enterprise. We wish them all the success with Papbags!
You can reach them on firstname.lastname@example.org