The concept behind Paper Planes caught my eye the very first time I came across it. It was one year ago, at The Lil Flea, a flea market held in Mumbai every year. Paper Planes was set up with an objective to make indie magazines from all over the world accessible to Indian readers. These magazines can be subscribed to, and are delivered at your doorstep every month. The best part is, you can fill up a form, and the magazines are delivered according to your personal taste and preference! The magazines can also be purchased online.
I had a brief conversation a year ago with Nupur Joshi, who is the founder of the lovely start up. She was a lawyer, and gave up her job in order to do something she loves. Even as a year passed, her story stayed with me; I felt a need to share it with other people. Having decided that such an inspiring story and – more importantly – person had to be introduced to the world, I contacted Nupur again. My next meeting with Nupur was at the Blue Tokai Café, where I delved deep into her experience-rich story.
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Short in height, always smiling and highly approachable, Nupur is always pleasant to talk to. Our conversation started with me asking her a little about her childhood interests and when her passion for creativity was born. She laughed and said that she had never ever thought of herself as someone creative. She doesn’t come from an art or design background. Her childhood was mostly spent reading books and magazines, the love of which drove her to start Paper Planes.
Even though not directly linked, Nupur feels that her education in Law has helped her in her journey to set up Paper Planes. She doesn’t consider any form of learning to be a waste of time.
Every profession has something to teach you, be it anything.
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Realizing that we were going slightly off topic, I asked her how the idea of Paper Planes came up. The idea struck her during her one year sabbatical after quitting her job. “I spent a lot of time reading all these magazines published outside India. Soon, I realised that buying each one individually proves to be very expensive and the more you buy the cheaper it gets. That’s where the idea came from, to make all these lovely magazines accessible to more people.”
Still in its initial stages, Paper Planes consists of a small team. Nupur herself curates all the magazines. It’s always easy to figure out any new addition, as it’s a a small market. The startup does not have any Indian magazines in circulation as of now, as there’s not much happening here on the Indian front. They would however be happy to include them if they come across anything good in the future.
The journey was certainly not a simple one. Art and design magazines have a highly niche market in India. They’re more of a lifestyle product and interest only a few. However, the Paper Planes team refused to give up. According to Nupur, her love for these magazines always acted as a motivation for her to keep going. They have now tied up with design schools and colleges in order to give students access to these magazines.
Her advice to any budding entrepreneur would be to do thorough research before taking the plunge.
Do your homework, don’t get disappointed and believe in your idea. Stay excited.
It’s amazing how much Paper Planes has grown quickly over the last one-year. Nupur laughs and tells me to interview her every six months, to see how much they’ve grown! With a tone full of possibilities and excitement, our conversation finally came to an end.