In the past week, we have interviewed Debasree Dey about how she started an event company alone, made it big in just one and a half years, and what are her future goals.
Debasree Dey started GroupArtCircle in Feb 2016. GAC organizes painting parties(Painting Events) for corporates, students, women’s, kids and individuals. The idea behind painting party is to give therapeutic healing from stress & community building. The original goal for GAC is to organize events in different major regions of India so that every house has at least on self-made painting. She has already organized 200+ Events till now.
Tell us a little about yourself! Where has your career taken you before Group Art Circle and what inspired you to start something like this?
Debasree: My name is Debasree Dey, but more famous as Deb. MS from BITS Pilani, I ran the rat race for more than a decade I was an IT professional in the banking sector, working with Credit-Suisse for around 5 years. It was my stint with Credit-Suisse that brought me to Pune. I joined the bank in the London branch and later came to their offshore location (Pune). It was Pune that discovered the artist within me.
What were the challenges you faced while going from conceptualizing to executing the idea of Group Art Circle? How did you eventually overcome them?
Debasree: Really none. I’m an ‘activator’ kind of a person. So the moment the idea of painting party entered my ear, I conceptualized it immediately. Within just a few hours, I named my company, created the FB page and the very first event. I didn’t even have a location at that time. The venue got finalized 2 days before the event. I was the very first one to start the painting parties in Pune, so nobody had any idea about this concept. But after the first event, I got the confidence and knew there is no ending to it.
PS. I had already overcome the biggest challenge. I had quit my IT job a few months back and was trying to figure out what I really want to do!
Group Art Circle has organized lots of events since its inception. What were the key goals you had in mind when you started off? How far do you think you’ve come in achieving them?
Yes. GAC has organized more than 200 events (205 to be precise) by now and painted with 2000+ people. I started off with the goal to have one painting in each Indian house. During my stay in London & backpacking across Europe, I came across the art culture of Europe. Art is so readily accepted there. I still remember meeting a British artist during a camping trip in Oman, and I asked her a few times, “What do you exactly do for a living?”. Yes, painting is all she does, and it didn’t make sense to me at that time. I wanted to change that mindset in Indian people. I want them to accept art as a positive change in their lives. Buying painting is not a waste of money; it is investing in yourself. Color has such a positive impact on the human brain.
Well, I think it has started making a difference in people’s lives. I hear so many testimonies every day about people who come to my painting parties and goes back with their masterpiece. With each painting party, I feel a little closer to my goal.
You have considerable experience in organizing corporate events for companies like BMW, Solitaire Business Hub and many other. How do you strategize your communication with corporates and convince them to be part of your event?
Debasree:I don’t. They approach me. My works speak for itself, and people who have experienced the benefit of painting, convince their companies to organize. However the corporate turnout is not that great because entertainment for most of us is still dinner & drinks The mind shift is happening slowly, and I think it will take some more time for the corporates to understand that painting can bring a more positive change in the lives of their employees.
What has been your most memorable event-experience, so far – and why?
Debasree: Adding colors inside a colorful flea market – Za Palooza. We did painting parties at Za Palooza earlier this year which is quite memorable. I had five friends volunteering for the event, and we had lots of fun organizing & spending time with each other. I also painted 3 of my friends over their clothes, who looked like ‘walking paintings.’ (I’ll attach some pictures of that)
Also, the BMW corporate was quite memorable because of more than 50 people aged between 5 and 70 painted at the same time, who had no clue that they could paint.
What does a typical workday for you look like? What do you value the most in your personal and professional life?
Debasree: Wake up at 5:30 and pray.
Workout from 6:30 to 7:30.
Breakfast & read the Bible.
Work for 2 hours (My work involves 50% painting and 50% online works)
Prepare and have lunch.
4-5 hours of work post lunch, which I tend to do in a cafe or public place.
Dinner at 6:30pm.
Sometimes I like painting in the evening before sleeping.
Hit the bed at 9:30pm.
I value Jesus the most. I was born n brought up in a Hindu family, but God opened my eyes and revealed Himself to me when I was 30. He is my biggest inspiration & motivation behind anything & everything I do in my personal or professional life. The idea of GAC is also given by Him and He wanted me to work on it whole-heartedly. He is the greatest creator in the universe and being made in His likeness, I realize that I inherit the same creativity. Not just me, we all do. By organizing painting parties, it’s our (Jesus & me) endeavour to let people know that they all are creative beings, maybe they haven’t explored it yet.
Group Art Circle is now organizing various events, every month. How do you promote your events and what channels give you the best results?
Debasree: There is a channel called people, which gives the best results I try to give my best to teach people how to paint, especially those who have never lifted a paintbrush. Their experience of de-stressing through painting speaks for itself and gives them the confidence to share with their friends. Facebook is also a huge factor in the success of GAC. But the biggest of all is Jesus, who is continuously bringing people to GAC who needs it the most.
As an organizer, what do you primarily focus on to ensure a memorable attendee experience? How would you differentiate the experience provided by Group Art Circle from other events?
Debasree: Well, I think the key to ensuring an outstanding attendee experience is just to be comfortable with yourself and to have a great time. Your positive energy radiates in every direction
Here are the USPs of Group Art Circle :
1. We don’t do easy paintings. We always try to dare you with a painting that you could never think of doing yourself (you can check with Avilasha from your team. She was scared as hell initially ;))
2. We pay attention to every detail in a painting and provide personal care to each person
3. We encourage every participant to be part of our GAC family (WhatsApp group) where we interact, share and inspire each other
What are the future milestones for Group Art Circles? Any events in the future that our readers can look forward to?
Debasree: I understand that traveling is a concern for people in Pune, and hence we want to reach out to as many corners of Pune as possible.
As of now, we are doing painting parties in four major corners of Pune. Our next milestone is to do painting parties in every major region of Pune, at least 10.
You are an inspiration for many event organizers. What will be your message for the budding organizers planning to pursue careers in the event-management industry?
Debasree: – Quality is the cornerstone.
– Provide them with an experience, not just a product.
– Live up to your customer’s expectations which you are promoting through your event marketing.
– Your competition is with yourself and nobody else.
– Work towards achieving perfection.
– Create your creatives in a way which is visually appealing. Think about what your customers want to see, rather than what you want to see. Develop your creative skills.
– Don’t be satisfied with what you are doing right now. Keep on improving every day.
– Maintain punctuality. Respect other’s time.
Thank You Debasree, it was great to have you on Townscript. For our readers, here’s a glimpse of GroupArtCircle Event.
Watch and share, tag your friends and spread the word! Anyone can Paint.