Vasant Kunj, Delhi, India
Vasant Kunj, Delhi, India
I am Jhuma. In Bengali, which is my mother tongue, the name signifies Enjoyment. As a person, I am fun-loving and practical, ambitious yet realistic. As you must have understood by now, my roots are in West Bengal. My advanced studies saw me spend four years in Bangalore, the lovely garden city in the late Nineties before I moved to northern India after my marriage.
Strange it may sound now, the harsh weather of Delhi compared to Bangalore’s mild cool city was hard for me to adjust. But that was the early 2000s and twenty-two springs later, I find myself anchored in Noida with my husband and kid. No regrets! I can now forego the Bengali rasogolla for the Aloo Chat at Sector 25, Noida.
Having done my Master’s in Business Administration and my UG in Advertisement and Sales Management, it was natural for me to get into the sales role. I found myself at the frontline of an Advertising Agency at Nehru Place. It was a learning curve which taught me the nuances of Sales Management, Customer First approach, Time Management and most importantly about the Price Value Proposition.
My second assignment was at Sector 3 Noida where I met my mentor. This was my tryst with destiny – a double-coloured offset print press catering primarily to the pharmaceuticals industry.
I was quick to understand that the demand for print was synonymous with marketing communication – at a time when social media was not known. During one of my customer interactions, I heard Digital Print, which kindled my imagination.
The initial orders were primarily from my patrons whom I knew, and I hardly had the capital to fund my own print machine.
The journey was difficult as I serviced my orders through other print houses before delivering the final goods to my customers. I, however, made sure of the quality and delivery – two critical aspects of a print job.
I made my next big investment on a German four-colour offset print press and was now looking for a larger factory. In 2018, fourteen years from inception, Ved Printers moved to their own factory space in Sector 10. My conviction that I can make a difference with technology paid off.
The print industry is still a male-dominated industry with very few females in the print industry. In almost all meetings that I have participated in, I was probably the only woman in a room full of men who, most of the time, did not want to listen.
So far, I haven’t come across a raw material supplier of paper or ink who has woman ownership. Trust, as an element was hard to manifest.
There is a great deal of gender inequality in this industry, unlike other industries like IT and electronics. There may not be visible in the face discrimination but there are still vastly more men than women sitting in senior management positions and on boards.
It may not be a coincidence that my top client is a woman as I can see a visible change in the senior position roles of my customers.
As I have earned my stripes over the last eighteen years, it is easy for me to let go the negatives and concentrate on my own firm. In my firm, I have engaged female workers for print and packaging and they are paid equally as men.
Looking back at the forming years of my firm, the biggest challenge that attribute to is building the trust factor. In the male-dominated industry, I was looked upon as a freelancer and amateur printer trying her luck and would eventually take up something else.
I was lucky to collaborate with people who supported me in my journey. My first pillar of strength are my customers, for whom it was no different whether I’m a woman or a man. I also acknowledge support from my close friends who are pillars of encouragement to me.
My family is my all-weather support. Balancing work life with my family life hasn’t been ever an issue for me.
I believe in the Hindu philosophy that Work is worship and that with my growth I am asked to serve the people to receive blessings of the Gods. That keeps me motivated each day. I also keep myself abreast of the latest technology developments in the industry and try to deploy the same in my organization. This brings in fresh ideas and a new push for excellence.
In future, I would like to embrace another new technological advancement in the print industry – 3D printing which creates a physical object from digital design. And that’s work in progress.
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