When Messi fan and football lover and player Rian Rao Narvekar got selected for a training camp in Barcelona and asked his father a Rs.2.15 lakhs cheque to attend the camp, he was stumped by the response he got. Rahul Narvekar, Founder - Indian Roots and The India Network told Rian to “earn” the money and pay on his own! The ten year old was at his wits’ end and told his dad that that was an impossibility since he was a kid! His father told him that that was his problem to figure out how he could earn that money and sponsor the trip on his own merit.
Since Rian was passionate about football and this was a dream he wished to realise, he brainstormed with his school friends Zicci and Kaustubh from Mirambika, for a solution. After the ZRK meeting, the trio decided that they would bake cookies and attempt to sell them to raise funds, realising little that it meant thousands of cookies to be sold to get the required amount! Undeterred by the herculean and seemingly impossible task ahead, the three invaded the kitchen and baked cookies, albeit burnt and armed with cookies, lemonade and Tang, set out to sell their stuff in Hauz Khas market, a high end shopping market in Delhi. They laid the small table they had stuffed in their car and set up a small stall but sadly, nobody came to buy their produce. Undeterred, they found a “mentor” - a local shopkeeper who told them to literally go after people and hard sell. The advice worked and they managed to sell everything under an hour. Elated with the Rs.520 killing that they made, they trumpeted home and told Pallavi, Rian’s mom about the gold mine they had struck! Their high spirits sadly were short-lived when Pallavi told them that the cost of the raw materials itself was almost double of their sale proceeds and they had earned nothing but instead incurred a loss!
Disappointed, Rian then sat with his dad Rahul and discussed ways of raising the huge amount which seemed an impossible task. Rahul advised him to figure out a higher margin product and higher MRP too. Looking around the house Rian saw a few paintings and on an impulse made one painting which his dad put up on Facebook for sale. Vishal Gondal of Goqii immediately bought it for Rs. 10,000. Rian was thrilled and felt encouraged to paint more and put up his creations up for sale. This option looked surely better than the cookies business but Rian was clueless on selling his paintings. The following day his father had a meeting with friend and entrepreneur Sahiba Sethi who suggested “crowdfunding” .
Rian with Anurag.
Sahiba organized Rian’s meeting with the Bitgiving guys who had their first meeting with Rian in a Barista at SDA market. Anuraag from Bitgiving treated Rian just like any other adult and explained the concept and agreed on a price per painting and commission. Rian gulped down a few cakes and cookies, and a chocolate milkshake and was horrified when his father said that the bill amount for this meeting would be deducted from his future earnings .
Rian with his paintings.
Rahul shares “We put up the campaign on Bitgiving and promoted it on social media and what was amazing was that apart from our friends and friends of friends, it was random strangers who not only bought the paintings but some were sweet enough to say that although they could not afford to buy a painting but just to support Rian they would contribute as little as Rs.500”. Bhavik Jhaveri created a website for Rian to sell some paintings online and some paintings were sold through this medium as well.
Rian with one of his buyers!
Rahul elaborates “We also had a event on our terrace where a few entrepreneur friends put up their products to sell and Rian’s entire class turned up to support him. We had chai from Chaithela thanks to Pankaj Judge and makhana and chana gur from Prasoon Gupta of Sattviko and then we also had Pee buddy products, thanks to Deep Bajaj!”. The kids sold everything at exorbitant prices by playing on emotions .The girls were the real sales pros as they advised the boys to not approach the aunties since aunties would bargain but instead “go to uncles since they will pay extra ” .
Rian at work.
Rahul was amazed by the enthusiasm of the kids and says that a lot of them started questioning the entrepreneurs on their business models and the amazing insights of these kids .
Rahul says “From this insight was born the idea of doing a series with kids interacting with entrepreneurs and these would be true interactions wherein the entrepreneurs would explain their business to the kids and in turn get honest feedback from them”.
The first painting to be sold.
Rian raised more than the required amount and he donated the extra amount to charity before heading to Barcelona where he had a blast of a lifetime!
Happy faces- off to Barcelona!