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    Gift Forever …

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    All cartoon characters and fables must be an exaggeration or caricatures. It is the very nature of fantasy and fable.”

    Walt Disney, Renowned animator and entrepreneur

    Renowned animator and entrepreneur Walt Disney once said that all cartoon characters and fables must be an exaggeration or caricatures. It is the very nature of fantasy and fable.

    Innovation revolutionised gifting

    ‘Be innovative’ is the mantra to succeed in today’s competitive world. A majority of people today are experimenting with innovative concepts not only in their professional life but also in their personal space. The trend of innovation is becoming higher in personal life than in the professional domain. People’s penchant for innovative gifts has, in a way, revolutionised the concept of gifting in a big way and has paved the way for personalised gifting. This is because, if one picture is worth ten thousand words, one caricature tells the whole story! It is a lifetime asset too.

    The emerging market for personalised gifts

    , a software engineer working at Infopark, Kochi, was searching for a wedding gift for his friend. After several brainstorming sessions, he came up with an idea – caricature of the bride and groom. However, he was flooded with several questions: type and size of the caricature, reliable agencies in Kochi, price, etc. Like Kumar, today, many people are turning towards new gifting ideas and the market of personalised gifting is flourishing. At this juncture, Photogift, an art production company in Kochi, established in 2006, gains importance.

    A gift forever

    An elated , Managing Director, Photogift, says caricatures are a different gift and they last forever. “Personalised caricatures conquer the receiver’s heart. When you gift it your friend, you are showing them that you care. Each caricature is unique and a memorable gift,” he said.

    Kochi, the hub

    “Personalised caricatures are drawn to the description; they may include the hobbies or the interests of the character. Today, Kochi is rapidly growing as the hub of caricature works. Majority of the works are mainly outsourced from Europe,” Radhakrishnan explained.

    Turning point

    What exactly prompted a youngster to venture into the caricature business? Radhakrishnan, a designer and visual artist by profession, said he was nursing a dream – to do novel business in the drawing field. “At that time, a UK-based company contacted me for a caricature work. Impressed by our body of work, they started sending work on a regular basis. It prompted me to float an art production company,” he said.

    According to Radhakrishnan, the public at large was little aware of the importance of caricature gifting. “However, with the boom of Information and Communication Technology and the advent of e-commerce websites, enquiries gradually increased,” he informed.

    Services

    Photogift offers various services such as gift caricatures, digital paintings, portraits, pencil sketches, pen sketches and custom illustrations. Photogift, a pioneer in personalised gifting, has an annual turnover of Rs. 50 lakh.

    Process

    Rethish Ravi, Chief Artist, Photogift, said that normally the client would send the photos and some traits of the person they wish to gift it to. “Then we do the drawing on a paper, which is followed by scanning and final touches. Then we send the caricature to the client. After the client’s suggestions, we make further changes. The caricature is then printed as a photo, framed and sold to the customer,” he said.

    Photogift also gives proper consultation to its clients to choose the right artwork according to the gifting occasion. Some may say their friend is fond of shopping, fishing, etc. “Sometimes, clients don’t have an idea about the work. But we work until they are happy with the end result,” explains Ravi.

    Team effort

    Radhakrishnan said that team effort has played a crucial role in Photogift’s success. “We are delighted as our team effort paid off. Our hard work, sincerity and commitment to the industry are reaping benefits,” he said.

    Price range

    The base price of a normal caricature is Rs. 800. However, the price varies depending upon the number of characters, type (print on paper/canvas), size of the work and days required. In case of personalised paintings or pencil sketches, the base price starts at Rs. 2,000. While for social media avatars, they charge Rs. 500.

    Overseas: The main market

    Radhakrishnan pointed out that caricature gifts, though expensive, offer an unforgettable experience to the presenter as well as the receiver. It is an evergreen gift. “We have regular customers from Europe, Australia and India. As of now, we have drawn more than one lakh caricatures. Unlike spot caricaturing, where it is free-hand work and a black and white one, this is of high quality and very professional,” he said.

    Galaxy of professionals

    Ravi said that their drawing styles are now very popular in the western world. “We guarantee 99 percent accurate face resemblance to customers as we have a team of professionals (artists and designers) who create innovative art effects and personalised gifts. We have 10 staff members and most of them are well qualified. We also ensure customers’ privacy and timely delivery,” he shared.

    Online art gift store

    On expansion plans, Radhakrishnan said that Photogift is foraying into the retail segment by transforming www.photogiftindia.com as a highly dynamic and user-friendly online art gift store.

    “Our vision is to promote an alternative personalised gifting idea and to make the art reach every heart and every home. We are planning to promote the gifts that people keep forever. People who are very keen on gifting are on the lookout for newer and micro personalised ideas and our gift caricatures serve the purpose best. Both the gift and the presenter will be the centre of attraction in each event, be it a wedding reception or a birthday party,” he said.

    Future plans

    Radhakrishnan added that since youth in the metro cities in India are gradually adapting this innovative concept, they foresee a big growth in the segment. “We are trying to market alternative gifting and home décor ideas. We will add new services from time to time and keep customers engaged with us,” he concluded.