NEst is a brand of notebooks/ journals, lifestyle products, inspired by the popular symbols, culture and crafts of the picturesque and unexplored paradise of North-Eastern India. Founded in 2012, this brand has evolved and made its presence felt worldwide. The uniqueness of the brand lies in the way it represents the northeast- vivacious and colourful. Young and dynamic, the founder of NEst, Arpita Agarwal is the quintessential “millennial entrepreneur” who is uber talented but underplays, charming yet shy, confident along with a good to go ease. Conversations with this “boy” from Dibrugarh, who is an alumni of the National School of Design has been quite occasional, and so, the opportunity to interview him as an entrepreneur was definitely an opportunity worth grabbing.
The excerpts from the interview:
- Your story how did it all start.
It all started out of boredom to be honest. Waiting for a couple of projects to come through which were taking too long, I decided to explore some visual elements from Assam. Shared with a few friends and that’s how it began. Also I realized at the same time that there were not many souvenir items based on Assam other than traditional bamboo, wood and silk products.
- What does NEST stand for?
NEST stands for a bird’s nest. It is basically coming together of all the 8 states of North-East to form a nest. The 8 bars in a woven style represent 8 states of North-East. And the “ by Arpit Agarwal” had to be added for technical reasons.
- What kind of hardships did you face on being a young entrepreneur?
Being an entrepreneur is tough, but in today’s world of social media things are little easier. The toughest part is coordinating with vendors, suppliers and getting everything at the right time and at the right place. Also being in Assam, getting things done is a great challenge due to limited resources.
- How have you tried and defied the odds?
Challenges are indispensable part of any entrepreneurial venture. Every day you face new challenges, how one solves it, is what makes or breaks it for you.
- What is process that NEST adopts for its products?
We travel around, interact with people, and exchange stories with friends which form the basis of our inspiration. We try to go with instincts many times and don’t really adopt a process and that seems to work for us. Too much thinking at times can restrict your creativity and not let things happen.
- How would you define the entrepreneurship circle of northeast?
Its growing, but I feel there is a long way to go. Entrepreneurship should be seen in various fields and not just art, craft and tourism. I am not really an expert in this field to comment much on it, as I am still growing.
- An advice that has helped you in your journey.
Never give up. There will be ups and downs, but be persistent. A strong family support goes a long way in making the journey memorable. JUST DO IT, be ready to face the odds and take calculative risks.
- 3 things that should always be focused upon when owing a venture?
Don’t try to fly all of sudden, slow and steady wins the race.
Keep innovating, keep doing new and interesting stuff.
Always try to add value to your brand that customers/ clients can look forward to.
The products that NEst comes up with is definitely beautiful but memorable and a lasting take away from the Northeast which is divinely adored with greenery and beauty beyond one’s expectation.
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