Founder Interview: The Purple Turtles
In interview with founder of an innovative lighting solutions startup with a catchy enough name- The Purple Turtles.
This is definitely one of the most interesting and positive interviews we have done till now. We have incorporated images of some of their work we like, and believe me we like a lot more than these. For more check out their facebook page.
Raadeesh Shetty had worked in Mudra and JWT before his stint at Star TV / Star plus where he was part of the sales team. While the roles were very interesting and he got to learn many skills during these stints, the entrepreneurial desire was a constant. Around the same time, he was helping a friend move houses and source interiors for her. The most important thing he noticed was that there were two ends of the spectrum – highly priced, elegant German and Italian designs on the one end and standardized, undifferentiated inexpensive Chinese products on the other. There was a void in the middle for affordable yet elegant designs in lighting. So the initial idea was to travel to different parts of India and the world, pick up interesting stuff from lesser known designers and make it available through a retail outlet. This idea was materialized as The Purple Turtles and he slowly started prototyping and manufacturing them at his Bangalore facility.
What customers do you target or how has the industry response been? Do you think we have the right crowd for TPT in India yet?
The Purpel Turtles, largely caters to Architects and interior designers, considering we work so closely on design and customisation of products. Five years into the business and we have clients who have now come back to us on multiple occasions for their city home, holiday home, office renovation, new project and so on. But it’s a trust that’s built in our offering and they know that we are constantly evolving and sourcing new products to cater to their changing needs.
India sure is ready for a brand like The PurpelTurtles, today we are interacting with worldly clients who are very much aware of international trends and ideas. They are looking for ideas which are not the run of the mill and that’s where we come in.
We try very hard to so put a good mix of product lines in the store, which are unique and affordable.
What do you think of the whole startup culture rise in India?Views on non-tech start-ups?
I personally believe that the timing is right and there are a lot of people going the entrepreneurial route and there is a very good support structure available for financing, consultation and execution available today that may have not been the case five to ten years back.
While tech start-ups have a lot of interests and takers there are few but significant number of non-tech start-ups as well that have sprung up in the recent years. When I started my firm there was a lot of support that was offered to me by family as well as friends, which becomes an essential part to anyone’s success. While I dint get any shocking reactions when I decided to move out of my jobs but I did raise eyebrows when I mentioned the line of business.
How come you always seem to come up innovative designs that suit the occasion?
When we started we had no idea what the client was looking for, hence we offered what we thought was interesting and unusual.
We take great pride in the kind of designs and the range of designs we have to offer. We are in the constant look out for designers, craftsmen and artists who we can work with and once we identify them we work on ides and ways to constantly evolve the product line.
How has college/ education helped you? Or has it?
I was a science graduate, hence with out hesitation I can say that it hasn’t helped me much in my line of business, but all the jobs that I took up during college and after have been a great learning experience.
How has the vision for The Purple Turtles changed since you started working on it?
Our main focus still remains lighting, we have always had access to furniture suppliers and designers since the inception but for us it was important that we first established ourselves as a lighting specialist before we ventured into other products. The Purple Turtles wants to eventually be a one-stop destination for home products, and furniture was the next most obvious move for us after lighting. Our furniture is not the regular run of the mill items; we take a lot of effort and pride in travelling and sourcing unusual and quirky furniture that is not available easily.
A Problem you had not anticipated when you started up but it nevertheless showed up?
Space: we never thought that we would run short of space but within 2 years we had to expand to a larger space and after a year we took up an additional floor. This is a good problem to have and I enjoyed renovating the new space and expanding.
One of happiest days in relation to TPT?
When we executed one of the largest orders we had received even prior to opening the store. Our first order was form an Architect named Sanjay for a very large project in Goa. He met us through a personal friend and at that point we did not do retail business and only managed with catalogue selling. He instantly liked our offering; and was extremely supportive and trusted us with some very large and complex installation.
Advice for young entrepreneurs out there.
Don’t give up easily and there is no age to start something new. There are many occasions when I’ve had doubts about going solo but then one has to keep going. Being an entrepreneur is a lot of responsibility because you are now not just responsible for the food on your plate but many others too.