10 Years of 30TH FEB :)

By on Nov 17, 2019 in 30TH FEB, Entrepreneurship

Early 2010, on a bright spring morning, I remember sitting in a cafe in Faridabad when my friend Gagan called to discuss an event his company was planning. He thought that I was still with my erstwhile employer.

We discussed a lot of ideas, and during the course of our discussion, I told him that I had started, 30TH FEB in late 2009.

He asked me if he could share my number with his Delhi NCR office. I said fine, and within an hour I was on my way for the first corporate meeting for 30TH FEB.

20 minutes into the meeting, I asked the client if they would like to look at one of my presentations. They agreed, looked at it and said this is exactly what they needed. We were not 100% ready for a project of that scale but soon after I gathered courage and signed our first corporate client to plan, ideate and execute a month long carnival. We also had the added responsibility of working on the brand partnerships and event execution. 

I was naive and nervous, but I had moved ahead on the path I chose for myself. 

Because we had the work order, we rushed to get ourselves registered and got a current account. I am thankful to Gagan for believing in my abilities and for sharing the lead. 

That association continued for good 4 years until we moved out of event execution business and rebranded as a branding agency. It wouldn’t have been possible without the constant support of Tareena, my client contact and I’ll forever be thankful to her for constant belief in our ideas and ability to deliver.

It was a fulfilling association, where we worked on the consumer insights, local marketing to visual designing. We enjoyed every bit of this brand association.

No company can be built on the back of a single client relationship. And there were several early supporters and believers without whom 30TH FEB won’t exist in its current form.

Mahesh is one of those believers and exceptionally cool client. He believed in my work and 30TH FEB even before the corporate gig I shared above. 

Funny how things turn out it life. Mahesh had called to tell me about a tempting advertising job when I first told him about 30TH FEB. He said that he was going to call me back and hung up. Soon after, we both were discussing brand elements, content flow and mailers for the soft launch of his CXO-hiring brand. After this, we continued collaborating on his brands on variety of engagements like brand naming, and creating and managing brand spaces.

Abhishek & Sushil ji, my seniors from the b-school, were also among the early supporters of 30TH FEB. We connected at my b-school’s alumni lounger in Delhi. They were among the first critics and also became my clients after testing my patience and readiness as an entrepreneur.

Glad to share that our association as a client and brand partner continues till today. Abhishek now works as a consultant to marquee brands, and we learn a lot from each other when work on brand launches and see a new brand taking shape. Sushil ji, the quintessential entrepreneur, went on to start a multinational solar energy brand. This relationship is special and I’ll forever be happy to be able to work with them as their college junior 🙂 Every time we meet or discuss we can’t stop reminiscing about the old times and discussing how we have evolved as business owners from our early days. I’ll forever be grateful for their kindness and gentle persuasion, and even the critical; early feedback.

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I was outstation and someone reached out via 30thFEB.com. She was looking for design solutions for electronic products. It was a challenging project because it was unlike any other work we had done till that point in time. There was no time to come back and present. So, I got in action where I was and pitched with a concept. A few conference calls later, we were on the same page for execution. I remember, Shivali, person who had reached and who later became a dear client, told me over the phone that she was getting the work order ready and asked me to come and meet as soon as I got back to Delhi.

The rush and nervousness was all worth it. Thanks to this chance Shivali took on us, and some quick thinking and turnaround, we were able to bag our first client that was a global brand, 4 years after starting up. I later came to know that we had won the business pitching alongside one of the leading advertising agencies of the country.

Turning points are wonderful. This association was definitely a turning point. It gave us confidence to aim higher and made us comfortable being part of bigger pitches. Our ideas and concepts were getting noticed and I was happy about it.

Year was 2015 and digital was fast eating into print and TV’s market share. To get up to speed on digital marketing I enrolled in a digital marketing workshop where I met Rashi. Rashi was running SBS Fin, a financial distribution company. And we started our relationship, by helping her with a content audit. Later we started an ongoing partnership where we started offering her 360-degree brand support, which started by aligning and incorporating her 15 years of corporate experience, into her startup brand.

Over time, SBS Fin has rebranded, evolved, rebranded expanded their business through new customer connect strategies. We are happy to have played a small part in their journey. Thank you Rashi for believing in us. Your belief and confidence has worked wonders in more ways than you know 🙂

Over the years, we have come to be known for some services like brand naming, startup launch and rebranding we offer as part of our branding practice.

Some of our favorite rebranding projects have been with DKM with Tarun. It was an honor to work with entrepreneurs who started their business more than 50 years ago, made it one of the biggest in their industry and the younger generation. We had a challenge to retain the goodness of old world, and align it with the energy and vision that will serve these business for many years to come. To take that challenge, and come up with a brand in tune with current times, and one that was loved by founders, employees and customers alike, was an enriching and fulfilling experience. 

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Lakshmi introduced me to the holistic healing through our work on her brand Karma Conceptz. We also helped her with her brand  Cafe Counsel, that focuses on mental health needs of the millennials. Through this collab we also got to delve deep into the millennial mindset. Another perk of working with an ambitious women entrepreneur was our discussions around working women, and self care. I am grateful for all that we did and learned through this work.

The reason I am passionate about entrepreneurship after branding is my consistent association with serial entrepreneurs and investors. Mamta is a person like that. She has been an enterprising investor for businesses ranging from personal care, business services to travel solutions. Ours is a lovely relationship with numerous moments of girl talk. We are proud to be associated with her brands Beaute Launze, Gapeseed Consulting and Spirit Bohemian, and to help them grow in line with her vision.

Another association we cherish is the one with MM Group, a 70 year old business group. The group is well established in luxury exports space, and runs a leading rug and carpets brands. The group labels we worked on include Bikaner Handloom Carpets, Mukund Jewelers, and Pura Vida Carpets. We have been associated with the group since the early days of our existence, working hand-in-hand with the third generation of business. It is such a roller coaster ride, a fun and fulfilling one where we get to connect the dots and work with business owners who love to ideate and are fearless to follow their plans. 

The story of our journey so far can’t be complete without mentioning Hum Fauji Initiatives. When I started 30TH FEB  in 2009, I could not have imagined how it will unfold. And, I definitely did not imagine that I will work with a brand that exclusively serves member of the armed forces. But that’s what Hum Fauji Initiatives and its leadership duo has built. I was forever in awe with armed forces ever since my schooling days at Air Force school. Working with Col Sanjeev Govila (retd) and Mrs.Bindu Govila has been a humbling experience. It is one of the most inspiring startups that we have worked with because of its clear focus and passion towards empowering armed forces officers. It is a pleasant coincidence that our startups share the anniversary month & age. There are moments when discussing about our businesses feels like unconscious learning & empowerment for me. I am thankful for how we have evolved together from the days to rebranding and nominations to the days of the fastest growing and top listed emerging brand in the category. 

And, the journey goes on. 

In the past 10 years of our existence, we have worked with a multitude of brands, across a variety of branding projects. I am thankful to all the stakeholders, across these brands,

MM Gyplast, D3, VIVI India, Gapeseed Consulting, Spirit Bohemian, SBS Fin, Pura Vida Carpets, Sankarshan, Gera Wealth Creators, Karma Conceptz, Max SkillFirst, Wave Group, Carrier Midea India, INNOCULT, NNI – Product Labels, KorperKraft, Cafe Counsel, Mitman Financial & Investments, Novita Technologies, How About Giving Back-India, Technisys, HFI Wealth Creators, Belita Designs, Dune Adventure Sports Club, Wealth Prime, Mutti, Saini Power Transactor, Emami Aroma Miracles, iProf, All in Colour, Sympoh Marketing etc. 

Not to forget the offshore clients in Canada,the UK and the USA who have given us a revenue boost from time to time, and kept the work interesting by allowing us to work on a different geography and customer demographics. And the most amazing personal brands to associate with.

Past 10 years have been the most challenging, amazing and fulfilling years of my life. I have lost count of ditched parties, dumped travel plans and missed family gatherings but all this seems so worthwhile.

All because your words of encouragement and direct and indirect support. I am grateful that you helped me build 30TH FEB. 

Like they say, ‘the idea is not to live forever but to create something that will’.

Thank you for the wonderful 10 years and I certainly look forward to the upcoming 10 years.

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