- 13 Jun 2016
- Fathima AbdulKader
When the interview with De Graphic Factory was set up, I confess I went in with a preconceived notion, but boy was I in for a surprise! I thought this would be an interview with students whose college project was doing well, but the case of DeGraphic Factory was nothing of that sort. This group of students from Rajagiri College of management, doing their BCom and BBA, started their business on a small scale at a college fest and has crossed multiple milestones in the year since. After the interview I came to the realization that these are some inspired student entrepreneurs and they have their brand’s future all figured out and show no sign of stopping.
Who are the minds behind DeGraphic Factory?
DeGraphic factory was founded by all 9 of us who are roommates and were members of the Entrepreneurship Development Cell at college. In order to ensure the smooth functioning of the company, we have allocated different roles to each of the partner based on their skills set and strengths. We are
- Aaquib Saneen – Chief Executive Officer
- Muhammed Wafi – Chief Business Officer
- Ihthisham Ali – Public Relations
- Adil Ayoob – Public Relations
- Adel Gafoor – Operations
- Lasif Ameen – Logistics
- Hathim CK – Finance
- Remzi Abdurassack – Marketing
- Anjum Rahman CP – Marketing
What exactly does DeGraphic Factory do?
DeGraphic Factory creates customised T-Shirts, Sweatshirts, Caps, Jerseys with branding, UI/UX design corporate branding, logo designs and other personalized designs. We take pride in providing customers the option to completely customize their product from material, style of product, image and graphic. Our wide range of materials include cotton, combed cotton, bio washed, lycra, polyester, pique fabric and fleece all with an option to choose between GSM and even Yarn count in some cases. We employ various technologies on our products including digital printing, screen-printing, pigment printing, sublimation printing and embroidery.
How did the brand come into being?
This question takes us back to the time of the Christmas EDP cell (Entrepreneurship Development Programme) meeting in 2014 when we decided to set up a stall in our college. It was only a couple of days before the event, when all of us who are roommates actually started talking about launching something creative. That night, over a cup of sulaimani, 9 people from 9 different places being like-minded, enthusiastic and passionate to create a change, came up with the idea of a college sweatshirt for all Rajagirians. It is that successful space provided by our college which made us dream more and marked the beginning of De Graphic Factory. So, united by a single business idea we decided to step into the market.
After deciding to start the company what was your next step?
We knew we didn’t want to do this as a one-off thing, so we decided to brand the company with a proper logo, assign job roles, and to set up all our social media accounts. With the great response at the Christmas stall of the Rajagiri hoodie, we started getting orders even from students who passed out. Soon we were getting orders from others for their fests including Model Engineering College, IIM Calicut and NIT Calicut. We have also done branded Tshirts for charities like Belong Foundation and MAD (Make a Difference).
If you could go back and change something at the time you started out, what would it be?
It is always hard at the beginning but we believe that we have an amazing team. It is true that we have made many mistakes but having learnt from those mistakes, we are happy to say that we have no regrets whatsoever. It is only recently that we introduced new products and services like customized notebooks, wall art and corporate branding in our product line. If we were given a chance to go back in time, we would have introduced these products at the beginning of our company and created our impressions along with customized apparels.
What were the biggest lessons learnt in the last one year?
LESSON 1: Link between theoretical and practical knowledge.
It is only when you apply your theoretical knowledge practically in life that you become more efficient. Being students and running a business enabled us to change our approach towards our studies to a new dimension.
LESSON 2: Proper logistics
We had a small issue where once our product failed to deliver through the Indian post. Now frankly we are people who believe that the Indian postal system does an excellent job. But in such a situation it becomes extremely difficult for us to follow up and find our product and government services take a little longer to process. And we had to incur some losses along with a challenge to our credibility and goodwill. So we feel that it's safer and more convenient to resort to private courier services as we can take out one point from the list of things that we have to worry about.
Since all of you guys are the end of your undergraduate studies what are the future plans for your company and your partnership?
The big plan is of course to become an e-commerce platform that provides the finest custom products and services to the customers at the best price.
Since we are all in our third year and will be parting ways at the end of this academic year we have made a plan to rope in interns to our business, most of whom are our juniors at college. While we go away to various locations to do our higher studies, the interns will keep our base in Kochi running and we will come together when needed to meet our company’s needs.
What advice do you have to give to fellow student entrepreneurs or any entrepreneur starting out?
- Business is all about grabbing the best opportunity. Opportunity only knocks once at your door, so grab it and utilize it.
- No matter what, follow your passion. Just follow your passion!
- You have an idea? Make it happen!
- As an entrepreneur, it is extremely important to keep all channels solid. Every single link in the chain should be dependable and must adhere to deadlines.
- Love your customer more than food.
- Have an urgent delivery? Put your life on it.
- Have a proper structure and hierarchy in your company.
Words: Fathima Abdul Kader
Image Source: DeGraphic Factory
Do you think there are any other inspiring stories around the city you think ought to be told? Let us know on any of our social media platform by tagging us with the #wtzupkochi or #belocal
Find us on Facebook or on other social platforms @WtzupKochi