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The Art of Packaging

Vimla Batham's journey from writing to printing

Rajshree Kukreti | Print Edition: December 28, 2006

Creative business... that is my forte. Married to an artist with business in my genes, it is no surprise that my work should combine the two. My first venture was in the mid-1970s, a small quarterly magazine called Kalamitra devoted to art. A flair for writing coupled with a desire to do something on my own started me off on this path. The magazine did not get us much money, but it got us recognition and, more importantly, exposure to the business of printing, which was to be my future calling. An instinctive investment of Rs 9,000 in a 250 sq m plot in Noida in 1977 worked as a catalyst for setting up a printing press in 1981. The seed funding came from a loan of Rs 4 lakh from the Uttar Pradesh Finance Corporation and another Rs 5 lakh I raised by selling an ancestral property. Having put everything into the business, I would commute by public transport from Delhi to Noida - which wasn't the business hub that it has become today. I had to often walk for miles to find transport to return home. I worked up to 12 hours a day, leaving my two children in a crèche. With some patience and persistence the business turned profitable in four years.
Our innovative use of printing facility for creating packaging material particularly interested clients. We bagged large orders from companies and expanded our printing capacity. In 1990 we set up a facility exclusively for packaging materials.
In 1994, my husband, an oil-on-canvas painter, joined the business. That was when we also started printing paintings and portraits. We discovered there was a huge market for reproductions.
Now we are building two more factories in Noida and big names like Canon, Vista, HCL are among my clients. With my son too joining the business in 2000, we now have distinct responsibilities. I devote my spare time in helping women set up business - my way of helping others profit from their creativity.

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