My head is still in the clouds over winning an award yesterday. An award that I’ve grown to really respect over the years. I’ve won it before. Twice, in fact! But this year, winning the Kidsstoppress Parents’ choice award for the Best Personalised Gifting Brand in India (!) meant more than it ever did before.
As expected, I went trigger happy on social media the moment I had my picture taken at the awards ceremony. It was a big moment and I HAD TO share it with everyone I know. And soon enough, the congratulatory notes started pouring in. And I started noticing…‘you deserve it’ and ‘I’m so proud of you’ were the themes in the messages that my inboxes were overflowing with.
And that’s just why my heart is glowing with pride today!
I fell deeply in love with stationery on 25th May 1985, at the age of 6, in London, when my aunt gifted me a GORGEOUS mint-blue pearl-finish pencil box with 4 perfect mint-blue pencils in it with silver swirls on them. I cherished that, and every other ‘fancy’ stationery item I received from anyone over the years. For some reason, a Hong Kong gift items catalog used to arrive at our doorstep every fortnight (my dad was in the gift articles business at the time) and I spent hours poring over it (and highlighting all the things I loved in it…I have no idea why 😆).
When I eventually started Cupik Design 8 years ago, the kids’ retail landscape in India was pretty bleak. Heck I couldn’t find a decent ‘international-quality’ outfit for my daughter’s first birthday at any price in a city like Mumbai (yeah I know I can be pretty picky when it comes to Rhea!). The beautifully designed products I began to create were solving the basic problems of new moms like myself (labelling their babies’ belongings, high quality stationery gifts and premium birthday return gifts) and they loved it all.
Today, 8 years later, this whole mommy tribe of around 1500 mothers are still rooting for Cupik Design ~ and me! They’ve been there when I needed feedback, they’ve been my most harsh critics and been my fiercest loyalists. They’ve all been part of the journey, and I couldn’t have come this far without them (and my tiny team, and my world-class vendors, and my parents…ok this is not an Oscar speech sorry!)
At Cupik Design, our goal has always been for every child (and stationery crazy adult!) to feel that same delight, that same joy and lifelong love for gorgeous stationery, that the mint-blue pencil box brought to me. Personalisation is the new-age cherry on top! It’s a tall order, I know. But we are doing it. Every single day :-).
Meanwhile, we have spurred an entire industry of personalised stationery makers across the country. Some are unfortunately blatant copycats of our designs on cheap quality materials, some are direct competitors and some are people we are dying to collaborate with so we can offer their products to our much larger customer base. Which is why winning that award, yet again yesterday, was such a big deal!
What I do realise (despite having my head in the aforementioned clouds), is that we need to scale up, simply because we long to be part of the cherished memories of thousands more stationery lovers, young and old. And we’re getting there, one tiny step at a time.
The best is yet to come! For all those who feel that personal pride in our success, here’s my heartfelt thank you, and a promise that you’ll have a lot more to be proud of pretty soon!
Sheetal Goel (chief, cupikdesign.com)